5.0 out of 5 stars Prefer cheese to splatter? Bite into this one!
Yes, the acting ranges from poor to hilariously bad (although Valerie Mamches has a good moment or two), and yes, the dialog suggests that the script was ghostwritten (so to speak) by a couple of kids in a clubhouse after reading lots and lots of mouldering EC comix--but beyond that, it's a fine li'l film. The makeup was credible, and the sound effects were quite...
Published on Feb. 24 2004 by J. McCrackan
3.0 out of 5 stars Strange Stuff....
On a deserted island that seems to be one big cemetery, Alan and his acting troupe are (God only knows WHY...) getting ready to dig up a little fun. Actually, they're digging up a corpse named Orville, to aid them in a Satanic ritual (Again, it's never explained WHY...). After spending a loooong time doing humilitiating things to poor dead Orville, Alan starts to read the...
Published on March 16 2003 by Daniel V. Reilly
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5.0 out of 5 stars Prefer cheese to splatter? Bite into this one!,
Yes, the acting ranges from poor to hilariously bad (although Valerie Mamches has a good moment or two), and yes, the dialog suggests that the script was ghostwritten (so to speak) by a couple of kids in a clubhouse after reading lots and lots of mouldering EC comix--but beyond that, it's a fine li'l film. The makeup was credible, and the sound effects were quite creative: I've never heard loons used to such disturbing effect.
But what makes this movie shine is the direction. The idiot kids time and again tempt fate, and the camera zooms in on what your experience with B-movies tells you will be the subject of explosive action...and nothing happens. Over and over, you're teased to the brink of jumping out of your seat and screaming, 'Enough! Just kill 'em already!' Imagine if a couple of teens were having sex in the woods in a 'Friday the 13th' movie, with the 'cha-cha-cha' soundtrack blaring and a hand-held camera's POV--then the sated kids got dressed and walked merrily away, hand-in-hand. Brilliant pacing redeems 'CSPWDT', condensing all the action into the final moments of the film.
The fact that nearly everyone who's seen this movie saw it on TV yet were still scared is solid evidence that this movie is a must-see for mature (i.e. patient and forgiving) fans of low-budget macabre. It's not Shakespeare--the title gives that away--but it's a terrific early effort by a talented director.
4.0 out of 5 stars Cheap but Creepy,
Yeah, it's a cheap, cheesy rip-off of "Night of the Living Dead." Yes, the acting is only marginally better than its illustrious and more famous predecessor, and the dialogue truly has to be heard to be believed. That having been said, this is still a low-budget classic of the genre. I remember that me and my friends loved this when we were teenagers and it was being shown on late-night TV; it still holds up fairly well, although the overblown dialogue does wear thin after awhile. Alan Ormsby is effective as an effete Charles Manson wanna-be and his wife Anya, while she at times overacts shamelessly, still manages to convey a sad, ethereal quality to her character. The others bring off their roles with varying degrees of competence. Still, you're not watching this because of its flamboyant characters or the complexity of its storyline. You're watching it because of the flesh-eating zombies. How do they hold up, 30 or so years later? Very well, considering the budgetary limitations and the passage of the years. In fact, I'll still put the scene where the Undead finally emerge from their graves, summoned either by Alan's pompous Satanic ritual or Valerie's irreverent mockery of the same, up against anything out there. I defy anyone to watch this scene alone late at night and not feel that shivery chill of fear that you probably haven't experienced since you were a child watching "Chiller Theatre." There are elements that certainly haven't aged well. The whole concept of a necrophiliac-style wedding is just plain sick, not scary, and if you've ever wondered how much progress gay people have made over the years, check out some of the flagrant stereotypes presented here circa 1972. However, this isn't Bergman, or Fellini, and it isn't supposed to be. It is what it is- a cheap, cheesy rip-off of "Night of the Living Dead" that's still a lot of creepy fun all these years later.
3.0 out of 5 stars Strange Stuff....,
On a deserted island that seems to be one big cemetery, Alan and his acting troupe are (God only knows WHY...) getting ready to dig up a little fun. Actually, they're digging up a corpse named Orville, to aid them in a Satanic ritual (Again, it's never explained WHY...). After spending a loooong time doing humilitiating things to poor dead Orville, Alan starts to read the ritual aloud, and the "Children" get a little more than they bargained for.....
This is strictly grade-Z stuff, so don't expect to see a Romero-level "Dead" epic. The acting is amateur-hour, ranging from tolerable to I-want-these-people-DEAD-sooner-rather-than-later (Alan & the shrill Anya). The first hour is interesting at times, but mostly laughable (Those loud hippie clothes!) and interminably sloooowww[...] The last half-hour makes the film worth seeing, though, as the angry dead come to life to punish their defilers. Although the film is PG, with no strong language and no gore, director Bob Clark (Later to find fame as the Director of Porky's 1 & 2, Murder By Decree, and A Christmas Story) manages to make that last half-hour as creepy as hell. (A friend of mine is unable to even look at the box art because the film scared her so badly!) I wasn't scared, but I'll tell ya: That shot of Orville getting up off of the couch is really memorable....
The DVD comes with text Bios of Bob Clark and Alan Ormsby, an ad gallery, and what must be the greatest trailer ever made. The film transfer isn't so hot, but the low price point makes it acceptable. If you have low expectations, Children Shouldn't Play With Dead Things might just be for you.
4.0 out of 5 stars Either you swear by it....or swear at it,
This review is from: Children Shouldn't Play with Dead Things (VHS Tape)
I first saw this movie on a late night horror show called "Chiller Theater" when I was about 12 or so back in 82 or 83. I remembered clearly the one zombie with the sport-coat and tie and imposssibly big mustache climbing out of the grave, which gave me chills then..and still does. Heck, I didn't remember this being a dark comedy back then, but it sure is.
You can look at this movie in two different ways: one being it is a cheesey, low-budget, poorly done film. Or 2: A bunch of college kids, seriously inspired by George Romero, who took a shoe-string budget and a lot of imagination and delivered a truly bizarre horror classic.
Sure, the dialog is pathetic and the Ormsby is very annoying in the lead role..but that's how he's supposed to come off. It's a 70's film and nothing more or nothing less. It's fun to watch and , at times, scary along the way.
The transfer of the film to dvd is just plain lousy. I doubt if any big companies like Universal, Fox, or even Anchor Bay would buy this and digitally remaster it but, let's hope they do.
This little gem of a movie is a classic and should get the respect it deserves. The sound on the film is ok at best. The video is horrendous: lots of drop-outs, many artifacts, and it looks like they got the worst possible film stock to transfer from.
So, if you are a hard-core zombie fan..this one should not be missed. If you are in the market for an all-out scream fest, you won't find it here. This is the perfect Late, Late, Late Show movie. I give it an all out A.
5.0 out of 5 stars Cult classic from the 70's back in stock!!!,
I could start my review with a review about the movie's plot, but I rather focus it on the movie itslef. I love this movie. It's so darn cheesy. The low-grade sound production, the dark grainy 35 MM transfer, the cheesy Scooby Doo-like "gang" and the obnoixious but hilarious Alan Orsby's performance, the simple Zombie make-up, not to mention the avant-garde atmosphere that is given thoughout the enitre movie, which really gives it a big effect and mood, and the amount of dark comedy added. No to mention a ironic ending, and over-acting... Many people complain about the old 35mm transfer, but I think it's just genius. To me, that was what "CSPWDT" was all about....the low budget and how they made a 70's cult classic comedy Zombie flick.And this really is comedy people, just look at the acting, mainly Alan Orsbys! He's obnoxious, horny, cocky, self-righteous, sarcastic, annoying...he's everything you would expect from a manager and director. Also the PG rating it got is too funny..sure there are some parts where it might startle you, but this is like a family version of a Zombie movie. No gore, no nudity, only a couple curse words, and a cheesy mock at doing a Satanic ritual...overall, this is the most family-safe Zombie movie I've ever seen! Heck, even kids can watch this! ... So go ahead... grab a few cold beers, a bowl full of chips, and just sit back and laugh!
1.0 out of 5 stars Decent make up. And that's it.,
Okay, first off I'd like to clarify that I am a huge fan of horror movies-- SPECIFICALLY bad, cheesy and [bad] ones. But there is very little to redeem this flick. I saw it when I was much younger and remember liking it quite a bit, and so I was excited to find it on DVD. Out of all the (numerous) movies I own and buy, this is the only one I plan to get rid of. The zombie make up is well done, but I can't really say anymore good stuff about it. It's not one of those "so-bad-it's-good" pictures. It's just so bad it STINKS. Not in a good way. Sure, it's funny once to see the ridiculous 1970's fashions and hear the lingo and such, but I don't see how anyone can find this that entertaining. Watching it now as an adult with a zillion movies under my belt, it is so transparently a Night of the Living Dead rip. There ARE no scares aside from a couple of startle-sequences. The lead character is perhaps the most annoying and obnoxious person I've ever seen in a film, and the dialogue is just frustratingly idiotic. Most times, these things would be a plus for me, but for some reason they just don't come across here.
I wasted money, but more importantly I wasted some of my precious time with this boring and unamusing piece. Avoid.
3.0 out of 5 stars Sometimes Corny, Mostly Effective Horror Film...,
CHILDREN SHOULDN'T PLAY WITH DEAD THINGS is another one of those corny, cheaply made horror films that wouldn't stand a chance if it were to be released in today's times... but for some reason, it grows on you, draws you to it, and for most of the viewing experience, you are laughing tears from all the bad acting and bad dialouge-- but at the end, it scares you out of your wits.
The atmosphere is moody and creepy- and that is one of the film's best qualities- but at the same time, overly talky, and sometimes, to be quite frank, boring. The entire film takes place during the night at an abandoned graveyard where some young actors and actresses are practicing a ritual that is supposed to make the dead rise. During most of the picture, there is only one zombie present- one that isn't even walking! But at the end, the kids realize their mistake, and soon regret it when the zombies come to get them at the cabin where they are staying.
The make-up effects are slightly amateurish, and the acting, like I said, is overtly bad. Then ending is a hair-raiser, though, and is actually quite good. The music is enough to drive you crazy (in a good, scary way), and the zombies (despite bad make-up) are scary enough to make you jump out of your seat. To sum the ending up in one word, it is unsettling.
For anyone who likes cheesy horror such as this, I recommend it highly. But for those of you looking for bravura acting, great make-up effects, and exciting, swiftful pace, I suggest you go elsewhere. I cannot tell if it were meant to be taken seriously or not, but it does make a fine parody of the zombie/horror genre. It generates a genuinely creepy feeling at the pit of your stomach (the ending, at least), that you will not be able to contain.
For this film, I can only say one thing. You either like it or you don't. But for me, it's in between. It may not be a film I would watch more than 2 or 3 times, but for some, it is highly entertaining, and it all depends on your tastes, really.
5.0 out of 5 stars One of Best Horror Movies Ever.,
I saw this movie when I was just a child at best. I was not even into the double digit age range yet. I to this day will never forget the impact the movie had on me. I only had a black and white television I think that made things even more real. I remember it was on some horror show that would show movies etc. Ill never forget how real everything just seemed to me. That movie is one reason I would never ever even think of messing with the dead. The movie seems so real on so many levels, yet has such an odd feel to it. When you imagine if you were there on that desolate island. Doing and seeing the things that they ended up seeing. The characters are really ones that you just never forget. Perhaps that is why the movie has such a great feel to it. I have seen many horror movies, yet for some reason this one seems most realistic. I know its a shame that the picture or sound might not be the best. I hope one day they really clean this movie up and give it the package it deserves. I searched most my life just to find out the name of this movie. So to finally obtain a VHS version and now waiting for DVD as I write this. If your into real horror movies over the fluff they been putting out. This is one that you just can't pass up, give it a chance. Watch it in a dark room and prepare to not only laugh but know fear. Let yourself drift and be where they are and feel how it must be like. The VHS version I have has the original trailer on it as well. So that is always fun to watch for a laugh :)...
Remember... Children Shouldnt Play With Dead Things...
5.0 out of 5 stars the Return of the film that wouldn't die,
This review is from: Children Shouldn't Play with Dead Things (VHS Tape)
i loved this film for all the reasons why they dont make them like they do today. this film has atmosphere from the very beginning, there are no smart alecky teens in this one. there is no pop soundtrack or "feel good" ending. a definate inspiration to those evil dead flicks, but not as gory. this is one film that would never get made today, basically because it shows no compromise in its vision. the zombies make up is passable, i have seen worse elsewhere. the soundtrack is a variety of noisy feedback adding to the already brilliant mix of humor and mayhem that finally shows up at the last 30 minutes. this is a welcome return to a film that many shudder whenever i mention the name, a good sign of a true classic horror film. for a film that was rated pg, it has all the terror that many r rated films fail to deliver, which makes it more worthwhile repeated viewing. I highly recommend this cult classic for those who take their horror films seriously...and for those looking for a freddy kruger, may i suggest looking elsewhere. a definate halloween treat, buy it dont rent it!
5.0 out of 5 stars One of My Personal Favorites - Zombies Chills + Some Humor,
I own multiple copies of every version of this film available on VHS, LD and DVD. VCI's version on VHS and DVD is the most complete version I've seen (running 87 minutes, 1 - 2 minutes longer than previous pre-records) AND it's letterboxed, and nicely packaged.
CSPwDT is one of those rare horror films that is truly terrifying. I've often tried to pinpoint exactly what frightens me the most about this film: the atmospheric, creepy setting; a remote, island cemetery where tufts of mist sweep across an eerie graveyard, or the weird electronic synth music with shrills and screeches, and human moaning in the background, or the incredible 'revival of the dead scenes' with some of the most effective make-up ever committed to celluloid, or the wild cinematography and lighting, ...
It all works together to create, in my opinion, an impossible-to-forget masterpiece. Reportedly the film cost $70,000 to make in 1972, but it has more scares and is more effective than any recent big-budget horror film that I can remember. I'd give it 6 stars if I could. Watch it tonight alone with the lights out!
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Children Shouldn't Play With Dead Things (35th Anniversary Exhumed Edition) [Import] by Bob Clark (DVD - 2010)