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Children Shouldn't Play With Dead Things (35th Anniversary Exhumed Edition) [Import]

3.9 out of 5 stars 48 customer reviews

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Product Details

  • Actors: Alan Ormsby, Valerie Mamches, Jeff Gillen, Anya Ormsby, Paul Cronin
  • Directors: Bob Clark
  • Format: Dolby, Original recording remastered, Restored, NTSC, Import
  • Language: English
  • Number of discs: 1
  • MPAA Rating: PG
  • Studio: VCI Video
  • Release Date: Oct. 19 2010
  • Run Time: 87 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 3.9 out of 5 stars 48 customer reviews
  • ASIN: B003L1YESE
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Product Description


Though Bob (Benjamin) Clark made his mark on Hollywood with films as diverse as Porky's and A Christmas Story, he began his career with this imaginative zombie tale. Alan Ormsby (who also wrote Paul Schrader's remake of Cat People and directed the cult horror film Deranged) penned the script and stars as Alan, a flamboyant theater director who brings his company--whom he condescendingly refers to as his "children"--to a rotting graveyard on a fogbound island. There he begins a ceremony to raise the dead, but it's all an elaborate practical joke, just another mind game by the would-be demagogue... or so he thinks. As Alan continues his midnight games of manipulation and degradation, it turns out the joke's on him as the graveyard rises to life. The acting, though amateurish, is energetic and delivered with gusto, and the awkward, theatrical dialogue becomes oddly appropriate (if somewhat stiff) in the affected presence of preening Alan. The often-slow extended introduction pays off in a carnage-riddled zombie blowout, like Night of the Living Dead compressed into a half-hour highlight reel. Children Shouldn't Play with Dead Things is the work of ambitious beginners, but they deliver the goods when it counts with solid low-budget effects and a well-directed finale that turns the tense humor into unrelenting horror.

The DVD mastering is unaccountably sloppy: images jerk and intermittently slow down, the action hiccups, and in the second half red and blue flares rim the right side of the picture. --Sean Axmaker --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: DVD
For "B" movie fans this is a must see. CSPwDT is Bob Clark's first real movie for fans of the "B" movie director.
The first half drags out a little but when the movie takes off it's lots of scares. The special effects are done by Alan Ormsby of which takes the helm as lead actor. The zombies are well done and believable, not bad for a movie that only had a budget of fifty thousand dollars. This DVD also has extras which are good to check out especially being a fan of Bob Clark or Alan Ormsby.
For the first time viewer, this movie is best to watch at night with all the lights out since it all happens at night.
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Format: DVD
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.
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Format: DVD
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.
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Format: DVD
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.
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