Children Shouldn't Play With Dead Things Review

Children Shouldn't Play With Dead Things is a 70's horror classic, with many varying opinions about it's overall quality. Some hate it, some love it. I happen to fall into the group who absolutely adores this movie. Do I have strange tastes in films? Some would say yes...but I have a feeling that if you are reading this now, we may quite possibly be of like minds. So, on to the review:

Alan (Alan Ormsby) is the leader of a small theatrical group, the members of which he not-so-affectionately refers to as his "children."  The movie begins with this troupe ( Anya Ormsby, Jane Daily, Jeff Gillen, Valerie Mamches, Paul Cronin) making their way onto a small island, inhabited only by a large graveyard and the caretakers home. The intent of this trip is to perform a ritual to raise the dead, although for what reason is never made quite clear. I suspect that it is simply to torment and degrade Alan's theater members, which he simply delights in. After settling into the shack and displaying his "bag of tricks," Alan rounds everyone up and insists that they dig up a "ceremonial corpse"named Orville (Seth Sklarey) to help with their ritual to raise the dead as their loyal servants. This is done with grumbling and protest, but with the threat of losing their place in the troupe, they comply.

Once this is done Alan then instructs the men to turn over a shovel-full of dirt from each grave and sprinkle the dried blood of an unborn child (which he also conveniently had in his bag of tricks, along with a huge grimore) on to each of these. Once done, they return to the ritual site and Alan begins his incantation...but nothing happens. He of course is humiliated, and to add insult to injury Val (Valerie Mamches) tells him how pathetic he is and gets into the grave and tells him to"Let a REAL artist show you how it's done."

With all the appropriate adulations to Satan and ominous thunder and lightning, Val succeeds in making Alan look like a fool, and they all retire to the house taking Orville in with them. Now Anya, (Anya Ormsby) is a meek little thing in touch with the "vibes" of the underworld and her "spidey-senses" are tingling. Seeing how Alan is disrespecting the decomposed corpse that is Orville she warns him that he should show respect for the dead, he is making them angry. In a self-rightous rage Alan hovers over Anya screaming at her and finally smacks her in the face. Everyone has had enough of him and his fits of temper and decide that they are going to leave the island to Alan and his "Good Friend Orville."

Meanwhile, POOF! The incantation really did work, but the dead aren't rising to greet their new masters, they are up and they are pissed! As Val, Anya, Paul, Jeff, and Terry start back to the boat, they are attacked by a mob of rotting carnivorous cadavers. One down. Most make it back to the house and proceed to board it up as is customary while in the midst of a zombie attack. Franticly they implore Alan to perform a counterspell, which he can do, except for the fact that it calls for the return of the ceremonial corpse to its grave, which is now impossible. Alan recites the spell anyway, hoping for the best. Well, it doesn't work.

What will they do from here? You are going to have to watch it to find out because I'm not going to spoil this one.

Now taking into concideration that this was filmed on an extremely low-budget by novice film makers in the way-back-when of 1972, I think they did a great job. What I have just discovered through research on the internet is that the director Bob Clark also went on to work on or direct several well known films. (Black Christmas, Death Dream, Porky's, A Christmas Story, and Porky's 2) Alan Ormsby has worked on special effects alongside Tom Savini, and written/produced or directed several things including Deranged, The Substitute, Cat People, and Porky's 2. He has also been a writer for Nash Bridges and The District.

The atmosphere is great,and the effects are pretty decent for it's time. Children Shouldn't Play With Dead Things isn't a cult classic for nothing. If you can get your hands on it drop any pre-concieved notions and watch with an open mind. It's one of the best of it's kind. I rate it 8 out of 10, since it's a childhood favorite of mine that I will never outgrow. You can check out the nitty gritty on the film at Children Shouldn't play with Dead Things

Review by Valkyrie
Undead Goddess of MoviesOnline

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