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Overall Rating

Awesome: 5.26%
Worth A Look: 15.79%
Pretty Bad: 10.53%
Total Crap: 26.32%

1 review, 13 user ratings

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Children Shouldn't Play with Dead Things
[] Buy posters from this movie
by Jay Seaver

"Does one thing right, but it's the important thing."
3 stars

There are some horror movies that use their first half to tease the audience, setting up a palpable dread or quietly dropping hints about information that may prove useful later. Then there's the likes of "Children Shouldn't Play with Dead Things", which frantically tread water for an hour because they've only got the budget for maybe thirty minutes' worth of action and theaters are reluctant to book a film much shorter than an hour and a half.

So we've got Alan (Alan Ormsby) and his troupe of actors taking a boat to an island within sight of Miami which features a graveyard and an abandoned inn. He's trying to psyche them up for a spooky play he's written. This involves getting them to participate in a ceremony where he will attempt to raise an exhumed corpse - that is, when he's not on a power trip, reminding them that without the jobs he's given them, they're not working in showbiz. He appears genuinely disgusted and angry when his incantations don't actually bring a corpse to life. Of course, it does, and not just one; it's just that their muscles are stiff and don't get limber until the group is gathered together in the inn, with the graveyard between them and their boat.

The good news is that once the dead crawl out of their graves, the movie delivers the goods. We came for killing, and the zombies deliver, tearing into the roughly nine or ten people on the island with gruesome gusto and splattering nicely when they fight back. The makeup, blood, and guts are pretty good for a cheapo grindhouse picture; the filmmakers certainly aren't worried about saving any for their next picture. Co-writers Bob Clark and Alan Ormsby (Ormsby also stars; Clark directs) opt for fairly slow, inarticulate zombies with rudimentary problem-solving and tool-using capabilities, and that works out pretty well for them. The living can take out one, but get in trouble pretty quickly when they have to face a crowd.

The bad news is that it takes an awfully long time for that to happen. I suspect Clark and company are saving their budget for the last act, but the hour it takes to get there is at times rough. The first half of the movie actually feels much more like a stage play than a film, following the same group of characters as they move between locations, talking to and sniping at each other, moving just far apart for us to focus on pairs but never really separating or doing much of anything. We get an idea of each one's individual personality trait immediately, and they never reveal hidden depths or interesting histories. It's all about killing time.

The players themselves don't do badly with what they're given; they're just not given that much. Co-writer Alan Ormsby reserves the showiest part for himself, and he delivers the sort of hilariously bad performance that many an actor in a parody has failed to replicate. Make no mistake, he's awful, but in such a way that it contributes to the character's unearned arroagnce (.any characters in this film share names with the actors playing them; which makes me wonder how much acting is really going on; the idea that Alan Ormsby is just being himself makes it even funnier). Rounding out the cast are a couple of nondescript guys, a girl who think communing with death is just terribly fun, an ingenue not wanting to pass up her first shot at show business and another actress who has worked with Alan before recognizes just how much he's full of crap. Then you've got a couple gay stereotypes, a corpse in period clothing, an a cemetery caretaker whom I don't think ever speaks. None impress, but none are the worst you've seen in a low-budget horror movie.

A lot of films that were less shaky in the acting department have had less impressive final acts, though. <I>Children</I> may take a while to get there, but it does deliver what the audience paid for by the end.

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originally posted: 06/06/07 08:04:19
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User Comments

12/24/09 art ALL ZOMBIE FILM"S ARE HORRIBLE!,i lied when i said i liked tom savini's NOTLD remake! 1 stars
8/25/09 GroovyDoom Awesome low budget zombie flick. Great makeup, but very slow moving. 4 stars
8/02/09 tiktok Entertaining crap. Cool trousers. Hammy acting. Almost scary ending. Great @ 3AM. 5 stars
3/28/09 Total Crap Weird! 3 stars
7/08/08 art JUST PLAIN OBSCENE 1 stars
3/03/08 art OBSCENE JUNK 1 stars
4/09/05 K. Sear Goofy, yet for some reason a classic. 2 stars
6/10/04 Ryan Clark An exercise in stupidity, the only good thing about this film is the last five minutes. 2 stars
2/08/03 Charles Tatum Nice creepy atmosphere 4 stars
9/15/02 the Grinch Remember the seasonal favorite "A Christmas Story"...same Bob Clark. Stupid, but fun. 4 stars
7/15/02 Kyle What... the... fuck... 1 stars
4/17/01 sarah fun gore flick. 3 stars
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  02-Sep-1972 (PG)
  DVD: 08-May-2010



Directed by
  Bob Clark

Written by
  Bob Clark
  Alan Ormsby

  Alan Ormsby
  Valerie Mamches
  Jeff Gillen
  Anya Ormsby
  Paul Cronin

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