Friday, November 7, 2008

Children Shouldn't Play With Dead Things (1972)

...aka: Revenge of the Living Dead
...aka: Things From the Dead
...aka: Zombie Graveyard
...aka: Zreaks

Directed by:
Bob Clark

High points for weirdness here in one of the first and most unique zombie flicks to follow on the heels of Romero's trend-setting 1968 classic NIGHT OF THE LIVING DEAD. In this case, the style of unique will either delight and amuse or infuriate and annoy. It just depends on who you are. The characters in this one are pretty out-there, and they like to talk. A lot. A group of six self-proclaimed "jaded young deviants" (pretentious, smart-ass actors) travel to a secluded island cottage off of Miami, where extreme asshole theater director Alan (Alan Ormsby) plots to raise the dead using a "grimori" (ancient Satanic text). It starts as a joke, but the spells actually ends up working, the dead rise and attack in a NOTLD-style ambush on the house. CHILDREN doesn't have much action in the first hour. It's all talk, talk, talk... Ormsby's character consistently makes such an ass of himself and is such a jerk, you can't wait to see him bite it. His wife Anya Ormsby plays a waif-like near mute and most of the side characters (the studly actor, the spunky young actress and the pudgy, balding easy target) are equally forgettable. The most likable of the bunch is Valerie Mamches (playing Val), the one who can go toe-to-toe with Alan's consistent stream of condescending insults. Thankfully, it picks up for a strong and genuinely creepy finale, and also offers the aforementioned excellent dead-rising-from-ground sequence, an effective, foggy graveyard setting and good, scary make-up FX from star Ormsby (who also worked on the screenplay).

Filmed in Florida; it was the feature debut of Bob (credited as "Benjamin") Clark, who'd go on to make DEATHDREAM (1972), BLACK CHRISTMAS (1974) and MURDER BY DECREE (1979). Chris Martell (co-star of FLESH FEAST and SCREAM BABY SCREAM) was the production manager.


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