The first time I viewed Children Shouldn't Play With Dead Things
was around the time I graduated high school. I remember fondly the weekly trips to the (somewhat creepy) Suncoast Video in the nearby shopping mall. Taking a couple hours to stand in front of the Horror/Sci-Fi section reading the synopsis on the back of each gore-covered plastic rectangle. I had been intrigued by CSPWDT
for quite some time but had always felt it was too over priced for what seemed to be a guaranteed mediocre and typical zombie flick. After purchasing a copy of nearly every horror film they had to offer, I decided to take a chance and brought it up to the clerk. It went a little something like this:
Clerk: "Hello again J.P.!"
J.P.: "Hello again!"
"What do we have this week?"
"A zombie film that might suck the sweat off my nuts."
I think I scared the poor lady half-to-death, or maybe I took her off guard, but either way I didn't hear so much as a peep out of her through the rest of the transaction. Oh well. Gives me something to giggle about.
is a tale about a group of film makers and actors who travel to an abandoned cemetery island to (supposedly) shoot a horror film. Soon after they arrive the actors discovered they have not been brought here to shoot a film, but rather to participate in a witchcraft ceremony to awake the dead. After the ceremony has taken place and nothing has happened, the director (and leader of the group) drags a large decaying corpse back to their cottage for more fun. The first fun on the agenda? Marriage, of course! That's right! They marry the director and this over-sized male corpse then bring them into their "honeymoon suite" for a night of who-knows-what. This pisses off the rest of the rotting corpses and they come to avenge their missing friend.
If your a fan of early 70's zombie flicks, CSPWDT
isn't all that bad. It has about the amount of acting talent that you would expect from a low-budget zombie flick and, although the storyline isn't exactly original, it has it's own unique feel and plot direction than other flicks of it's era. For example, it's more of a "zombie cult" film than your normal "innocent group of teenagers suddenly attacked" plot. I'm not saying the zombie cult idea hasn't been done by others before, take The Dead Next Door
for example, but it's what the cult does
with the dead is what is original. (Marriage, honeymoon, ect.) In that aspect, CSPWDT
has it's own special flavor.
I absolutely loved the zombies throughout the film. It seems as though the makeup effects artist couldn't decided on how he wanted the zombies to look. There are two distinct styles of zombie makeup that resemble Lucio Fulci's monster in House by the Cemetery
and the zombies in George A. Romero's Dawn of the Dead
. I prefer the Fulci style of makeup because of it's painfully obvious lack of budget. Not that slapping on a coat of blue makeup is expensive but I enjoy some cheap, caked-on, leathery looking appliances on my rotting friends.
And let's not forget their grand entrance from the grave! There is an art to making a successful sequence of zombies crawling out of the cemetery dirt and CSPWDT
pulled it off with style. The sequence could be compared to the dead rising in Return of the Living Dead: Part 2
and Michael Jackson's Thriller
.The actors have to physically be buried in dirt for it to effectively work, which I think many filmmakers see as too time consuming and bothersome.
I would rate CSPWDT
6/10. It's not the best 70's zombie flick I've ever seen but it's also not the worst. By far. Pick up a copy and enjoy. Especially if your a Lucio Fulci fanatic!