Most people know my taste in movies can be pretty weird and obscure. So it’s very rare that someone will recommend a movie to me, especially around Halloween. But a brave soul said I should watch something from her childhood that she still loves to this day, Children Shouldn’t Play with Dead Things. Being that it was a few years before my time I didn’t give it much hope; classics for me don’t begin much before 1978. But it was directed by someone I am familiar with, Bob Clark, who went on to make Porky’s, Rhinestone, Loose Cannons, and Black Christmas which I reviewed a couple years ago. So I decided to give it a shot because something 3 years my senior that I had never seen before should at least bring 90 minutes of enjoyment to my life right!
Allan and some members of his film troupe decide to head out to an island with a spooky graveyard to shoot their latest movie… or so they think. On their way out to their home for the evening, they constantly feel like they are being followed. The house they are staying in used to belong to the old graveyard caretaker until they put him in the insane asylum for murdering his family. Plus the caretaker who took over after that hung himself. So why not shack up there for the night, it’s as good as any murderers paradise! No sooner than they get settled in and Allan reveals his big plan. He’s brought a book of ancient spells with him and they are going to have a satanic ritual to summon the dead. The rest of the crew goes along, and they find a nice fresh grave to dig up, and it just so happens to belong to Orville Dunworth. Paul and Jeff put their arms and backs to work digging up the coffin, and just as Jeff goes to grab the corpse, Orville comes to life and attacks him! But alas it was a huge RAZ! It was just a couple of Allan’s buddies who helped stage the whole thing with Allan.
The group is mostly amused, well except for Jeff who peed his pants and has no problem announcing it to the group at least a dozen times! But Allan isn’t done. He really did intend to summon the dead on this evening and he’s not about to stop now. After a few sprinkles of dried baby blood, and a few words from the book, not so much is happening. Even some sarcastic summoning from Allan’s most accomplished and hated actresses can’t bring life to the dozens of corpses below. Thankfully the night isn’t a total waste. Allan is going to take the real Orville back to the cabin for some fun. Plus its Orville’s coming out party; it would be rude not to invite him right? Upon their return to the cabin Anya starts to go full-on bat-shit insane, claiming that they’ve trampled the spirits and disrespected them. She senses that the dead are coming for them, and even though she’s a few Snickers bars short of a full candy bag, she just might be right!
Older movies like this are typically a little slow for me and this one was definitely slow most of the way. The story however was pretty original, and it was told more as a ghost story with a zombie attack thrown in at the end. The real fun begins about an hour in when the group is quite shocked at the 100 or so zombies trying to get inside. They just don’t know what they could have done wrong? How about digging up ole’ Orville and using him as the butt of your jokes for one! I could definitely see this being a great movie to grow up to. It’s spooky, creepy, and has a bone-chilling performance (Anya Ormsby). It’s not in my wheelhouse, but it was a good recommendation and definitely a classic take on being trapped in the woods with zombies knocking down your door! Children Shouldn’t Play with Dead Things gets 2.5 jerkoff writer-directors eventually peeing their pants when Orville does come to life out of 5!