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Children Shouldn't Play with Dead Things

USA 1972
directed by Bob Clark
starring Alan Ormsby, Anya Ormsby, Seth Sklarey
cinematography by Ted V. Mikels

review by
Mike Haberfelner

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Always make sure of DVD-compatibility !!!
Alan Ormsby gives a really obnoxiuos performance (yes, he does admit it himself) as a theater-director taking his crew to a graveyard island for a night out to play some macabre pranks on them, being even more macabre by playing with a corpse he called Orville (Seth Sklarey) & in an incantation to the devil awakening the dead. They eat the cast (thankfully).

 

Despite of being one of the very first movies to feature gut-munching zombies (I think only Night of the Living Dead was earlier, but I might be wrong), this movie is just a worthless piece of trash. This is not because I don't like gut-munching zombies (I do) or dismiss a movie  just for having a plot that has been repeated all-too-often. Thing is, here the realization of the plot just doesn't work. Thing is, when you have a group of obnoxious teenagers/early twens trying to awake the dead one night, you pretty much know what will happen, so why does this movie spend a whole hour before the dead actually start to walk ?! My guess is it might have been to build up the suspense, but an hour of nothing really happening does not build up suspense any more but general boredom. Furthermore all the characters are so completely unlikable that by the time the zombies do show up, you don't care for them one bit & actually wish them dead.

Having said all that, I have to admit, there are some nice scenes at the end, though, when Ormsby as the sole survivor manages to escape the zombie-hordes only to realize he's barricaded himself  in the very same room he left Orville the corpse, now awakened of course ... Also the final scene where the zombies find the boat & contemplate to cross the water to the world of the living (quite physically, not metaphorically, actually) is quite nice as it foreshadows the opening scenes of Zombi 2 (1979), when a boatload of zombies actually arrives in New York.

Alan Ormsby, thankfully gave up his acting-career soon after that. Later, he co-directed Deranged (1974) with Bob Clark, & wrote numerous screenplays, among them also Porky's 2 for Bob Clark (yet again).

 

 

review © by Mike Haberfelner

 

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