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Children Shouldn't Play with Dead Things (1972)

PG | | Comedy, Horror | 9 June 1972 (USA)
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Six friends in a theatrical troupe dig up a corpse on an abandoned island to use in a mock Satanic ritual. It backfires with deadly consequences.

Director:

Bob Clark (as Benjamin Clark)

Writers:

Alan Ormsby (screenplay collaboration), Bob Clark (as Benjamin Clark)
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This is a straight version of the old fairy tale, with John Carradine as the Emperor. It was filmed in South Florida, with exteriors in Coral Gables and Miami's Vizcaya. The hero bests the ... See full summary »

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Alan Ormsby ... Alan
Valerie Mamches Valerie Mamches ... Val
Jeff Gillen Jeff Gillen ... Jeff (as Jeffrey Gillen)
Anya Ormsby ... Anya
Paul Cronin Paul Cronin ... Paul
Jane Daly ... Terry
Roy Engleman Roy Engleman ... Roy
Robert Philip Robert Philip ... Emerson
Bruce Solomon Bruce Solomon ... Winns
Alecs Baird Alecs Baird ... Caretaker
Seth Sklarey ... Orville Dunworth
Bob Sherman Bob Sherman ... Ghoul (as Robert Sherman)
Curtis Bryant Curtis Bryant ... Ghoul
William R. 'Bob' Smedley William R. 'Bob' Smedley ... Tallest dead thing (as Robert Smedley)
Debbie Cummins Debbie Cummins ... Ghoul
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Storyline

An acting troupe led by Alan Ormsby go to a graveyard on a remote island to perform a necromantic ritual. The ritual works too well and soon the dead are walking about and chowing down on human flesh. The dwindling group of survivors struggle to escape. Written by Humberto Amador

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

You're Invited To Orville's "Coming-Out" Party...It'll Be A Scream...YOURS!!! See more »

Genres:

Comedy | Horror

Certificate:

PG | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
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Details

Country:

USA

Language:

English

Release Date:

9 June 1972 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Revenge of the Living Dead See more »

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Box Office

Budget:

$70,000 (estimated)
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

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Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Mono | Stereo (2.0)| DTS

Color:

Color

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Director Bob Clark was planning to do a remake of "Children Shouldn't Play With Dead Things" in 2007. Tragically though, Clark died in an automobile accident before production plans could get underway. See more »

Goofs

Alan claims the book of spells etc is in a direct line from the Druids, but the Druids never had a written language. See more »

Quotes

Alan: Perfect. Absolutely perfect.
See more »

Crazy Credits

Director Bob Clark is credited as "Benjamin Clark" in the opening credits. See more »

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User Reviews

 
A most shocking and excellent 70's horror film.
27 September 2004 | by roddmatsuiSee all my reviews

Okay, I saw this when I was a kid in the 70's, and most people who saw this as kids at that time didn't use much of their upstairs hard drives to remember the lengthy build-up that is two thirds of this movie. The movie was ghoulishly funny in an adult way that was really beyond a tyke's comprehension, so kids tended to sit there for an hour scratching their chins, understanding only vaguely that the acting troupe performing satanic rituals on the "burial island" (or whatever it is), is doing something monstrously, horribly WRONG. What they're doing is worse than devil-worship, actually; they're being generally disrespectful in a kind of place (a cemetery) that demands respect as a first requirement. They're...asking for it.

Why these people are so bizarre is anybody's guess. Why the crazed leader of the theatre group, Alan (Alan Ormsby), has chosen this place and these activities for a night of fun is never explored. These people all simply appear to be warped. And, in the tradition of E.C. comics, transgressors are not given a chance to learn the error of their ways and repent; however silly and young and "sorry" you may be, in this universe, if you do something that the spirits of the dead strongly dislike, you will be punished--as in, you will be ripped unceremoniously apart by ghouls, and devoured. While screaming. And then the ghouls will steal your boat.

And the little kids watching this on late-night TV in the 70's seemed to understand this implicitly. It was not at all surprising what happened to this group of misguided transgressors. You may not have deeply understood the fine details of "why." But you knew SOMETHING TRULY AWFUL was going to happen to them, and that essentially, they deserved it. I remember when I watched it that before the film started, the station (Channel 9 out here in Los Angeles) would show scenes of the "good stuff" to get you jazzed, so, you knew some "zombie consequences" were coming down the pike. These people were seriously doomed. And for all its cheapness and crudity and cheesy performances, this is a very frightening and threatening flick, and no one who's seen it, I am willing to wager, has ever gone to a deserted cemetery to jokingly work Satanic rituals for the purpose of raising the dead. The rituals might actually work. And where would you be then?? Huh??? This is a feature length public service announcement to teach kids A.) not to work satanic rituals, because it's wrong, and B.) to always consider the feelings of other people, particularly dead people, because there are consequences to pissing people off--particularly dead people. As such, the film reenforced a lot of strong moral values, and did a lot of kids a lot of good, I feel.

This is a casual, home-made horror film. The goopy red blood has a little bit of peanut butter in it to make it flow better and give it some opacity. The actors are probably wearing clothes from their personal wardrobes, and those hairstyles are theirs as well. It looks like some nice sets were built (nice considering the almost nonexistent budget of this piece), but the tone is almost that of a backyard Halloween show. The participants are having fun more than anything else--college kids playing with masks and dirt and sticky stuff, just barely aware that they're making a twisted 70's morality play. This is grim, upsetting material, and irredeemably wicked and bizarre, but really somehow very enjoyable.


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