Horror Movie Review: Children Shouldn’t Play With Dead Things (1972)


Get past the low budget nature of this movie & you’ll find a fun zombie flick that has it’s tongue firmly planted in it’s cold, dead cheek. Shot almost entirely at night trying to see just what is going on can be a struggle but stick with it, you won’t regret it.

A small theatre troupe led by the pretentious & unusual Alan head to towards a small island which houses a cemetery for criminals, the worst of the worst. The group all seem to really dislike Alan but under constant threat of losing their jobs they go along with him anyway. On the island Alan reveals that he wants to try & raise the dead at midnight that night using a grimoire much to the frustration of his group.

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As they begin digging corpses up it’s all revealed to be a big set up by Alan & a few of his friends who dress up & wear make-up to scare the rest of the group. Everyone’s relieved until Alan insists on continuing the ritual so the group dig up the body of Orville. Sadly, for Alan, nothing happens…the dead remain dead.

Alan forces the group to bring the body of Orville back to the house they are staying in on the island where he really goes overboard with the corpse. His sick games (mock marriages, forcing one of the troupe to apologies to Orville) upset a few of the group so Alan retires for the night with the body of Orville (yep, it’s hinted that Alan might like to get closer to poor Orville).

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Meanwhile, it seems as though the ritual may have worked after all as the dead begin to rise from the grave intent on one thing, revenge.

Children Shouldn’t Play with Dead Things is a hell of a lot of fun & something that can be considered to be ahead of its time in regards to the comedic horror route it takes with zombies. What really makes the movie so enjoyable is Alan. So over the top, such a pretentious wanker yet somehow you can’t take your eyes off him. As his behaviour worsens you really want to see him get his comeuppance, which he does in excellent fashion.

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The rest of the cast pale in comparison even if no-one is performing particularly bad, except for the character Anya who seemed to think ‘bug eyes’ constantly was the thing to do.

The zombie make-up is surprisingly good with some really unique looking ideas among the crowd of walking dead. The build towards the zombie assault is handled excellently making the final 20 minutes or so very exciting. Orville in particular is endearing even if his make-up is more Joker than rotting corpse.

The gore is what you would expect for a movie made this cheaply. It flows when it needs too but has a waterier look & open wounds are avoided. It’s rarely used though so it does shock when the blood begins to flow.

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Considered a cult classic now, Children Shouldn’t Play with Dead Things (the children in the title is because Alan refers to the troupe as his children) is a well-paced, interesting, amusing & fun flick that serves as a reminder that they really don’t make zombie movies like this anymore.

Children Shouldn't Play With Dead Things
  • 8/10
    The Final Score - 8/10
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