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Sometimes the title of a movie turns out to be more memorable than the film itself. Such is the case with CHILDREN SHOULDN'T PLAY WITH DEAD THINGS ($10). I originally saw CHILDREN SHOULDN'T PLAY WITH DEAD THINGS on television during my formative years as a horror junkie. At that time, I found the film to be creepy fun. However, after looking at the movie today, with a more critical eye, the movie seems to be a hodgepodge of camp and tedium. Sure, the climax delivers everything a horror fan wants to see, but by the end of the movie, the audience is cheering for the zombies to kill the "living" members of the cast. I will admit that CHILDREN SHOULDN'T PLAY WITH DEAD THINGS does have its moments, but there are far too few of them to make the filmís inane dialogue any less nauseating.

Set on a deserted island that doubles as a cemetery, the plot of CHILDREN SHOULDN'T PLAY WITH DEAD THINGS concerns a group of "actors" that go through the pretense of making a movie in which they try to raise the dead. Of course everyone is surprised when the flesh-eating zombies gatecrash the thespianís wrap party, but thatís what you get for practicing black magic without a license. The horrifying (or horrible) cast of CHILDREN SHOULDN'T PLAY WITH DEAD THINGS includes Alan Ormsby, Valerie Mamches, Jeffrey Gillen, Anya Ormsby, Paul Cronin, Jane Daly, Roy Engleman, Robert Phillips, Bruce Solomon, Alecs Baird and Seth Sklarey as Orville, the character with the least offensive dialogue.

VCI Home Video delivers a presentation of CHILDREN SHOULDN'T PLAY WITH DEAD THINGS that is everything one would expect from a low budget early seventies horror movie. The image is at times a little soft and a little grainy, but is otherwise quite watchable. Dark scenes are very dark, with little shadow detail, but this is reflective of the original cinematography. Colors have respectable saturation, although flesh tones tend to be a little unnatural. Blacks are genuinely black and the contrast is a bit harsh at times. CHILDREN SHOULDN'T PLAY WITH DEAD THINGS is Letterboxed at roughly 1.85:1, although the presentation has not been enhanced for playback on 16:9 displays. Digital compression artifacts are not a serious concern on this DVD.

The Dolby Digital monaural soundtrack is adequate to the unenviable task of reproducing the filmís low fidelity sound. There is some mild distortion on the soundtrack, which never interferes with oneís ability to discern every idiotic utterance coming from the actorís mouths. The interactive menus are very simple, but provide access to the standard scene selection feature as well as the DVDís extras. Supplements include a theatrical trailer, a photo gallery and director/star biographies. CHILDREN SHOULDN'T PLAY WITH DEAD THINGS isnít a great horror movie by any stretch of the imagination. However, fans of "bad" cinema are certain to want to add this DVD to their collections.


Children Shouldn't Play with Dead Things (1972)


DVD reviews are Copyright © 1999 THE CINEMA LASER and may not be copied or reprinted without the written consent of the publisher.
THE CINEMA LASER is written, edited and published by Derek M. Germano.



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