Children Shouldn’t Play With Dead Things appears in an aspect ratio of 1.85:1 on this Blu-ray Disc.
Should one expect much from a 50-year-old low-budget horror flick? Heavens no, but the image seemed perfectly adequate given its origins.
Sharpness became adequate and rarely better. While the movie felt acceptably defined much of the time, it lacked great delineation.
No issues with jagged edges or moiré effects appeared, and I saw no edge haloes. Grain largely felt natural and print flaws remained minor, as I saw only a handful of specks.
Colors went with a subdued palette that favored reds and yellows. The hues lacked great range but they managed decent impact at times.
Blacks felt rich enough, but low-light shots – of which we found many given the nighttime setting – tended to come across as semi-opaque and difficult to discern. These almost certainly resulted from the original photography, as did most of the issues in this bland but watchable presentation.
Should one expect much from an LPCM monaural soundtrack for a 50-year-old low-budget horror flick? Heavens no, and the audio came with the anticipated problems.
Speech remained largely intelligible, but the lines could seem edgy and sibilant at times. Music also felt shrill during louder moments and the score failed to provide real dimensionality.
Effects followed suit, so they sounded passable but a bit rough. While nothing here really satisfied, I found the results to remain in line with what I figured I’d get from the bargain basement source.
Across two discs, we get a bunch of extras, and we open with an audio commentary from actors Alan Ormsby, Jane Daly and Anya Cronin. Along with moderator David Gregory, all three sit together for this running, screen-specific look at characters and performances, what brought them to the project, locations, working with director Bob Clark, and general memories.
Recorded in 2007, the three actors display a nice chemistry and bring an appealing energy to this chatty and warm track. We get a reasonably good look at their side of the production via this enjoyable commentary.
In addition to the film’s trailer, Disc One includes Dreaming of Death, a one-hour, 12-minute, 50-second documentary. It offers remarks from writer/filmmaker Chris Alexander, biographer Simon Fitzjohn, composer Paul Zaza, assistant director Jen Goch, and actors Richard Backus, Art Hindle and Lynne Griffin.
“Dreaming” examines the career of filmmaker Bob Clark, with an emphasis on his horror tales. We get a decent overview, but the focus seems a little erratic, so this doesn’t become a great take on Clark’s work.
As we move to Disc Two, we find an Interview with Actor Alan Ormsby. During this 33-minute, 32-second chat, he discusses aspects of the Things shoot as well as his relationship with Clark and his overall career.
As noted at the start, a technical glitch means Ormsby’s remarks sound terrible, but they remain intelligible – and the disc adds subtitles too. While Ormsby provides nothing terribly fascinating, he brings a moderately enjoyable chat.
Confessions of a Grave Digger runs nine minutes, eight seconds and brings comments from construction chief Ken Goch. He covers his time with Clark along with his notes about the Things production, Goch delivers a solid little look at these topics.
Next comes a Grindhouse Q&A. Shot during a Beverly Cinema festival, it spans 11 minutes, 27 seconds and features Ormsby, Jen Goch, composer Carl Zittrer, set decorator Albert Fisher
We get a mix of general notes about Things and related films here. Expect a mix of new thoughts and information provided elsewhere.
Memories of Bob Clark fills 10 minutes, eight seconds with info from Cronin, Daly and Ormsby. Their notes come from the 2007 audio commentary session.
They offer some thoughts about the filmmaker, though their statements only fill about five minutes, as the first half of the featurette delivers a quick overview of Clark’s career. This becomes a passable collection of remarks but nothing insightful.
A Tribute Video runs two minutes and simply shows blurry photos from the film. It seems utterly pointless.
We also find a Photo Gallery that provides a running montage of ads and images. I like the content but the format stinks, as the zooms in/out make it tough to really view the elements.
Two modern music videos by the Deadthings appear. We get reels for “Dead Girls Don’t Say No” and “Cemetery Mary”.
Why are these videos here? Other than themes, do they have any connection to Things? Not that I can tell. The songs and videos are pretty awful.
We finish with four minutes, 25 seconds of Radio Spots. They add some value to the package.
As an early effort from filmmaker Bob Clark, Children Shouldn’t Play with Dead Things sparks some interest via that historical connection. Unfortunately, the movie itself fails to deliver a lively and compelling horror experience, as it bores more than it scares. The Blu-ray comes with mediocre picture and audio as well as a long roster of bonus features. Despite a decent finale, this ends up as a mostly dull zombie flick.