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Bob Clark
Alan Ormsby, Valerie Mamches, Jeff Gillen
Writing Credits:
Bob Clark

Six friends in a theatrical troupe dig up a corpse on an abandoned island to use in a mock Satanic rite but it backfires with deadly consequences.

Rated PG.

Aspect Ratio: 1.85:1
English LPCM Monaural
Supplements Subtitles:

Runtime: 86 min.
Price: $29.95
Release Date: 12/6/2022

• Audio Commentary with Actors Alan Ormsby, Jane Daly and Anya Cronin
• “Dreaming of Death” Documentary
• 2022 Interview with Actor Alan Ormsby
• “Confessions of a Grave Digger” Featurette
• Grindhouse Q&A
• “Memories of Bob Clark” Featurette
• Tribute Video
• Photo Gallery
• 2 Music Videos
• Trailer and Radio Spots


-LG OLED65C6P 65-Inch 4K Ultra HD Smart OLED TV
-Marantz SR7010 9.2 Channel Full 4K Ultra HD AV Surround Receiver
-Panasonic DMP-BDT220P Blu-Ray Player
-Chane A2.4 Speakers
-SVS SB12-NSD 12" 400-watt Sealed Box Subwoofer


Children Shouldn't Play with Dead Things [Blu-Ray] (1972)

Reviewed by Colin Jacobson (December 4, 2022)

All filmmakers start somewhere, and a decade before he enjoyed a major hit via 1982’s Porky’s, Bob Clark indulged in low-budget horror. This takes us to 1972’s Children Shouldn’t Play with Dead Things.

Off the coast of Miami, a theater group led by the arrogant and mean-spirited Alan (Alan Ormsby) visits a decrepit graveyard. He forces them to hold a ceremony to raise a corpse.

Though done as a sadistic jest, this backfires. Alan’s ceremony actually brings the dead back to shambling life and forces the small group to fight for their survival.

To paraphrase Dr. Ian Malcolm: now eventually you do plan to have zombies in your zombie movie, right? Things does deliver the undead goods, but it waits so long to get there that one can’t fault a viewer who grows impatient along the way.

In a more accurate world, Things would get billed as a psychological horror tale, as a good three-fourths of the movie follows that path. As much as it teases topics connected to corpses, most of the story traces the interactions and tensions among the still-living characters.

Essentially this means Alan abuses his underlings and threatens them with unemployment if they don’t submit to his whims and cruel actions. In theory, a good film could emerge from this sadism.

Unfortunately, the Clark of Things lacked the skill to bring out the necessary depth that such a story would require. None of the characters ever manages to become anything more than one-dimensional, so their conflicts fail to turn into anything compelling.

Indeed, all the bickering becomes redundant and repetitive. We get it: Alan treats his actors like crap. We don’t need an hour of this to understand the point, and the movie never develops fresh or creative ways to explore the dynamics.

Oddly, the movie never explains why all the characters so fear Alan and his threats of unemployment. We get the impression that Alan commands a small-time crew, so the film doesn’t convey that he possesses the power he needs for his actions to make sense.

So what if Alan fires his underlings? This domain feels utterly illogical.

The actors can’t help, as none of them show much talent. Ormsby camps up a storm as Alan, and the others tend to vary from flat to over the top, without anything natural to be found in between those poles.

I will say that the zombie attack almost musters some drama and urgency. The finale doesn’t churn the tension that better-made horror can find, but the last act at least shows some passion and spark.

Too bad it becomes far too little and far too late. Things wastes so much time on tedious character moments that its eventual stabs at terror can’t redeem the final product.

The Disc Grades: Picture C/ Audio C-/ Bonus B+

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.

Viewer Film Ratings: 2 Stars Number of Votes: 1
0 3:
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