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Traumafessions: Unk on Children Shouldn’t Play With Dead Things

January 8th, 2017 by unkle lancifer · 5 Comments

Director BOB CLARK’s name rightfully pops up every holiday season in connection to his contrasting holiday classics A CHRISTMAS STORY and BLACK CHRISTMAS. If those monumental movies weren’t enough to cement his status as a potent filmmaker you’ve also got the influential teen sex comedy PORKY’S and the allegorical Vietnam war zombie flick DEATH DREAM as further proof. But it’s the mention of CLARK’s too often shrugged off, earlier living dead soiree CHILDREN SHOULDN’T PLAY WITH DEAD THINGS that still sends a quiet chill of dread down my spine. How can that be? The movie is hilarious camp! Why, just look at the character’s outdated clothes and hairstyles! What a chuckle fest! Sure, maybe I take it less seriously these days and maybe I even find lumps of it annoying and borderline boring but the damn thing still makes me privately wince on some level.

I could brush it away and say that my aversion stems from having caught its ghoulish dime store depravity too many times at too late an hour at a far too impressionable age but the disquiet feels deeper than the echo of nostalgia. As sarcastic and theatrical as CHILDREN loudly presents itself to be, there’s no painting over its oppressive wall of infinite-seeming eeriness. It gets to me. Those electric seventies howling bleeps and whistles, the painful groaning of slow-motion visuals and especially its neon meets inky oblivion color pallet. It’s as if if THE BRADY BUNCH cancelled their Grand Canyon camping trip and decided to vacation in DOGVILLE instead. Nothing can freak me out faster than that dense end of the world background blackness. It‘s a forewarning of that air guitar riddled FAMILY TIES episode in which Alex mourns his dead friend Greg. It’s freaky and off-putting but there’s a swirl of stripped down borderline humiliating coldness to it too. Black isn’t a color, black eats colors for breakfast. We’re all heading there, right?

On a brighter note: Orville! I genuinely love this guy! Every living dead flick worth its salt should have one standout signature zombie and in my book, Orville leaves most of his shuffling brethren in the dust. To truly understand and get the most out of this picture you must both FEAR and ROUTE FOR Orville. As much nausea as he may inspire, and as much dread as he might instill, the long suffering lummox is so outrageously disrespected that its not difficult to find his patiently prepared, masterly marinated stew o’ vengeance delectably delicious. You know, if the whole world has to come crashing down for Orville to have the last laugh on his smug oppressor, I’m absolutely OK with that…and fall down it does. Are spoiler warnings even necessary when talking about zombie flicks? You can bet your bottom dollar this baby closes out with the pessimistic understanding that we’ve only witnessed the tip of the iceberg in regards to the world’s well-deserved demise.

Hey, this traumafession about how CSPWDT scared me as a kid and still creeps me out today, also happens to be a “Sunday Streaming” post cuz I found it on YouTube! Like I nearly said before, the dialogue can be perturbing and the acting hammy and the pace almost dawdling but there’s still something unnerving burrowing around here. If nothing else, you have to admit that the title remains sound advice. Respect the dead today because tomorrow they’re YOU!

Tags: Sunday Streaming · Traumafessions




5 responses so far ↓

  • 1 Drew BluddNo Gravatar // Jan 8, 2017 at 6:55 pm

    Well done, Unkle

  • 2 carolNo Gravatar // Jan 9, 2017 at 11:23 am

    Oh man! I saw this movie as a tween in the middle of the day and it freaked my shit big time. For a few years way back when, one channel would play horror movies all day on Sat or Sun when I was still a big weenie and CSPWDT is one of them. And like you, Unk, I still find the atmosphere super creepy – but then again maybe I’m STILL a big weenie 🙂

  • 3 ScrewedUpTeenNo Gravatar // Jan 10, 2017 at 6:41 pm

    On the poster… “Orville’s coming-out party”… does that mean Orville’s gay? 😀

  • 4 chainmanNo Gravatar // Jan 11, 2017 at 12:39 pm

    ScrewedUpTeen
    On the poster… “Orville’s coming-out party”… does that mean Orville’s gay?

    Diana Ross – I’m Coming Out
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=F-mjl63e0ms

    LOL. I’d love it if someone on Youtube would edit scenes from ‘Children Shouldn’t Play with Dead Things’ with Diana Ross’s ‘I’m Coming Out’.(smile)

    It would have to end with the one and only George Takei saying “Oh my”! (EVERYTHING is better with a dash of Takei!)

    Come Out As Gay With George Takei – CONAN on TBS

  • 5 Madamoiselle MacabreNo Gravatar // Jan 12, 2017 at 8:56 pm

    I’m with Unk and Carol, this one still gives me the skin crawlies. I think it’s the necrophilia undercurrent. People already suffer enough indignities in life to have their eternal rest ruined by some Nasty McNasterson who interprets nihilism too literally. I don’t think my mind can wrap itself around the horror of those pants Alan Ormsby wears either!

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