Children Shouldn’t Play With Dead Things


 CHILDREN SHOULDN’T PLAY WITH DEAD THINGS has tried the patience of many a zombie fan over the years with its purposely annoying cast, focus on sub-witty dialogue, and elongated build-up to a low on intestine-chomping climax. Personally, I have a soft spot for the film. I remember staying up late for it, and being truly terrified by its bizarre soundtrack, questionable reliance on slow-mo, and truly satisfying final frames. Even haters have to admit that there is a delicious CLOVERFIELD moment in this film where you just think to yourself, “I can’t wait to see these people die.” As a kid, I was just worried for this sad lot trapped on a potter’s field island where the dead had come to life. I had no idea that they were sycophantic thespians following their douchebag director’s whims, that they had pretty much begged for the outcome that occurs by mocking the dead or even that the two HECKLE AND JECKLE type henchmen were wince inducing over-the-top stereotypes of gay men. Directed by BOB CLARK whose BLACK CHRISTMAS, let’s face it, begat HALLOWEEN which, let’s face it, begat everything I care about on this planet, and co-written and starring ALAN ORMSBY who not only had his hand in DERANGED and 1982’s CAT PEOPLE but also wrote MY BODYGUARD, C.S.P.W.D.T. is as hard to defend as it is to ignore. It may come across like a local theater production of NIGHT OF THE LIVING DEAD with costumes provided by THE MONKEES, but there is a very real sense of being trapped and cornered that always gets to me regardless of the fact that most of the script apparently was later used to provide biting dialogue for THE ROPERS. The defiant refusal to follow a template structure really does pay off once in a while, like when the couple voted most likely to be “final” instead end up unceremoniously eaten. As obnoxious as most of the characters are, they are at least always distinguishable from each other, a rarity these days. Really, how can you not get behind a flick whose most compelling and sympathetic presence is a corpse named Orville?indelible scenes

  • The first couple false scares. I admit it I fell for them.
  • Val’s (VALERIE MAMCHES) cavetch-y incantation
  • Sensitive Anya (ANYA ORMSBY) looses her shit
  • The dead finally do rise and it’s impressively staged
  • Coward Alan throws Anya to the undead to save himself
  • Lovable Orville gets his just revenge!



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14 years ago

The commercial for this movie used to scare me so bad, i would go into the bathroom, shut the door, cover my ears and stomp until it was over.
Man I was a wimp. My father was embarrassed for me.
Still haven’t seen the movie.
Hold me.

Derek Obrien
13 years ago

I saw this in New York, on WOR-TV on a Saturday night, 1am, after the WWF Hour, as a kid. It was the first instance I saw where the good guys were all killed off, which upended by child’s sense of justice. The image of the zombies bursting into the bedrom door in slow motion prompted me to sleep with a kitchen knife under my mattress that summer…

Drew Bludd
Drew Bludd
8 years ago

I used to know a cellar who looked, sounded, spoke and dressed JUST like the theatre group leader in this film. Very odd.

Drew Bludd
Drew Bludd
8 years ago

That’s “fella” not cellar.

Damn you, auto correct!