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Rated PG
Copyright 1972 Brandywine/Motionarts
Reviewed by Andrew Borntreger on 'a long time ago'

The Characters:  

  • Alan - Owner of the theater troupe, he's a little sick and definitely on a serious power trip. Munched.
  • Val - Middle aged woman, she's the only person Alan takes any crap from. Also munched.
  • Paul and Terry - Two aspiring thespians in love, he was voted "most athletic." Zombie chow.
  • Anya - FREAK girl! Funny enough she's the one who best understands the zombies. Guess what happens to her? Yup, munched.
  • Jeff - Chubby guy who needs some lessons in bladder control. The zombie snack equivalent of a moon pie.
  • Roy and Emerson - Two effeminate actors hired by Alan to scare everyone, they are bit parts, they are wandering around the graveyard, they are so dead.
  • Orville - Dead guy chosen by Alan to be the life of the party.
  • The Zombies - Quick little fellows raised from the dead by Alan's attempt at Necromancy, too bad they have the munchies.

Buy It!

The Plot: 

Something mom never taught me, but with all the knowledge to pass on to your kids Necromancy usually gets left out. Okay, for the record: Necromancy = bad. Got it? When Alan decides to treat his theater group to a night of frights and Satanic rituals he never guesses how successful it will be. The joke goes off marvelously, when Jeff climbs into a grave to exhume the corpse it grabs him. (Alan emptied it earlier and had Roy climb inside.) With all the fun and games finished it's time for the serious business. Alan has brought a tome of black magic and a small amount of dried baby's blood to raise some undead. Where do you get dried baby's blood anyway, Wallmart? The megalomaniac is a bit put out when nothing happens. First Alan, then Val take turns mocking the Prince of Darkness. Needless to say, doing so at midnight, in an unhallowed graveyard, in a b-movie of all things, is not advised. To make matters worse Alan insists on dragging Orville back to the old house they're using and having a wedding. There's actually a rather amusing section when they're making Orville "walk" and just let go, much like those trust building exercises. Except the corpse falls forward and nobody catches poor Orville. It's a little later when Roy and Emerson first discover the dead are rising and the two of them are appetizers. For all the overacting "Children Shouldn't Play with Dead Things" is very good, but just in case you didn't read the character descriptions, don't get attached to anybody...

Things I Learned From This Movie: 

  • Never startle a vampire.
  • Remote island graveyards are brightly lit.
  • Theater companies border on white slavery.
  • Flickering firelight is best simulated by a wavering flashlight beam on the person's face.
  • Dark blue Necromancer robes did not go with other 70's fashions.
  • You can't give cadavers a penny for their thoughts.
  • Satan has a horde of nicknames.
  • Zombies suffer from insomnia.

Stuff To Watch For: 

  • 3 mins - Did the zombie not pay his rent or something? Undead eviction?
  • 12 mins - Where did Alan get those pants, gads...
  • 30 mins - Anya, you are a FREAK!
  • 44 mins - Somebody hit her with a shovel, Val - shut up.
  • 54 mins - No more dead puns, I mean it.
  • 71 mins - Those must be the strongest panes of glass in history.
  • 59 mins - Two women and two men hold off a horde of zombies, but one kills Paul with no problem?
  • 84 mins - Everybody (zombies included) gives Alan the "you bastard" look.

 Audio clips in wav formatSOUNDSStarving actors speak out 

Green Music Note childdead1.wav Alan: "Uh, how many merits does an Eagle Scout get for seducing a Brownie?"
Terry: "I don't know, you'll have to check that in your Boy Scout manual."
Green Music Note childdead2.wav Alan: "The magnitude of your simplitude overwhelms me."
Green Music Note childdead3.wav Alan: "You know what you are? You're a slab of meat I hired to dress my stage and I like my sides of beef to hang quietly in the corner until I need them. So why don't you just shut up!"
Green Music Note childdead4.wav Anya: "If we respect him, he'll respect us! Look! He's trying to tell us, you can it in his face!"
Green Music NoteTheme Song Listen to a clip from the soundtrack.

 Click for a larger imageIMAGESScenes from the movie 


 Watch a sceneVIDEOMPEG video files 

Video Clipchilddead1.mpg - 2.2m
Terry, I wouldn't stand in that doorway...

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Comments:Write CommentPages: 1 ... 4 5 [6] 7
Children Shouldn't Play With Dead Things
Reply #41. Posted on November 25, 2006, 04:09:49 PM by Michael
You can't convince someone this is a great movie if they're going to say it sucks. Let 'em say it. This is a great movie, however. Don't pay so much attention to the wardrobe, (take my word for it - for the time, these guys are hip), but pay attention to the great camera moves, especially outside, where the smooth movements must have been pretty hard to get. The house is great! Kinda looks like mine up here in the mountains. And let yourself get into the performances, which this group of unknowns do with incredible believability. Everyone says they hate Val. Let 'em! That means she played her role with great conviction! You hate Alan, too! Anyone can play a saint. Hateful people are the ones you remember. Funny how people b***h about running out of air in a coffin, but dead coming to life is a total natural. Watch it again.
Children Shouldn't Play With Dead Things
Reply #42. Posted on November 25, 2006, 04:10:12 PM by McCrackan
Valerie Mamches was 31 when this was filmed. Even as a kid, I never thought of 31 as "middle-aged."
Re: Children Shouldn't Play With Dead Things
Reply #43. Posted on October 05, 2007, 10:17:38 PM by liusa
this movie is a classic...nuff said.
Re: Children Shouldn't Play With Dead Things
Reply #44. Posted on November 24, 2007, 07:58:18 PM by Alex Undead
I actually did not care for this film too much. I found the acting to be pretty bad, but that is something I've come to expect, so that I'm not really too broken up about. The music really annoyed me, but that, too, was an aspect of the film that was excusable. It was the slowness that got to me. It just took so long for any action to happen! Maybe it is because I'm impatient, but had the acting been a little less laughable, I suppose I could have dealt with it's slow pace.
Re: Children Shouldn't Play With Dead Things
Reply #45. Posted on October 01, 2008, 05:41:30 PM by Nukie 2
Camp in, and of itself.

The colors and clothing is camp enough. But, the idea of the characters motivations, in  this B-movie --shot in a foney graveyard, are to go through the ordeal, so that they become famous, seems unintentionally tounge in cheek-- what irony! I do not like the characters, so it's justice to see them all get munched.

Though Alan and Val tried to see who was the smartest, none of their razzing made any sense. Matter afact, Alan kind of delivered some of the lines like he was Lloyd Christmas in "Dumb and Dumber". Anya had the coolest part and lines.

The camp in the movie, other than the zeitgiest, is brought out by the two effeminate actors, hired by Alan to scare the troupe. The especially the scene where they steal a corpses ring, only to get attacked -- "Oh, look at that ring" *flaps hand*.

The great thing about this movie, is that the campiness at the beginning leads to a good sequence of zombie awakenings and mayhem-- good balance. You forget about the fake tombstones and Alans Mr. Wizard robe.
Re: Children Shouldn't Play With Dead Things
Reply #46. Posted on February 10, 2009, 09:28:48 PM by Anthony
A movie that dared to touch upon the subject of necrophilia...
Re: Children Shouldn't Play With Dead Things
Reply #47. Posted on February 21, 2009, 02:54:48 PM by jomega
'Alan: "Uh, how many merits does an Eagle Scout get for seducing a Brownie?"
Terry: "I don't know, you'll have to check that in your Boy Scout manual."

Given that Eagle Scouts are usually in high school and Brownies are usually around 8 years old, that's just WRONG!!
Re: Children Shouldn't Play With Dead Things
Reply #48. Posted on January 15, 2010, 01:28:52 AM by Brian
I was about 10 years old and saw this movie on tv while staying over my grandparents house.  I woke up with the most horribel nightmares later that night.  I cant belive I found this movie almost 30 years later!
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