Retro Review: Children Shouldn’t Play With Dead Things (1972)

I have been told about Children Shouldn’t Play With Dead Things for a long time.  I don’t know, something about the title turned me off.  It sounded like some kind of extreme low budget horror movie that I tend to stay away from.  So I did, for a long time, I think it has been 12 or 13 years since I first heard of Children Shouldn’t Play With Dead Things.

I went to my brother in-law’s house yesterday with the hopes of watching Critters and Critters 2.  I walked in with four pizza’s and he handed me Children Shouldn’t Play With Dead Things.  He asked if I wanted to check it out, I simply said, “Fuck it, lets do it.”

So he put the movie in and it begins with a theater troupe going to an island.  The troupe is lead by Alan, played by Alan Ormsby and he is a dick to his employees.  He tries to get the new girl to sleep with him, but she reveals he is not a virgin, thanks to an Eagle Scout when she was a Brownie…yep.  They walk through this cemetery that is mainly used as a cemetery for deranged criminals, to have a night of fun and games.

Alan calls his troupe “children” and tells them about the horror stories of the island.  But the one thing he didn’t mention is having two troupe member dig up a newly deceased man, Orvil Dunworth.  Alan puts on his magical robe and leads the troupe back to the cemetery.  Alan wants to summon someone from the dead.  When his troupe mentions he is going too far, he threatens to fire them and it works.  The guy Alan is such a butthole to these people.  When they do the spell, they are trying to raise Orvil, it turns out to be a prank and it is two of Alan’s friends.  One of the troupe who was closest to Orvil, peed his pants, and kept saying, “I peed my pants, I peed my pants.”  It was pretty funny.  One of the troupe members, Anya begins to go a little insane and acting crazy.

At one point one of the female troupe members does her own chant of resurrection, that works, eventually.  But before that happens, Alan takes the actual corpse of Orvil into the house and violates the corpse, nothing sexual but it is terrible.  Alan even marries Orvil’s corpse.  To me, this was a little unsettling.  Alan takes Orvil up to a room and lays on the bed with the corpse.  Later the people buried in the cemetery come back to life, and crawl out of the ground.  I love watching this scene, corpses coming up from the Earth is something I have always loved to see since watching Michael Jackson’s Thriller.  The zombie descend on to the house and everyone freaks out and they do look terrified.  One of the men, the Alpha male who is not Alan decides to try and escape, make it to the boat.  The others distract the zombies as he makes a break for it, he only makes it a couple of feet as we see a zombie feasting on his insides.

Soon the zombies break into the house and chase Alan and Anya up the stairs and in a moment of panic, Alan tosses Anya into the crowd of zombies.  The part that kills me, the look on the zombies face when Any is tossed in the crowd.  They look surprised that Alan did that.  It was awesome.  When Alan finally gets upstairs, Orvil is now sitting on the bed waiting for him.

Children Shouldn’t Play With Dead Things surprised me, a lot.  I really did not think I would like it, but I loved it and it is on its way, my own Blu Ray copy.  It should be in any zombie film lover’s collection.  The ending is how a zombie movie should be, the make up was not bad for the time, way ahead of Night of the Living Dead and Dawn of the Dead.  That was something that kind of got me, Dawn of the Dead comes six years later and the zombies are basically blue, they are fresh not decaying, but still.  Dawn of the Dead is untouchable either way.

I suggest this movie to everyone, it was a pleasant surprise for a 45 year old movie I never wanted to see. has a rating of 5.5

I give it a rating of 6.6, it was campy fun with a terrific ending.

Here is the Blu Ray copy I got the chance to see.  The quality isn’t the greatest, but that adds to the grit and atmosphere of the film.

I’d buy a copy if I were you!

Check out the trailer, it is crazy…


About Ray Marek III 682 Articles
I have been watching horror films since I was 6 years old. The story, one Saturday night, my mom and I were watching movies and she fell asleep on the couch. We had the channel set on HBO and the movie we were watching ended and the next one, A Nightmare on Elm Street 2: Freddy’s Revenge. This was some time in 1986. I watched then entire film, I was sitting on the edge of my seat. When my mom woke, she asked me what just ended and I told her, “Freddy”. That was all I talked about for weeks and finally she broke down and rented more horror films for me. She rented, the Texas Chainsaw Massacre part 2, Re-Animator, Friday the 13th VI: Jason Lives and Halloween II. I watched all and fell in love with horror films forever. 5 Horror Films to Watch Inferno (1980) A Nightmare on Elm Street (1984) The Beyond (1981) Friday the 13th VI: Jason Lives (1986) Horror of Dracula (1958)