Monday, February 22, 2016

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






Children Shouldn't Play with Dead Things...Now that's a catchy title for a movie, no? Definitely makes your mind wander on what exactly a movie like this could be about. I must admit, in all my years of loving low budget, "cult classics", this is one movie that I didn't hear about until just a few years ago while having a chat with a friend at a convention. Now, before my friend could even describe the movie, the name captured my attention. Then I found out it was a horror-comedy by the same man responsible for Christmas Story and Black Christmas, Bob Clark,  well, I knew I had to see it.


I finally got my hands on it years later via a tape trade. I was very excited to finally watch it, as a copy on any platform wasn't the easiest to come by, so finallty scoring it after hearing so much over the years? Awesome. My only issue with the movie itself, is every home media copy that's circulated sicne it's release, has always been murky, dark and kinda hard to make out what's happening. Albeit, it's hard to make a movie built on a $50,000 budget look good on a vhs or dvd, but it's not impossible.

The story itself is rather interesting, Alan is a real pompous jerk who takes his theater buddies to a cemetery to play pranks and degrade his friends, who also brings to life some dead bodies and learns an important lesson that...well...you know the title...

The picture, as compared to previous releases (and again I can only go on my vhs copy and what other's who had the dvd from 2007) is significantly brighter and clearer. There doesn't appear a lot of graininess in the picture, which I don't think hurts it. There will most likely be fans who wish it did, since it's a movie from 1972 has been seen over and over again with grain and dirt all over the print, so for them, it could potentially be a little distracting and weird.

The extras seem to be imported from the original dvd release. Which, personally, I never mind. If you cover all the stories and origins in one release, there may be no need for new ones. A lot of loving tributes for the late Bob Clark, including a short discussion between cast members as well as a Q&A session froma  screening in LA from 2007 are included. Twos ongs from the band "The Dead Things"(no doubt inspired by this movie) are included as well. A trailer, a slideshow, and my personal favorite, the UK Release which is cut from 1 hour and 26 to 1 hour and 15 minutes. Personally, I love when companies include any and all alternate cuts as an extra(ahem, Sleepaway Camp 3!) so that really made me even happier to have both versions of this campy cult classic.

VCI really put together a pleasing package for fans of this movie. A reversible cover that features the original poster art on one side and a new cover featuring the fan favorite Orville the corpse on the other. Also included is a mini booklet detailing the history of the movie and it's well respected director.

I can't suggest this movie highly enough. A fantastic release for those who may have missed out on the dvd release 9 years ago. If you want to give this movie a view, head over to VCI and pick it up today!

-Chad

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