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Children Shouldn't Play With Dead Things - 35th Anniversary Exhumed Edition

3.9 out of 5 stars 170 customer reviews

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(May 08, 2010)
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Editorial Reviews

Led by a mean-spirited director, Alan (Alan Ormsby), a theater troupe travels by boat to a small island graveyard for buried criminals. Using a grimoire, Alan begins a séance to raise the dead. The group finds more than they bargained for when the dead return from their graves, forcing the troupe to take refuge in an old abandoned caretaker s house. Can they stay put until daylight against the undead onslaught, or do they flee into the pitch black night? Will anyone survive? ....Muhah hahahh! Bonus Features: All New Commentary with Alan Ormsby, Jane Daly and Anya Cronin, Memories of Bob Clark A tribute to the late Director, Grindhouse Q&A, Confessions of a Grave Digger Interview with Ken Goch, Photo Gallery, Dead Girls Don t Say No Music Video by The Deadthings, Cemetery Mary Music Video by The Deadthings, A Tribute Video to CSPWDT by Freak 13, CSPWDT Trivia, Alan Ormsby Bio, Original Theatrical Trailer. Product Specs: DVD9; Dolby Digital; 87 minutes; Color: 1.85:1 Aspect Ratio; MPAA PG; Year 1972; SRP - $19.99.

Special Features

None.

Product Details

  • Actors: Alan Ormsby, Valerie Mamches, Jeffrey Gillen, Anya Ormsby, Paul Cronin
  • Directors: Bob Clark
  • Format: Multiple Formats, Color, Dolby, NTSC, Original recording remastered, Restored, Widescreen
  • Language: English
  • Region: Region 1 (U.S. and Canada only. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Rated:
    PG
    Parental Guidance Suggested
  • Studio: VCI Entertainment
  • DVD Release Date: May 8, 2010
  • Run Time: 87 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 3.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (170 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B003L1YESE
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #64,511 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)
  • Learn more about "Children Shouldn't Play With Dead Things - 35th Anniversary Exhumed Edition" on IMDb

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: DVD
I own multiple copies of every version of this film available on VHS, LD and DVD. VCI's version on VHS and DVD is the most complete version I've seen (running 87 minutes, 1 - 2 minutes longer than previous pre-records) AND it's letterboxed, and nicely packaged.
CSPwDT is one of those rare horror films that is truly terrifying. I've often tried to pinpoint exactly what frightens me the most about this film: the atmospheric, creepy setting; a remote, island cemetery where tufts of mist sweep across an eerie graveyard, or the weird electronic synth music with shrills and screeches, and human moaning in the background, or the incredible 'revival of the dead scenes' with some of the most effective make-up ever committed to celluloid, or the wild cinematography and lighting, ...
It all works together to create, in my opinion, an impossible-to-forget masterpiece. Reportedly the film cost $70,000 to make in 1972, but it has more scares and is more effective than any recent big-budget horror film that I can remember. I'd give it 6 stars if I could. Watch it tonight alone with the lights out!
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Format: DVD
I'd hesitated in purchasing this DVD because of the 1.5 rating the quality had received, and another review that had bashed its inferior transfer. I finally caved in and spent the bucks--and found it to be EXACTLY like the old VHS version--only letterboxed!--Which is great, and yes, the quality is dark and smudgy at times, but that's ONLY BECAUSE of the original film stock used!! Remember folks, this is/was a low-budget (somewhat independent) horror film, and the original master has suffered some fade, but it's exactly what I remembered it as being when the film was the "Million Dollar Movie" on Channel 9 YEARRRS ago. It's a great addition to my DVD collection, and a great source of some really chilling sequences! For the first hour, it's all talk-talk-talk, but there's atmosphere!--And the dialogue is pure camp--the clothes are SO 1970's--but the last half-hour (when the zombies arrive), the hair really starts to rise. Have fun with it!
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Format: DVD
I saw this at the theater when it first came out. It was great then and it's still great now. I've read reviews complaining about the picture quality on this DVD but I really don't think it can be much better than it is. It was obviously shot cheap and this is what you get. The mood and the atmosphere that this sets up at the very beginning is genius. The film really delivers at the end. In my opinion there were so many great horror movies made in the early seventies and this is one of them.
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Format: DVD Verified Purchase
First a COMPARISON of two of the more recent DVDs. The 2007 release with the cover image of "poor Jane Daly being grabbed by the Winns zombie": Transfer dark, dark, unwatchably dark. The 2010 VCI release, with the "the blue hand on the solid red background" cover, is much better--same special features but a brighter transfer--some compression problems and a little fuzzy, but still the better transfer of the two, IMO. Please choose carefully because there is a BIG difference between these two releases.

Before we get into the review proper, let's give a bit of ackowledgement to the incredibly weird title of this film. What a disturbing, weird title, huh?

Okay, I saw this when I was a kid in the 70's. This is a zombie flick, a serious one. But you have to wait for a while to get to the zombies and then...well, then it gets pretty scary. It was a strange film for a kid to stay up and watch--it begins with about an hour of dialogue and creepy atmosphere, and no zombies. And most of the talky humor was really beyond a tyke's comprehension, so kids tended to sit there for the first sixty minutes or so, scratching their chins, understanding only vaguely that the acting troupe performing satanic rituals on the "burial island" (or whatever it is), is doing something monstrously, horribly WRONG. What they're doing is worse than devil-worship, in a way, actually; they're being generally disrespectful in a kind of place (a cemetery) that demands respect as a first requirement. They're...asking for it.

Why these people are so bizarre is anybody's guess. Why the crazed leader of the theatre group, Alan (Alan Ormsby), has chosen this place and these activities for a night of fun is never explored. These people all simply appear to be warped. And, in the tradition of E.C.
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Format: DVD Verified Purchase
"Children Shouldn't Play With Dead Things" is a campy cult classic. It contains many, many flaws, but it seems to be this bad on purpose. Without a huge budget or an extensive track record, the makers of this cult classic dove right in and made a spectacularly bad, yet at the same time, really excellent movie. Though the story is a composite of successful films of this genre, the script is silly, the dialogue is atrocious, the acting is at times touch-and-go, and the film stock is of questionable quality. But these elements all come together into a viewing experience fans of cheap horror films should really love.

The story's rough outline: Ambitious film director Alan Ormsby (the characters have the same names as the actors portraying them) has plans for his small film troupe. He doesn't respect them, but they are obviously the only actors he has encountered who are willing to tolerate his pompousity and his nastiness. This guy is a real turd, by any definition. If you look in Vincent Bugliosi's book about the Manson case, "Helter Skelter," there are pictures of Manson during his beatnik stage (the part where he's called a "changeling") which look alarmingly like Ormsby in this film. Alan is insulting, cocky, arrogant, pretentious, belittling, and verbally abusive. You could say he's a psychological bully. He takes his actors to some small burial island to perform a mock Satanic ritual, possibly to test the loyalty of these people, to see just how far they will go when he tells them to do something he knows they won't like.

There is a lot of dissention, as they really think this is a bad idea. And they were right. Unintended consequences happen in films of all types; it's a staple of all films, no matter what kind you like.
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