Friday, October 24, 2014
31 Days of Halloween - Day 24 - Movie 2
Led by their abusive director, a group of actors sail to an island containing a graveyard for criminals, in order to perform a ritual meant to raise the dead. Pranks are played, witty barbs exchanged, and to everyone's surprise, the incantation works and the risen dead are not amused.
Your enjoyment of Children Shouldn't Play With Dead Things (1972) will depend a great deal on how you feel about acting groups, because that's what you'll be subjected to for the first hour of this ninety minute movie. For me, that's a completely unenjoyable experience, so the first two thirds of this movie were pretty punishing. Alan Ormsby, who authored one of my very favorite books, and is also a very nice man, co-authored and created the make-up for this movie (as well, as my previous entry, Shock Waves). He also stars as the nasty director, a performance that is effective, but irritating. If you've seen the movie you'll understand why I'm thankful that Ormsby and Paul Bartel never co-starred in a movie together.
Overall, the entire movie has an amateurish, low quality feel to it, which actually works in its favor. It's clear everyone had a good time making this, and really made the best with what they had to work with. What it needed though was a little less of the drama friends hanging out together and making a movie vibe, and on screen dominance, and more of the repercussions of the ritual waking of the dead. The zombies are pretty neat looking in a no tech way that makes them feel a bit real and fantastic at the same time, but once they emerge, there's no real sense of suspense or drama, and it feels like everyone is rushing to get the movie over with.