Halloween horrror marathon: Children Shouldn’t Play with Dead Things

poster-children-shouldnt-play-with-dead-thingsShowing yet again that the reading aloud of ancient mystic texts for purposes of anything at all is a terrible idea, we have 1973's Children Shouldn't Play With Dead Things. Its inclusion as part of a DVD 5-pack entitled Vampire Collection speaks to the confusing nature of the film. It has its moments of creeping unease, but you'll be more unsettled by the fact that you're uncertain as to whether or not the titular "dead things" are zombies or vampires. There's feeding, but it could be either drinking or chewing -- it's a dark, dimly-lit little nasty, with dead things that are gruesome. Still: hippies go to a swampy Southern island to shoot a movie, use an old book to provide a little realism in their script, and end up raising the dead from their graves. It's a standard plot, but the post Summer of Love vibe and hint of humor make the deaths all the more shocking. It's essentially a prototype for the better movies director Bob Clark would later do -- you can see elements of Black Christmas and Porky's both in the alternating gang comedy and moody horror.