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Ghastly ReflectionsChildren Shouldn't Play With Dead Things
POSTED BY TERENCE NUZUM, October 6, 2014    Share

Halloween season brings many fun traditions from pumpkin carving,costume making, parties to candy apples but one of my favorite traditions is watching as many horror movies as I can. Part of this for me every year is making a list of films for the month. Every year I do this I find that a lot of the same films pop up again every year. Dracula 1931, Halloween III, Night of the Living Dead, the list goes on. Sometimes Ill filter them out based on priorities but one film that never gets filtered out is Bob Clarke's Children Shouldn't Play With Dead Things. Ever since I saw it one night at my friend Andrews I was hooked by its low budget, locations, and great atmosphere. There is just something about 1970's low budget films that works for me on every level.

Bob Clarke is no stranger to horror having directed the stellar Black Christmas and equally effective Deathdream. But here is his first stab at the genre. Teaming up with Alan Ormsby who would also go on to be famous for directing Deranged,Popcorn, writing Deathdream and Cat People, as well as doing the makeup for Shock Waves, Clarke succeeds right out of the gate. The film tells the tale of a theater troupe who agrees to perform a seance on an island graveyard but things get out of hand when their malicious director desecrates a corpse . While its slow going for the beginning of the film you have to love the early 70s feel of it. It almost in dress, style and film stock reeks of a late 60's era film. The acting is of course pretty bad. Clarke used some college buddies and it shows. Ormsby himself plays the hateful theater director with gusto but is way too hammy to consider a career in acting. Tension and atmosphere is what made me fall in love with this film. There is a lot of character building and talking in the first half of the film. But it is all ok because you breathe in the location and nighttime atmosphere to the point where you feel like you are on the island. By the time the zombies pour out of their graves you are enthralled and thoroughly involved. Clarke's take on zombies is unique because they don't run but they are always around the corner and they are fast! It might be the first example of a fast and vicious zombie horde. It isn't clear whether Ormsby did the makeup himself or not but it isn't the best. But to me it is charming as it has the feel of a local haunted house from the early 70's type makeup. It might be this very reason why I love watching this movie on Halloween as it reminds me of putting on homemade makeup and costumes. Of course it is far more effective than that but it still evokes this mood for me. Also the location of a graveyard on an island reminds me of my own backyard of Florida where this was also shot.

One of my all time favorite horror films and in my top 5 greatest zombie movies ever made just for the sheer originality of the premise. If you love low budget and effective horror from the 70's era this one is not to be missed for zombie fans. While it isn't as polished as Black Christmas or Deathdream it has enough of a good plot and gut munching to appease the gorehound, and for the patient horror fan who can get into a mood, and not expect early on nonstop action, it can be a undiscovered gem.

"Ghastly Reflections" is ©2014 by Terence Nuzum. All contents of Crazed Fanboy are ©2014 by Nolan B. Canova and Terence Nuzum.

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