Combustible Celluloid
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With: Alan Ormsby, Valerie Mamches, Jeff Gillen, Anya Ormsby, Paul Cronin, Jane Daly, Roy Engleman, Robert Philip, Bruce Solomon, Alecs Baird, Seth Sklarey
Written by: Bob Clark, Alan Ormsby
Directed by: Bob Clark
MPAA Rating: PG
Running Time: 87
Date: 02/28/1973

Children Shouldn't Play with Dead Things (1972)

3 Stars (out of 4)

Grave Danger

By Jeffrey M. Anderson

Before director Bob Clark scored with his horror masterpiece Black Christmas (1974), he warmed up with this lower-budget effort. A group of theater performers arrive on an island cemetery to perform supernatural rituals on the dead -- perhaps for fun and perhaps not. Eventually real zombies rise and attack. The characters are the film's biggest problem; they talk and bicker a lot, and none of them are very appealing. The worst is the conceited troupe leader, played by Alan Ormsby, who also co-wrote the script with Clark. But Clark's accomplished direction already contains intriguing elements of space and distance, darkness and timing, which he would later refine. On a technical level, at least, it's great fun. Clark is credited as "Benjamin Clark."

DVD Details: Clark suddenly passed away this past spring, and so VCI Entertainment distributed their new 2007 DVD full of many tributes and remembrances. Other extras include bios, photo galleries, music videos, and trailers for this and other "grindhouse" era films like Don't Go in the House and Don't Answer the Phone. In 2010, VCI re-issued the disc, but I'm not sure it comes with anything new or different.

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