Thursday, October 21, 2010
DR. SHOCK'S HALLOWEENIE MOVIE OF THE DAY: CHILDREN SHOULDN'T PLAY WITH DEAD THINGS (1972). This bizarre little movie I first saw way back in the early 80's on a cheapo VHS tape I probably bought in a bin at K-Mart. And it was worth every penny. This is what my late friend Peg used to call a "lunch time production" but it's extremely low budget doesn't hold back the enthusiasm and imagination of those involved. Made only 4 years after George Romero's NIGHT OF THE LIVING DEAD showed us all how to do it, writer/director Bob Clark gives us a wacky movie with a first half that is pure black comedy and a second half which is scary zombie movie. The truly wacky thing is that the movie works; as schizophrenic as it is. The plot finds a group of "jaded young deviants" belonging to a theatrical group who take a small boat to a burial island in order to summon the devil and raise the dead (which is, frankly, all we ever did in the 70's before there was an internet). The group is led by the outrageous Alan Ormsby (and his pants ALONE should raise the dead!) as the dictatorial head of the theatrical group. Alan has brought along a grimorry (he mispronounces "grimoire") full of spells and digs up a corpse named Orville. Alan being Alan, he decides to brings the corpse back to the abandoned caretaker's house on the island and marry it. Orville the corpse is made to wear a veil as well as being subjected to other indignities. Unfortunately for our jaded deviants, the grimoire spells actually works and the disrespect shown Orville causes all the island's corpses to rise from the dead to conduct some bloodthirsty revenge on the living offenders. The amateur cast actually does quite a good job with the comedy as well as the fear-acting and there's a nicely electronic Gershon Kingsley-like music score by Carl Zittrer. When things start going from jokey to serious and people are being eaten by zombies, it might be startling to remind yourself that the writer/director of this movie is Bob Clark: the director of A CHRISTMAS STORY!!! Sadly, Clark and his son were killed in a car crash in 2007. However, he has left behind a truly Halloweenie horror movie for us all to enjoy these dark October nights.