Children Shouldn’t Play with Dead Things, directed by Bob Clark and released in 1972, is a film that has always been shrouded in controversy. The film tells the story of a group of young actors who travel to a deserted island to perform a satanic ritual that will raise the dead. The film’s title itself is provocative, playing on societal norms and the taboo of death in a way that would make any horror fan sit up and take notice.
Something something not quite about Vietnam
One of the most striking aspects of Children Shouldn’t Play with Dead Things is its contribution to the horror genre of the 1970s. In this era, horror films were becoming increasingly visceral and graphic, as filmmakers pushed the boundaries of what was considered acceptable on screen. Children Shouldn’t Play with Dead Things takes this to the extreme, featuring scenes of decaying corpses, blood, and gore that would make even the most hardened horror fan squirm in their seat.
But what really sets Children Shouldn’t Play with Dead Things apart from other horror films of the era is its subversion of traditional horror tropes. The film is less concerned with jump scares and cheap thrills and more focused on creating an atmosphere of dread and unease. This is achieved through the use of slow pacing, long takes, and a sense of foreboding that permeates every frame.
Alan Ormsby deserves more respect from the horror community
In addition to its contribution to the horror genre of the 1970s, Children Shouldn’t Play with Dead Things also has a controversial writing style that has both attracted and repelled audiences. The film’s script, written by Alan Ormsby, is unconventional and daring, eschewing traditional storytelling methods in favor of a more experimental approach.
One of the ways in which the film’s writing style is controversial is in its use of humor. Children Shouldn’t Play with Dead Things is a film that is, at times, genuinely funny, with moments of dark comedy that punctuate the film’s more disturbing scenes. This has divided audiences, with some horror fans feeling that the film undermines its own horror elements by injecting humor into the mix.
However, others argue that the film’s humor is precisely what makes it so effective. By juxtaposing moments of levity with scenes of horror and gore, Children Shouldn’t Play with Dead Things creates a sense of unease that is both unsettling and memorable. The film’s script is also notable for its use of dialogue, which is naturalistic and free-flowing, giving the film a sense of spontaneity that is rare in the horror genre.
Children Shouldn’t Play with Dead Things is a character study
Another controversial aspect of the film’s writing style is its use of character development. Children Shouldn’t Play with Dead Things is a film that is more concerned with its characters than with its plot, and as such, the film takes its time developing each character’s personality and motivations. This can be frustrating for some viewers who are looking for a more straightforward horror film, but it is also what makes Children Shouldn’t Play with Dead Things such a rewarding and memorable experience.
In conclusion, Children Shouldn’t Play with Dead Things is a film that has contributed greatly to the horror genre of the 1970s. Its graphic depiction of violence and death, as well as its subversion of traditional horror tropes, makes it a standout film of its era. However, what truly sets the film apart is its controversial writing style, which has both attracted and repelled audiences, including 1970s horror movie fans and film study academics.
The film’s use of humor, naturalistic dialogue, and character development all add to its unique atmosphere and contribute to its effectiveness as a horror film. While some may find the film’s humor distracting or off-putting, others argue that it is precisely what makes the film so memorable and effective. The film’s unconventional approach to storytelling may not be for everyone, but it is a bold and daring film that deserves recognition for its contributions to the horror genre.
It’s funny, I promise!
One of the most notable aspects of the film’s writing is its use of humor. While horror and humor may seem like an odd combination, the film manages to balance these two elements in a way that is both effective and memorable. The film’s dark humor not only serves to undercut the horror elements of the film, but it also helps to establish a sense of camaraderie among the characters.
For example, in one scene, the characters are gathered around a fire, joking and teasing each other. This scene not only adds levity to the film, but it also serves to make the characters feel more human and relatable. This, in turn, makes the horror elements of the film more impactful, as the audience has become invested in the characters and their fates.
The film’s naturalistic dialogue is another aspect of its writing style that is worth discussing. Unlike many horror films of the era, which relied heavily on exposition and clunky dialogue, Children Shouldn’t Play with Dead Things features dialogue that is realistic and free-flowing. This gives the film a sense of spontaneity and helps to establish a naturalistic tone that is rare in the horror genre.
Some final thoughts
The film’s character development is also noteworthy. Rather than focusing solely on its plot, Children Shouldn’t Play with Dead Things takes the time to develop each of its characters, giving them unique personalities and motivations. This not only makes the characters more interesting to watch, but it also serves to deepen the film’s sense of dread and unease. As the characters begin to unravel, the audience is left to wonder who will survive and who will fall victim to the film’s horrors.
Despite its many strengths, Children Shouldn’t Play with Dead Things is not without its flaws. The film’s pacing can be slow at times, which may be frustrating for viewers who are looking for a more action-packed horror film. Additionally, some of the film’s more graphic scenes may be too much for more sensitive viewers.
Children Shouldn’t Play with Dead Things looks amazing in 4K UHD
Children Shouldn’t Play with Dead Things celebrates its 4K UHD debut and 50th Anniversary Edition with VCI. While even the 2160p transfer on the 4K disc looks darker than a mine shaft in half of the scenes, when we get to better lighting and interiors, the quality picks up.
The LPCM 2.0 mono track is clear enough for a film of its age. I’m looking forward to seeing what Blue Underground does with Deathdream on 4K. All of the early Bob Clark out of Canada deserves the best possible presentation even if the man seemed to only shoot in the middle of the night.
The Children Shouldn’t Play with Dead Things special features are pretty immense. You get a 90 minute video documentary, a new fan video from Alan Ormsby and one hell of a commentary track. The interviews and tributes are amazing. Hell, I wasn’t counting on all of the music and tribute videos to be included. It’s totally a stellar disc even if the A/V Quality isn’t reference grade.