How can you not like a film with a title like this? No, they just don't make titles the way they used to. Nor do they make movies the way they used to. This one is classic awful. Maybe not "Plan Nine from Outer Space," Ed Wood awful, but pretty bad just the same. Yet it's VW Beetle awful; like, it's so ugly it's cute.
There is a certain endearing charm to a film this bad. Looking much like a home movie, it's camp nonsense of the best, or worst, kind.
From 1972, "Children Shouldn't Play With Dead Things" (also known as "Revenge of the Living Dead") was written and directed by Benjamin (Bob) Clark, who later did the excellent Sherlock Holmes mystery "Murder By Decree," the popular "Porky's" and "Porky's II," the underrated "Black Christmas" (a.k.a. "Silent Night, Evil Night"), and everybody's favorite Holiday treat, "A Christmas Story."
So, it's not like the guy wasn't going someplace. He just got a little sidetracked getting there. Of course, more recently he made "Baby Geniuses," so maybe he's back where he started.
Anyway, "Children" stars Alan Ormsby as a young director who takes his crew to an island cemetery to practice a little witchcraft and do some movie making. Ormsby doesn't so much act his part as he does recite it. Most of the time he seems in the throes of badly parodying John Carradine.
Horror movies can be grim in a lot of different ways. But it turns out, Alan is only fooling with the witchcraft stuff. He's really interested in playing practical jokes. So when they dig up a fresh corpse, it's an actor in disguise. That Alan, he's such a cutup. Little does Alan know, however, that he actually is waking up the dearly departed, and before long it's "The Night of the Living Dead" all over again, with flesh-eating ghouls and zombies everywhere. Say, why do the dead always walk so funny?
The video transfer varies from reasonably recognizable to fuzzy, muddy, and obscure. Most of the time it's almost too dark to make anything out. Then, just when you think a scene is clearing up, it turns mysteriously beclouded again by what looks like Vaseline or a stretch of gauze. The widescreen aspect ratio, approximately 1.69:1, is hardly necessary since there isn't much image to convey.
The mono sound barely rises above the level of its hums, hisses, and other background noises. But since the audio is virtually all midrange, anyway, it does just fine with dialogue. Just remember to turn down the volume before you start the movie; the playback level is quite a bit louder than most other DVDs. To be fair to VCI Home Video and Winner Communications, who did the DVD authoring, the picture and sound are probably as good as the source material. Which isn't saying much.
In addition to the movie, VCI provide a few still photos, biographies of the director and star, scene selections, and a trailer. The movie is shown fully restored and uncut. Don't even think about the alternative.
To sum up: the movie is dreadful; the acting is dreadful; the sets, make-up, and special effects are dreadful; and the picture and sound quality are dreadful. On any absolute scale of movie ratings, it should score pretty low. However, there is no accounting for the amount of fun one can have with it. In other words, connoisseurs will love it. Especially that title.