Children Shouldn't Play with Dead Things

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Children Shouldn't Play With Dead Things
With dead things.jpg
Theatrical release poster
Directed byBob Clark
Produced byBob Clark
Gary Goch
Peter James
Written byBob Clark
Alan Ormsby
StarringAlan Ormsby
Valerie Mamches
Jeff Gillen
Anya Ormsby
Paul Cronin
Jane Daly
Roy Engleman
Robert Philip
Seth Sklarey
Music byCarl Zittrer
CinematographyJack McGowan
Edited byGary Goch
Distributed byGeneni Film Distributors
Release date
Running time
87 minutes
CountryUnited States

Children Shouldn't Play with Dead Things (also known as Revenge of the Living Dead, Things from the Dead, and Zreaks) is a 1972 comedic horror film directed by Bob Clark. It later became a cult classic.[1] This low-budget zombie film is the third film of director Bob Clark, who later became famous for directing the films Black Christmas, A Christmas Story, and Porky's.[2] The film was shot in 14 days on a budget of $50,000. Clark employed some of his college friends on it.


The story focuses on a theatre troupe, led by Alan (Alan Ormsby). He is a mean-spirited director, who travels with the others by boat to a small island that is mainly used as a cemetery for deranged criminals, to have a night of fun and games. Once on the island Alan tells his group, which he refers to as his "children"— numerous stories relating to the island's history and buried inhabitants. He leads them to a cottage where they are supposed to spend the night. He then opens a chest they had brought with them, puts on a mystical robe and says that they are to prepare for the summation at midnight. Alan takes sheer delight in torturing his cast with threats of firing them if they do not do as he pleases which always makes them go along with his plan. At midnight using a grimoire, Alan begins a ritual to raise the dead after digging up the body of a man named Orville Dunworth (Seth Sklarey). Though the original intent of the ritual may have been solely as a joke, Alan appears disappointed that nothing happens.

Afterwards the party continues and Alan goes to extremes to degrade the actors, using the corpse of Orville for his own sick jokes. Then, however, animated by the fell ritual, the dead return to life and force the troupe to take refuge in the old house. Unfortunately for the group, the dead get their revenge, and in the movie's closing credits we see the group of corpses boarding Alan's boat with the lights of Miami in the background.


  • Alan Ormsby as Alan
  • Valerie Mamches as Val
  • Jeff Gillen as Jeff
  • Anya Ormsby as Anya
  • Paul Cronin as Paul
  • Jane Daly as Terry
  • Roy Engleman as Roy
  • Robert Philip as Emerson
  • Bruce Solomon as Winns
  • Alecs Baird as Caretaker
  • Seth Sklarey as Orville Dunworth



Encyclopedia of Horror concludes that given the budget and the number of personnel involved, the special effects by Alan Ormsby are "surprisingly effective".[3]

In his book Zombiemania: 80 Movies to Die For, author Arnold T. Blumberg observed that "the end is ... pretty creepy, with the credits running silently over the strangely surreal shot of the zombies preparing a sailboat for launching," adding that the film conjures "an atmosphere of inevitability and hopelessness. But then again, Ormsby managed that before the first dead body clawed its way out of the ground."[4]

As of July 2019, the film holds a score of 42% on Rotten Tomatoes, based on 12 reviews, with an average rating of 5.2/10.[5]

DVD release[edit]

Although previously available on VHS, a special edition DVD was released in 2007 by VCI Entertainment. It features the uncut version of the film, a photo gallery, and a cast commentary. The same content was briefly made available on VHS through Anchor Bay Entertainment.

Proposed remake[edit]

Director Bob Clark was planning a remake before his death in 2007. In November 2010, Gravesend Film Enterprises confirmed they would produce a remake, set to begin filming in Spring 2011, although this never came to pass.[6]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "Children Shouldn't Play with Dead Things". The New York Times.
  2. ^ "Bob Clark". The New York Times.
  3. ^ Milne, Tom. Willemin, Paul. Hardy, Phil. (Ed.) Encyclopedia of Horror, Octopus Books, 1986. ISBN 0-7064-2771-8 p 272
  4. ^ Blumberg, Arnold (2006). Zombiemania: 80 Movies to Die For. Telos Publishing. p. 90. ISBN 9781845830038.
  5. ^ "Children Shouldn't Play with Dead Things". Rotten Tomatoes. Fandango Media. Retrieved 10 July 2019.
  6. ^ Children Shouldn't Play With Dead Things : UHM - Upcoming Horror Movies Archived November 4, 2016, at the Wayback Machine

External links[edit]