Saturday, October 31, 2015

Children Shouldn't Play With Dead Things

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Children Shouldn't Play With Dead Things (Zombie Graveyard, Things from the Grave) Starring Alan Ormsby Directed By Bob Clark (1972).

Alan Ormsby and his theater buddies as themselves perform a Satanic ritual in a graveyard and pay for their idiotic mischief. I know Ormsby as the guy who used peanut butter in his stage blood recipe and worked with Tom Savini on Death Dream, he wrote and co-directed the brilliant Ed Gein biopic Deranged. I've successfully avoided this film until it showed up in HD quality format on Youtube and god damn it, if I'm not gonna check it out and review it for you faithful readers so those in the minority who haven't seen it yet can decide if it's worth watching this cult item. ((Spoiler Alert)) it's not, don't waste your time, it's a dreadful mind numbing experience--get out while you still can! Ok now that the more sensitive members of my audience are busy crocheting, what a bunch of chickens right? Now the truth about this film can be told, read on to find out.

Are We Not Devo, Nope We are A Shitty Santana cover band

If this movie hadn't involved Bob Clark and Ormsby didn't write one of the coolest Monster make-up books that I bought one year in Kindergarten at a book fair, then I wouldn't have subjected myself to this level of dullness. I thought it was great how in that book they talked about lighting and facial expressions when transforming into Jeckyll and Hyde by using red lights, shadows and Orange and Black Cherry soda as a potion-- it was inspiring. Ormsby was also the mad genius behind Hugo: Man of a Thousand Faces, the Kenner puppet that comes with a million disguises, was featured on the Uncle Floyd Show and allegedly inspired The Love Butcher.

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an exerpt from Ormsby's Monster make-up book. 

This film, which flows at a draining, agonizingly slow pace has some of the cheesiest hippies imaginable to boot. Alan Ormsby with his van dyke beard, wizard cape and stripey pants looks like Gallagher's second cousin. The cast, who all appear as themselves, resemble a less scary version of the Satanic cult from I Drink Your Blood or Last House on Dead End Street for the family friendly neutered set. If you think about those two aforementioned films and the way they manage to deliver so much deep seated terror and creepiness with little to no budget, it's fascinating to me how they accomplish it. CSPWDT tackles similar situations involving evil hippies and it came out at the same time period, so why does it all add up to a lackluster and dull effort, I don't know. Ormsby is no slouch by any means and he wrote one of the best coming of age bully drama's My Bodyguard (1980) and I even enjoyed Popcorn (1991), which he was an uncredited director of. In fact this may be the lowest point of his career, but what's so perplexing to me is how it's so widely known. Another strange coincidence that makes perfect sense now that I think about it is Jeff Gillen the chubby guy with Larry Fine hair played the scary Santa Claus in A Christmas Story. 

I can't believe you tried to blame that fart on the corpse

One stand out seen in Dead Things has two gay positive characters, which was shocking for the offensive 70's when society was still very ignorant and homophobic. One of them wears a zombie mask and pops out of a coffin to scare Jeff the fat guy, causing him to piss his pants! They find a real corpse named Orville (played by Seth Sklarey) and put a hanky on his head to perform a Satanic ritual, sounds like a generic Friday night--am I right? Check out this hilarious interview with Orville the corpse from

Do you mind, I'm trying to masturbate!

Anya, Ormsby's real wife at the time, chickens out (I'm not sure why they'd exhume a corpse anyhow, perhaps they want to go all Nekromantik style on the rotting carcass). Anya hams it up like nobodies business and makes everything tense for this gaggle of artsy types. For a group of hippies there's a serious lack of beer or weed, maybe these are straight edge highbrow dweebs. As dull as this film is, it's still mildly enjoyable and I'll take these flesh eaters over the current trend of sad sack WWZ or "Walking Dull" moronic zombie trends any day. The trailer for this film which I've seen on the Mad Ron's Prevues tape is more exciting than the finished product, I'm sorry to say. The high light of the movie which doesn't really get going almost towards the end is when the corpses finally show up, their make-up is very good and they all have that cruddy Thing Maker style effects that I love.

Remember Kids, Count Chocula Cereal may cause dysentery 

Ormsby handled most of the undead effects along with Lee J. O' Donnell who also worked on Zaat (aka MST3K's Blood Waters of Dr. Z), that flick is so abysmal without Mike and the Bots goofing on it. Dead Things was filmed in Miami Florida which means it was probably sweltering but as someone who grew up in South Fl, you could never really tell on camera. If anything Bob Clark (going by Ben Clark) should get most of the blame since he wrote and directed it, but he's had such a prolific career that I just can't do it. I'm thinking this film is a 70's horror rite of passage, you see it once and that's it--you got it out of the way pat yourself on the back. I just watched Let's Scare Jessica To Death which is infinitely worse than this film and also another super famous cult item. Both Clark and Ormsby would work on better projects later considering this was what they slapped together in college, I gotta give them some credit, but yeah it's pretty lame.

No Don't make me watch it again not enough Beer on the planet!


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