Before He Was Celebrating Christmas, Director Bob Clark
Played with Dead Things
Back before he became a staple of the Christmas season, director Bob Clark (A Christmas Story, Black Christmas) was cutting his teeth in the world of independent genre cinema. One of Clark’s earliest efforts was 1972’s Children Shouldn’t Play with Dead Things. Six theater friends decide to have a little fun by having a mock Satanic ritual. To do so, they head to an isolated island, dig up a rotting corpse, and perform the spooky ceremony. The group’s director is disappointed when the initial ritual fails and continues to push it. Eventually he succeeds in raising the dead and soon realizes it’s not always best to get what you wish for.
Using friends from college and working with a measly budget of $50,000, Clark managed to complete Children Shouldn’t Play with Dead Things over the course of 14 days. The result is an effective zombie flick with one of the eeriest endings the genre has ever seen. Alan Ormsby, who co-wrote the script and starred in the film, deserves a fair share of credit for crafting the film’s creepy special effects. It’s a film that starts out as a dark comedy about college kids screwing around and quickly morphs into a story about hopelessness, a remarkable feat when factoring in Clark and Ormsby’s limitations and scant resources.
VCI Entertainment is set to release Children Shouldn’t Play with Dead Things in a brand-new 4K UHD collector’s edition set just in time for the film’s 50th anniversary. This new release will include an all-new introduction and Q&A with Ormsby, the brand-new feature-length documentary Dreaming of Death: Bob Clark’s Horror Films, and much, much more. VCI will also be releasing the film on standard Blu-ray and DVD. All three editions hit shelves in October, just in time for the Halloween season.