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Monday, December 11, 2017

On this day in horror history.... December 11th, 1874

On this day in horror history.... the man who gave us an original take on the 'Frankenstein' type story, Paul Wegener, is born. Although, he made several other films, his best known was 'The Golem: How He Came Into the World'. A silent film, that speaks volumes. It may not rank as highly as 'Nosferatu', in regards to horror films of the time, but it's just as influential. Happy Birthday!

Sunday, December 10, 2017

my thoughts on.... 'Children Shouldn't Play With Dead Things'

As with all of my reviews of films for The Creepercast, I fully recommend that you check each and every one of them out. I am one man and this is my opinion. I've seen plenty of movies that received reviews that were the complete opposite of how I saw the film. These writers, directors, producers and actors all put a lot of time and love into these projects. They deserve to be seen and appreciated for what they are. Everyone has a dream and I fully support the people that take the time to make theirs a reality. With that being said....

Before 'Black Christmas', 'Porky's' or 'A Christmas Story', Bob Clark gave us a zombie film while the sub-genre was still in its infancy.... that film was: 'Children Shouldn't Play With Dead Things'. This movie was made less than a decade after George A. Romero's 'Night of the Living Dead' (1968) and audiences were still just getting their feet wet with the undead. There had been a few films, here and there, but the horror landscape was primarily still filled with Gothic horror and supernatural films. The slasher movie was starting to peak over the horizon and the true zombie renaissance was about three decades away. To say this was a little before its time and a gamble, is not an understatement. Where as the film may not be nearly as good as any of Romero's movies, it still holds a place at the zombie table.

The story begins with a small theater group, converging on an island at the request of their leader. Upon arrival, things are fairly light and playful, but it quickly turns into something much more sinister. The head of the troupe, Alan, begins to slowly lose his grip on reality as he has them perform a Satanic ritual. Most of the other actors go along with things, but a few begin to doubt Alan and a divide is formed. Before anyone can leave the island, the dead begin to rise, trapping them in a small house where they've been hanging out. One by one they're taken by the oncoming horde, as Alan becomes more and more mad with each passing minute. Eventually they realize that they're soon going to be overrun, as lines are drawn and decisions will have to be made.

While my synopsis makes it sound better than it is, don't mistake this for a grand film. There is a lot wrong with 'Children Shouldn't Play with Dead Things'. Primarily, its biggest downfall is the 70's pacing that causes the entire piece to sludge along at a slow shamble. Almost all of the characters are unlikable and you never really care whether they live or die. Alan is the most charismatic of the bunch, but his actions are so assholeish, that you wonder why any of them ever joined the group in the first place. He's constantly holding their salaries over their heads and uses that as leverage to get them to do what he wants. It goes so far, as allowing him to dig up a dead body and parade it around the house, like it's another member of the crew. Even the positive forces among the actors are bland. It's unfortunate, as this has so much going for it. Despite it's tiny budget, the make up effects are quite good. The sets are fairly believable and the costumes are like every bad Sears catalog threw up in the 70's and it all landed on this film. Even with all of that being said, this still is regarded as somewhat of a cult classic, by a lot of horror film enthusiasts.

I give Bob Clark a lot of credit for taking a risk on this one. It was a genre that was still finding it's voice and he took it upon himself, to be a pioneer and make it his own. There are some things to like about this movie, but they're few and far between and in the end, they can't overcome the parts that fail. I've seen this one a few times and actually own the Blu-ray. As a lover of zombie films, it is a must have. It has a great story behind it and in a lot of ways, I feel connected to it on a personal level. It reminds of the time when I was in film school and yearned to make my own zombie film. Sadly, it never came to pass, but this gives me hope that it could have been done and may have even been fairly decent. If you've never seen this one, it's worth your time to check it off of your list. It's a 3 out of 5 star film and one that is an interesting bookmark in the horror history archives. When it was made, it was a different time and you have to give credit where credit is due. If for nothing else, it allowed Bob Clark to continue to sharpen his skills, so his later films would be that much better. Not too mention that without 'Children Shouldn't Play With Dead Things', our favorite reanimated corpses may have not had another stepping stone towards becoming the juggernaut that they are now. Rest in piece Bob and thank you for giving it the old college try.

If you like this one, check out: 'Night of the Living Dead' (1968), 'Carnival of Souls' (1962) and 'White Zombie' (1932)

Friday, December 8, 2017

It's Time for a Terror Time Out Featuring Rob Zombie's 'Halloween' 2007

One picture alone tells a story and a horror film is full of still frames that stand out as works of art. A Terror Time out is when we feature a still from one of those films. Here is this weeks frame of horror fame.

In the Halloween reboot Rob Zombie introduces us to hulking Michael Myers with a penchant for blood and gore. He also provided a previously bits and pieces back story that includes Michael's love creating and wearing his own masks. It is this reviewers opinion that the attempt to humanize Michael took a lot of the evil out of him, but the mask making is definitely a newly developed creep factor.

Monday, December 4, 2017

On this day in horror history.... December 4th, 1954

On this day in horror history.... a legend in our genre, Tony Todd, is born. A towering talent and a towering man, when he's on the screen he commands your attention. Breathing life into The Candyman, he's had a career that has spanned decades. Happy Birthday Mr. Todd!

Sunday, December 3, 2017

On this day in horror history.... December 3rd, 1927

On this day in horror history.... Tod Browning's lost masterpiece, 'London After Midnight', is released. Starring Lon Chaney, this film has sadly been lost to the ages, but many pieces of it still remain. I only wish I could see it myself.

Saturday, December 2, 2017

On this day in horror history.... December 2nd, 1924

On this day in horror history.... the face of 'Dark Shadows', John Herbert Frid, is born. I've never seen the original show, but it has a huge cult following. A horror based soap opera, that still remains in many people's fondest memories.

Friday, December 1, 2017

It's Time for a Terror Time Out Featuring 'Halloween: Resurrection' 2002

One picture alone tells a story and a horror film is full of still frames that stand out as works of art. A Terror Time out is when we feature a still from one of those films. Here is this weeks frame of horror fame.

The most inexplicable edition in the franchise that possibly killed it at least from going forward from here since now all we are doing is going back. I chose this one because among all the ridiculousness in the film, it is this scene that is the most golden.