“Get out of the grave, Alan.
Get out of the grave and let an artist show you how to call a curse down on Satan!”
Children Shouldn’t Play With Dead Things aka Revenge of the Living Dead, Things from the Dead, Cemetery of the Dead, Zombie Graveyard and Zreaks is a 1972 dark horror centred around a theatre group led by Alan that travel to an island which is used to bury deranged criminals.
From the start you can see the high importance that Alan holds himself in and the way he looks down on everyone else.
As much as he takes delight in tormenting everyone they do give as good as they get and this makes for some humorous tit for tat, however, soon they start to have had enough with his games and demand to know why they are there.
The arrogant, stuck up, narcissist Alan has led them there to dig up a dead body in order to plead with Satan to raise the dead.
More for shits and giggles it seems but he does hold a thick spell-book as well as garlic and that is enough in movie-world logic.
They dig up a body and he performs the ritual which it seems has failed, no spoilers there as you knew it is going to work or they would be no film.
Mocked for the apparent failure he takes the corpse back with him and proceeds to use it to further torment the group going as far as to bully one of them into apologising to the cadaver so she can keep her job.
This upsets Anya who is more sensitive to the supernatural world even if just because she thinks she is which causes everyone to finally stand up properly to Alan.
Just as the undead attack and then the film turns into an effective Night of the Living Dead (1968) trapped in a house by zombies finale.
A low budget film back in a time when low budget could add to the atmosphere instead of taking away from it. This is one that can give the wrong impression of being a more like a stoner comedy at the start.
Zreaks does spend a lot of its time focusing on the pretentious Alan and the rest like a lot of horror films from the 80’s and today do with teenagers only given the increasingly cruel antics at play I found myself enjoying this part of the film especially as the script is quite sharp and witty in places however when the zombies arrive is when this film comes alive…
so to speak.
The zombies makeup do look good especially considering the budget so with the overly dark outside scenes that you get with 70s films then combined with the loud, distorted noises that take the place of music creates just the right mood for what is happening.
The birthing scene for the zombies as I’ll call it is very Fulci like thinking of Zombie Flesh Eaters (1979) though this film predates fulci by a few years and the ending also has shades of that too.
If you like zombie films then you should like this. A largely forgotten gem that is of its time and what a time for horror.