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By Scott Phillips

Children Shouldn't Play With Dead Things (1972)

This flick supposedly has a good-sized cult following, but why is it I can never find anyone who'll admit to liking it? Directed by "Benjamin" (Bob) Clark, who went on to direct Porky's (as well as the classic Christmas Story and the sadly overlooked Murder by Decree), Children tells the tale of a little Floridian acting troupe led by co-scripter and makeup guy Alan Ormsby (in one of the four or five most obnoxious performances in film history). Ormsby takes his flock on a midnight boat ride to a small island, where he attempts to raise the dead by means of a really lame ritual. When it seems his plan has failed, Ormsby and the gang take a disinterred corpse back to an old abandoned house for a night of bickering. Unbeknownst to our band of thespians, the ritual has succeeded--it just needed a little time to kick in. Soon, the dead are crawling outta the ground and before you can say "George Romero," the old house is surrounded by hungry, shambling corpses. Of course, we wade forever through the kind of snappy dialogue that makes me want to throw furniture before we finally get to see the rotting horde on the march. Even still, this flick reeks of the low-budget funk that sends me into delirium, so I can overlook the delay. Ormsby (who later wrote My Bodyguard and Paul Schrader's remake of Cat People) wears an unbelievable pair of striped pants, equalled only by the hideous trousers worn by Jack Nicholson in Rebel Rousers. A Sandra Bullock-lookin' hippie chick freaks out. A fat guy says "I peed my pants" about 8,000 times. The Orms beds down with a corpse for a philosophical discussion. And, man, don't even get me started on how cool the zombies look--all zero-budget cotton-and-Rice-Krispies style. For added thrills, one character is apparently hugged to death by a zombie! I love it, and I'm not afraid to tell the world! (VCI)

Blood Feast (1963)

Emily and I thought it was high time we finally saw the great-grandaddy of all splatter flicks, and unfortunately, Herschell Gordon Lewis' seminal classic left us feeling a bit hollow and unfulfilled. Feast follows the adventures of freakish-looking caterer Fuad Ramses, whose exotic cuisine may be a little too exotic for the laws of man and God to allow. Y'see, when our boy Fuad gets his Devo plastic-hair eyebrows furrowed over a saucy young thing, he tends to hack 'em into chunks and serve 'em up for dinner. His bloodthirsty shopping spree baffles a pair of cops, who are confused by the utter lack of any clues at the crime scenes. "We're just workin' with a homicidal maniac, that's all!" bleats one of the cops, bursting with pent-up frustration. Meanwhile, Fuad's nocturnal onslaught continues, as he smashes the brains from one young lady's head (her girlie-sounding boyfriend only moments before insisting that she "prove her love" to him) and rips the tongue from another beauty's throat, all in glorious color and extreme close-up. When he sets his sights on the girlfriend of one of the cops, however, Fuad makes a fatal error, and soon the heroic detectives are in hot pursuit! As usual, ol' H.G. Lewis availed himself of the least-talented actors available and shows off his directing chops with an able display of "Shot Held Too Long," making Emily and I feel as if we'd been watching the flick for 17 hours, while in actuality the entire running time is only about 65 minutes! While not as cool as The Gore-Gore Girls (Emily's favorite) and not as goofy as 2000 Maniacs (my favorite), Feast still entertains and is certainly an important piece of crap. (Strand/VCI)

--Scott Phillips


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