Everybody remembers those first few movies that ever really got under your skin. At first it was vampires that scared me, and other Universal monsters, but then along came zombies. "Night of the Living Dead" particularly, which properly warped my eight-year-old brain when they broadcast it on television to celebrate the upcoming theatrical premiere of "Dawn of the Dead". Everything about that movie was different, although I was too young to realize it at the time. Previously monsters stalked castles and deserted moors, but in that movie, the most realistic monsters ever--dead people--invaded the real world. The protagonists even watched breaking news about the zombie crisis on TELEVISION, no less! "NOTLD" was a game-changer, but not too long afterwards there was "Children Shouldn't Play With Dead Things", a morbid little piece I caught when it made the rounds on late night television. The two movies are very similar, both featuring a small group of people who are isolated by flesh-eating zombies and beseiged while they try to barricade themselves inside of a house. But aside from that--oh, and I don't know, the fact that there's a freaked out girl who spouts gibberish, total infighting among the survivors, a failed escape attempt that results in cannibalism, and a nihilistic ending that finds everybody dead--they're two TOTALLY different movies.
|Stop smiling. You're about to be eaten alive by rotting corpses.|
Well, you fight with each other and become zombie chow, that's what you do. This is a movie from the early 70s, after all. In case you didn't know, it was directed by Bob Clark, director of "Black Christmas", "Porky's", and yes, "A Christmas Story". "Children", however, is a low budget freak out of the highest order. It doesn't have the apocalyptic implications of "Night of the Living Dead", but it does add a few new features to Romero's blueprint, including a ghoulish color scheme that perfectly captures the look of EC horror comics. It's also one of the earliest post-NOTLD zombie movies I can think of. Let's face it, any movie that shows zombies eating people is an imitation of NOTLD, but "Children" does it really well. It's not quite as graphic--this movie actually is rated PG!--but that doesn't really matter much to me.
|Can you wait? I'm eating my lunch.|