The Living Dead of Miami
To rehearse a play, the eccentric director Alan and his actors go to a desert island off the coast of Miami. The group reacts astonished when they suddenly find themselves in a cemetery where Alan has further plans. He wants to dig up a corpse and perform a ritual to raise the dead, in which the actors are supposed to assist him. The ritual works and the dead rise from their graves. The group hides in an old house from the approaching zombie horde. A fight for survival begins.
Children Shouldn't Play with Dead Things is Bob Clark's second feature film. Two years later, he would shoot two genre classics with Dead of Night and the proto-slasher Black Christmas. Despite the weird title and strong influence from George A. Romero's Night of the Living Dead, Children Shouldn't Play with Dead Things unfortunately can't quite keep up. The exposition of the film with the arrival on the island and the performance of the ritual was delayed over the first hour. Those who bravely persevere are rewarded in the last third with the raising of the dead from their graves. Although this is filmed in an exciting way, it only compensates for the sluggish rest of the film to a limited extent. Considering the low budget of the film (it is primarily a student film), the blood effects and masks are very convincing.
UK version with shortened plot
An edited version was released on DVD by Anchor Bay in the UK in 2005, with various dialogue scenes removed, especially in the first third of the film. The reason for the cuts or rather the background of this version can only be guessed at, since the old UK VHS was uncut and the film had already been released uncut on DVD in the US by VCI at that time. The Anchor Bay version was dug up again and put on the US Blu-ray by VCI. However, this is probably only a bad SD transfer. Austrian distributor NSM took more effort for the release of the film in Austria and Germany and reconstructed the version based on the new HD master. So if you are interested in the UK version, the NSM Blu-ray is the best choice.
UK version: 79:21 min.
The UK version was compared to the uncut theatrical version.
After the coffin has been closed, further credits are displayed.
US: 34 sec.
Alan can be seen a little longer. Afterwards, we see Paul shouting to him that he can't find the bag for the sail. Alan goes back on the boat and gets the bag from the lower deck. Meanwhile, Paul is talking with the actress Terry about the fact that there is a strange smell here, which is due to the fact that the dead are buried on the island and that Alan wants to dig up a corpse here. Paul and Terry pack the sail while Alan stares at her ass. Alan says that Terry is an aspiring actress and that he has the right to sleep with her. Terry says that he is 10 years too late because she lost her virginity in the Boy Scouts. Alan leaves the ship and says everyone should take their luggage with them.
US: 2:24 min.
The cemetery can be seen longer. Paul wants to know why there is a cemetery right at this place. Alan says that he wants to answer meaningful questions later and starts the tour first. As the group walks across the cemetery, Alan says that this is the poverty area and that the bodies were buried only recently. Terry is amazed that they are now standing on freshly deceased people. Alan walks on and says that he will make the blood freeze in their veins. As they continue walking, Terry says that she hopes the dead will stay underground.
US: 1:20 min.
The group walks around the house longer. The next shot in which Alan shines through the boards starts a little earlier.
US: 5 sec.
Anya gets up after saying that she feels that something will happen tonight. Paul and Terry come downstairs. Terry says to Anya that she better not go into the kitchen because there are rats there. Anya says that she doesn't mind because if you leave the rats alone, they will leave you alone, too. Paul and Terry sit down by the fire and Alan comes down.
US: 30 sec.
After Alan says that midnight is the perfect time for summoning, Paul wants to know who Alan wants to summon. Alan acts mysteriously and says that the theater is not a democracy, but that he sets the tone. If this doesn't suit someone, that person is welcome to quit. No one answers him.
US: 58 sec.
More actors are shown. Alan says that the revolution is already dead. Still, he wants to reveal everything anyway.
US: 18 sec.
Paul says that Alan will pay for the bad joke. Jeffrey says once again that he wet his pants. The undead actor Emerson takes care of his friend's injured nose.
US: 30 sec.
Valerie says that the joke was really masterful. She asks how long it took Alan. Alan bows.
US: 5 sec.
While Roy and Emerson are digging the grave, the camera moves further towards the gravestone. In the next shot, we see the corpse earlier.
US: 10 sec.
The janitor is attacked longer by the zombies. Afterwards, a cut on the remains of Emerson. Finally, you see Zombie Orville earlier as he rises.
US: 10 sec.