Review: Bob Clark Horror Collection
Blu-ray: Bob Clark Horror Collection
- Children Shouldn’t Play with Dead Things (1972)
- Deathdream (1974)
- Black Christmas (1974)
The latest (number 29) in 101 Films “Black Label” releases, the Bob Clark Horror Collection showcases the directors early horror output before he went on to more widespread acclaim with Porky’s (1981) and A Christmas Story (1983).
I’d only ever watched Children Shouldn’t Play with Dead Things back when it was released for rental on VHS, and my memories of it (while obviously quite faded by now) were not very positive. However, on this rewatch many years later I enjoyed it a hell of a lot more, the corny humour and Z-Grade acting gelling more with my now far more eclectic movie watching tastes.
The narrative is as paper thin as some of the sets and consists of a small theatre group (led by a total dick of a director) travelling to a small island to dig up a corpse to use in an onscreen satanic ritual. Unfortunately for them, the ritual goes far too well and they are suddenly surrounded by the undead masses who have dug themselves up through the earth and are very pissed off about it.
Deathdream (AKA: Dead of Night) was the only one of this set that I hadn’t watched before and I really enjoyed it.
Upon hearing the news that their Son Andy has been killed in Vietnam, the grieving parents refuse to believe that he is dead, when not too long afterwards he suddenly appears on their doorstep looking alive and well…or is he!?
The twists and shocks can be seen far in advance, but this doesn’t spoil an otherwise solid horror flick that has some genuinely creepy moments.
Rounding off the set is Black Christmas, a bona fide horror classic that still holds up well to this day.
Set during Christmas (no surprise there), a group of sorority sisters begin to receive disturbing phone calls where the person on the other end makes violent threats and strange noises…the sound design on this is superb, eliciting goosebumps from me whenever I hear it.
When girls begin to go missing and murders are reported, the phone calls become ever more sinister, with the person who is making them much closer than was first thought.
Peppered with great actors such as John Marley, Olivia Hussey, Margot Kidder and John Saxon, director Bob Clark does a hell of a lot with very limited budgets, creating believable worlds and characters whose fate you genuinely care for…except for the deliberately annoying director in Children Shouldn’t Play with Dead Things of course.
Grouped together in one beautifully looking package and stuffed with special features that’ll keep you glued to the screen for a long time after you’ve finished watching all three films, this is yet another Black Label release from 101 Films that should sit proudly in anyones collection.
Buy it ASAP before this limited edition set sells out.
Children Shouldn’t Play with Dead Things.
• Commentary with Alan Ormsby, Jane Daly and Anya Cronin
• Alan Ormsby Interview
• Memories of Bob Clark
• Confessions of a Grave Digger: Interview with Ken Goch
• Grindhouse Q&A
• Cemetery Mary – Music Video
• Dead Girls Don’t Say No – Music Video
• Photo Gallery
• English Subtitles
• Dreaming of Death: a brand-new feature length documentary on the work of director Bob Clark
• Brand New Audio Commentary with Travis Crawford and Bill Ackerman
• English Subtitles
• Commentary with director Bob Clark
• Commentary with actors John Saxon and Keir Dullea
• Commentary with actor Nick Mancuso
• Film and Furs: Remembering Black Christmas with Art Hindle
• Victims and Virgins: Remembering Black Christmas with Lynne Griffin
• Black Christmas Legacy
• 40th Anniversary reunion panel: Fan Expo Canada 2014
• TV and Radio Spots
• 12 Days of Black Christmas Featurette
• Black Christmas Revisited Featurette
• Midnight Screening Q&A with Bob Clark, John Saxon, and Carl Zittrer
• English Subtitles
Review by Dave from discs kindly supplied by 101 Films.