Director – Peter Wittman (Ellie)
Starring – Yvonne DeCarlo (The Munsters, Cellar Dweller), Stephanie Dunnam (Silent Rage, Silk Stalkings), and David Cullinane (Superboy, Best Friends)
Release Date – 1983
Rating – 3/5
My Mondo Macabro marathon is now behind me. I rapid fired through four Mondo films along with a few others in an attempt to get myself out of the hole I dug myself. After my wife had our third child I found myself not motivated that week. I spent time with my family and skipped writing for the most part but now
I’m back and ready to knock out some reviews…after this week’s Tromatic Thursday. I decided it was time to stop sitting on the Toxie’s Blood Bank box set and start watching some of the movies in it. I started out with Mommy’s Epitaph last week and followed that up with the 1983 film Play Dead starring The Munster’s Yvonne DeCarlo.
**Spoiler Alert**The film follows Hestre (DeCarlo) who recently lost her sister. The pair had become estranged several decades earlier when the love of her life left Hester for her sister. Now she is dead, along with her husband, but their children still live and this pisses Hester off. Now she plans on removing her niece and nephew from this plane of existence with a little help from magic and her dog Greta.**Spoiler Alert**
Honestly, like most Troma films, I had no idea where this film was going to take me. Most Troma films are outrageous with unforgettable characters and more humor than you can laugh at. Play Dead was not one of those films. In fact, it was rather serious with some horror cliché tossed in here and there.
The acting in this one is solid but there was plenty of room for improvement. Most of the cast gives the film their all and it shows. The cast does a decent job at creating genuine characters that you may encounter in your day to day life. Sadly, the same cannot be said about legend Yvonne DeCarlo. Her performance feels forced and a few scenes she is very overdramatic.
The story for this one fits well for the time period. The Satanic Panic was in full swing so we saw hundreds of films play on that but none had Lilly Munster doing black magic to have a dog kill kids. This film is very unique in that aspect. Sure, there was other movies where a dog from hell killed people but this one put a fun spin on it. The writing is smooth for the most part but there was a few dry scenes.
Finally, the film has several on screen deaths but they are very underwhelming and easily forgettable. In fact, the death are so lame that I’ve already forgot most of them. Overall, Play Dead is a fun early 80s flick that may not be memorable but it still entertains. Check it out.