ZERO STARS/**** Image D Sound C-
starring Tom Savini, Martin Schiff, Damien Luvara, Jamie McCoy
screenplay by Karen Lee Wolf
directed by Tor A. Ramsey
by Walter Chaw With the appearance of having been shot over a long weekend in someone's backyard, Children of the Living Dead is a cynical attempt to cash in on George Romero's zombie trilogy (and The Blair Witch Project) so stale and amateurish that it qualifies as a barely-releasable embarrassment to everyone involved, including gore-legend Tom Savini, who seems to have hit rock bottom in his extended cameo. The film starts just outside of the old house from Romero's seminal Night of the Living Dead, with rednecks potting zombies in a field--a scene already familiar to fans of Dawn of the Dead, but robbed of all pathos and dread--and continues on through a series of disconnected vignettes that neglect genre imperatives like gore, nudity, and fear plus narrative film prerequisites like story, acting, directing, and script. Children of the Living Dead doesn't even offer any puerile thrills.