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The Living Dead At Manchester Morgue (1974)

DVD Cover (Blue Underground Special Edition)
Genres:
Horror, Sci-Fi Horror, Zombie Film
Director:
Jorge Grau Jorge Grau
Starring:
Cristina Galbó Cristina Galbó
Ray Lovelock Ray Lovelock
Arthur Kennedy Arthur Kennedy
Aldo Massasso Aldo Massasso
Giorgio Trestini Giorgio Trestini

6.8 / 10 - Overall Rating

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A cop chases two young people visiting the English countryside, suspecting them of a local murder; unbeknownst to him, the real culprits are the living dead, brought to life with a thirst for human flesh by radiation being used by area farmers as a pesticide alternative. --IMDb
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Review by Tristan
Added: September 16, 2007
All I ask for from an Italian zombie/splatter film is that they deliver with the gore, a little atmosphere, and the occasional laugh. It seems that the more I hunt down the obscure titles, the worse they become. There's a reason why the decent ones are so mainstream...they're pretty much the only ones worth watching. You already know that you're getting into a film with some bad acting and dialogue, and probably a pretty shitty storyline. These movies are built around the ideas for over-the-top death sequences, and then the story is created around those to hit the 90 minute mark. Let Sleeping Corpses Lie isn't as obscure as you all might think. It's actually one of the more popular titles out there, assuming you do your homework and are up to date on the cult classics and must-see horror films of the 70's and 80's. After watching the horrendous Flesh Eater, I decided that I'd better watch a good zombie movie and quick. Otherwise my love for the genre might become as dead as the antagonists in the films I've grown to love so much.

The hero of our film George (Ray Lovelock) is taking a trip from London to...some other place...to meet up with some friends on a house they're working on. Along the way, his motorcycle is ruined when Edna (Cristina Galbo) decides it would be smarter to back up over his bike at the gas pump, rather than just drive away. George convinces her to give him a lift to where he needs to go. Actually, he doesn't convince her really. Just tells her what she's going to do, and even says that he's going to drive. George seems like quite the asshole, and I love the movie already. It seems that Edna was headed more or less in the same direction to visit her ill sister, and she was tired from driving, so it seems everything worked out for the best. Aside from George being out a bike, of course.

After driving for a while, Edna ends up getting them lost. Turns out, she hasn't been this way in years, and only remembers certain landmarks that neither of them have seen. So George decides to stop beside a farm and ask for directions. In the field is an Experimental Section of the Agriculture Department testing out a new machine designed to kill insects and act as a pesticide by emitting ultrasonic sound waves. Unfortunately the side effects include ear aches and raising the dead. A little far fetched, but it's a nice change from the idea of radioactive waste or a voodoo curse bringing corpses back to life.

After one of the walking dead kills Edna's sister's husband, the police start to get suspicious of George and the sister. They take an immediate disliking to George, probably because he has that "big city" air about him, and he's quite a crass fellow. The police also discover that Edna's sister is a heroine addict, so her story about a man attacking her husband doesn't exactly win over the police chief. As the film progresses more and more of the dead come back to life, and more and more people are either murdered or forced to defend themselves.

I really, really liked this movie. It had some very original ideas, and everybody's acting was spot on. There were some great exchanges between George and the police chief (Arthur Kennedy), who was a stereotypical grumpy old man, throwing out accusations at everyone. He was certainly a highlight for the movie, and had me laughing out loud more than once.

I liked the way the film didn't really deliver the goods until the last 40 minutes or so. Most of it was spent building up the characters, so that they weren't one dimensional, and it really built up the anticipation as to what was going to happen once all hell broke loose and the zombies really started running amok. Like I mentioned earlier, this movie is quite popular and well known, and for good reason. It's a nice, refreshing take on the zombie film, and it's managed to still be watchable some 30+ years after it was released. Very few films can actually pull that off, and I'm glad that one of them is an outstanding zombie film. I have found my love for the genre once again.

8/10
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