The Living Dead At The Manchester Morgue

The Living Dead at the Manchester Morgue

Director: Jorge Grau

Year: 1974

Tagline: Let sleeping corpses lie

 


A chance meeting throws together our protagonists George and Edna, both travelling to the Lake District but for different reasons, after getting lost on the way they stop off by a farm where George goes to ask for directions but discovers that the Ministry of Agriculture are testing a new ultrasonic radiation pest control system, which turns out may have some undesirable side effects. This is supported with a slight side plot of a drug addicted sister and the antics of a bigoted cop.

Zombie Quality: ***

These zombies are all the recently deceased so no putrid, decaying pusbuckets here, rather all the zombies have an almost normal skin tone, save for a bit of grey here and there and what ever injuries they had when they died, although they all have red, almost bloodshot eyes. This look suits the movie (and the notion of the recently deceased) and doesn’t over play things, however it is at the same time underwhelming and so I can’t score it too high as not much was done.

Zombie Behaviour: ***

Almost identical to the zombies set out by Romero in NOTLD, these zombies are slow, crave flesh, are scared and can be killed by fire as well as being able to use tools in some basic form, with the zombie tramp Guthrie at times being reminiscent of the graveyard ghoul in said film. However, these zombies start to differ there, they favour strangulation for some reason preferring this method over all others for some reason and cannot be photographed although this is never explained and aiming for the head will do little to stop these ghouls, you gotta burn them as some might say. Finally, in order to reproduce shall we say, in one scene a zombie places some blood on the eyelids of other corpses which reanimate them but for all other zombies the main plot device (watch it to find out) brings them back, very confusing and as a result I can only give them three stars as who knows what else they can do.

Zombie Threat: ****

This is a tricky one, despite they’re seemingly loud raspy breathing and slow movement these zombies seem to walk around almost invisible to their victims until they are stood right next to each other, and throughout the movie it becomes apparent they only cause as much trouble as they do due to the incompetence of all those with the power to do something. Although, in this isolated region they can avoid detection until it’s too late, and they do it is the real cause that is still at large and if it goes national then god help us all and it’s for this reason that I have given the threat quite a high score, coupled with the fact that these zombies can seek revenge means if you piss off someone who recently died….be alert!

Gore Content: ***

This movie, while not going overboard with the gore and on-screen violence certainly has enough to keep you entertained once it gets going, ignoring the obviously faked zombies set on fire, there is enough to satisfy us with highlights including entrails being ripped out and a lady’s breast torn off along with the classic separated body part gag.

Overall Rating: ****

In my mind, this is a classic of our beloved genre mixing social commentary along with zombies and gore, for this reason it needs to be seen by all zombie fans. It may have some glaring plot holes but it more than makes up for it with the dialogue, especially coming from the bigoted cop, some enjoyable gore and, rare for a zombie film, a good solid plot.

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