Tuesday, December 3, 2013

The Living Dead at Manchester Morgue (1974)

The Living Dead at Manchester MorgueAnchor Bay delivers the best and most anticipated horror DVD of the year. Never released on home video in the US (except in an atrocious edited low-budget EP VHS version called "The Living Dead"), Grau's super-fun 1974 zombie flick finally receives the definitive presentation it has aways deserved! Originally released theatrically in the States in an edited version called "Don't Open the Window", this DVD is the original UNCUT version and instantly makes the old (and once Very Valuable) Japanese laserdisc completely obsolete since that version pixelated the brief nudity. Anchor Bay's DVD is absolutely exceptional.

If you're a zombie film fan or european horror buff, you probably already love this film. If you've never seen it, just go ahead and buy it --you will NOT be disappointed! It's kind of a rip-off of NOTLD, but it has it's own unique twists, it's in glorious color and delivers some very shocking gore moments. Plus, the zombies are quite unique -my favorite is the post-autopsy one who's got his chest stitched closed all the way down his torso. All in all, a very entertaining zombie film...not as ridiculous as the later Fulci films, but also not as grim as Romero's seminal classic. The film is presented here in a practically flawless print at 1.85:1.

Also on the DVD are a short (and amusing) introduction by Grau (who hopes we have a "bad time" watching the film) plus a separate 20-minute interview with him. He goes into detail about how the film came to be, how he picked the cast, and what he thinks of horror film audiences. He comes off as a very cool, intelligent and nice guy. Too bad he left the business after only a few films. Besides that, the DVD features one TV spot (for "Window") which isn't very thrilling, some "Window" radio spots (much better!), plus a photo and poster gallery of the different artwork and posters from the various release versions of the film around the world. Very cool! Buy it Now!!!

If you've watched your Romero and Fulci Zombie films to death and you're wanting something just as good, but different, check this little nasty out. A Spanish film inspired by Night of the Living Dead that came out before Dawn of the Dead started the carnivorous Zombie craze. This is one of the few genuinely creepy Zombie films. Night of the Living Dead and Zombie were the only other two that I found creepy. Dawn and Day of the dead were superior films, but I would never say they were creepy. The story is ambiguous in a true European way, and the cinematography is gorgeous and nightmarish at the same time. Also the Zombies are truly chilling. The gore sequences are well done and the acting is top notch.

Buy The Living Dead at Manchester Morgue (1974) Now

I gotta tell ya, the negative reviews for this movie kinda piss me off. If you've seen this movie at all you've almost gotta be a zombie/euro/indie/whatever horror buff. And if you don't like this at all, but you love, say, 'Zombie' than it looks to me like you've got no interest in genuine horror or atmosphere or anything other than gore and maybe camp. Now, I like gore a lot, and unintentionally campy films, but there's a helluva lot more to the genre than that. And, I don't like it when people take all this stuff as camp, cause I think some of these films are pretty damn good. Though, they make a significant point clear, which is that your pure gore/camp viewer probably isn't going to like this much, even though he likes zombie movies in general. It's got a fair bit of zombie carnage at the end, but it's got an overly long build up, and even once the zombies show up in mass the film is mainly interested in scaring you, rather than grossing you out. And though it isn't actively scary, I think it's sufficiently creepy and creates a certain desolate mood that I really like. Frankly, as far as using zombies for actually horror, rather than gore, purposes, I think 'Let Sleeping Corpses Lie' is the best one I've seen other than NotLD. In fact, it's pretty severely derivative of that film, even beyond more of less lifting the antagonists from it, but I don't much mind. Hell, I'd like to see more zombie movies be influenced by that film. (Which is still the greatest horror movie ever, I think. `Dawn of the Dead' might be better in general, but it isn't nearly as effective as a horror movie, even if it makes up for it in other ways. But, anyway...)

I won't go into the plot too much. Edna and George are unexpectedly thrust together on the British country side... and eventually there are zombies. Zombies to kill, eat etc. The film does take like 50 minutes to get going, and although I was never terribly bored, it definitely goes on longer than necessary. There are some subplots about Edna's sister whose a drug-addict, and is suspected of some of the earlier zombie killings, and how the cops don't like these people cause George has got long hair etc. All of this is just setup for the inevitable zombie sieges, and reiteration of themes from NotLD of how the government isn't reliable in a crisis etc.

Technically speaking, the film is competently done, if not really very flashy. It's got some nice country scenery, and Grau occasionally generates some rather claustrophobic scenes. Some have complained about the acting and dialogue, and while it certainly isn't good from a mainstream perspective, it's more than acceptable as far as low-budget horror goes, so don't let that dissuade you if you're a fan of the genre.

The core of the film are just the really nicely done horror scenes. The final third of the film is fairly tense, with a great invasion of a church they hole up in briefly and the final gory outbreak at the hospital. It's also got a nicely done, long, zombie stalking sequence. Also, the initial encounter with the zombies is quite nice, harking back to NotLD again, as a lone zombie terrorizes a woman near her car out in the country.

Still, the film does have a fair bit of gore, done by Gianetto de Rossi, who would, of course, become very famous in Italian gore films. It's generally fairly run of the mill stuff, lotsa zombies munching guts, but it's quite well done for the time. It's actually some of his more realistic stuff, if primarily because the camera simply doesn't linger on it the way it would in later films he worked on. The famed scene of the nurse getting quite mangled is pretty gruesome, if fairly short.

Yeah, that's it. This is a very good, atmospheric zombie film, and one of the more fitting heirs to the 'Night of the Living Dead' throne.

Grade: B+

Read Best Reviews of The Living Dead at Manchester Morgue (1974) Here

I try to do a lot of research before I purchase a DVD.

I encountered this title on the web on a horror movie buff's top 10 list. I did some reading and found the general consensus is this movie is quite good. So I purchased it from Amazon.

I was not disappointed.

It was very well-done. Tight, cool, good plot, etc. I totally enjoyed it.

Some reviews say the gore is excessive, but it is not really that bad. Night of the Living Dead is a lot more grisly, in my opinion.

Definately a good film.

Want The Living Dead at Manchester Morgue (1974) Discount?

LET SLEEPING CORPSES LIE is easily one of the all time top 5 zombie movies ever made. Along with DAWN OF THE DEAD, ZOMBIE FLESHEATERS, ZOMBIE CREEPING FLESH, and THE BEYOND, JORGE GRAU A.K.A GEORGE ROMERO brings us a film of utter terror and ......The zombies are not your run of the mill shambling pathetic looking corpses, but very intimidating individuals. GUTHRIE, played by MICHAELLE JAQUE BACKEUR has to be the most relentless zombie ever.Unfortunately the film suffers from atrocious dubbing, resulting in every character speaking in a different accent.

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