The Living Dead at Manchester Morgue (1974) (Blu-ray Review)

The Living Dead at Manchester Morgue (1974) (Blu-ray Review)

📅21 May 2012, 15:31

The Living Dead at Manchester Morgue (1974)
Directed By: Jorge Grau
Where to get it: TLA CULT

The Prologue
1974’s The Living Dead at Manchester Morgue, or as it’s most commonly know as, Let Sleeping Corpses Lie, is a film by many names. I own another copy of it that also comes from Blue Underground that is called Let Sleeping Corpses Lie, but oddly enough when they put it out again on Blu-ray or DVD they went with the Manchester Morgue name. I’m not really complaining because the movie is what it is regardless of the title. I will say this, it’s got some nice features and it looks really good in it’s HD form. So for some this simply makes an already good film even better.

The Movie
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. So let’s all give it a hand for actually giving us a solid idea as to why the dead are coming back! Also, going by the red eyes these zombies have, and the ones that people get when they are infected by a zombie, I’d bet this film was a major influence on more recent films such as 28 Days Later.

Now one thing to take into account while you watch this film in it’s opening moments is to just sit back and relax. Try not to get too distracted by our streaking hippie lady running across the street, and rest a sure that this is all leading someone even if it’s a little slow during the first half hour or so. It’s during this time that we are introduced to our pals George and Edna, who are brought together by chance..or perhaps just pure bad luck. We join them as they try to find her sister, and along the way we find that there’s some nasty radiation going on, the town bum may be a zombie after drowning, and when people die nobody will believe that our leads are innocent due to our bullheaded S.O.B. of an authority figure hot on their trail.

As a matter of fact, it’s during this time where we see little zombie action. Our leads get keen to what is up and of course nobody believes them. They put together just what is going down in this town, and it’s not very bloody or action packed but its oddly enough very interesting. It is however around our 50 minute mark when things get really interesting and things even begin to get a little gory. I’m also pleased to announce that things continue to remain good and bloody for the remainder of our film. It becomes a cat and mouse game with George and the cops, and it just keeps getting more and more tense until the very end as we also continue to toss more gore and zombies into the mix. It really is delightful, it’s different as well from normal zombie films, but it’s highly amusing.

Now of course the ending is full of all sorts of win (can we use “win” as a term to describe something now?), and it’s both rather morbid and even rewarding at the very very end. While things could perhaps have been a tad more upbeat, or maybe even a tad more sinister, I felt like it’s a film that feels really complete when it wraps. You know, usually you have films that you just guess are purely running towards another sequel. But here it’s an odd finish due to the fact that while there is stuff there for a possible sequel, it actually feels complete regardless. So to sum everything up, it’s not a Dawn of the Dead and it also falls short of a Zombie or Return of the Living Dead. But this film (use whatever title you want to use for it), is far better than most the zombie films you will find out there from any period you want to look at.

The Conclusion
So if you are looking for a smart and well written zombie flick, this is a very good choice! Coming out the 70’s even makes it that much more impressive. Not that the 70’s were at all a bad portion in time for horror, but they tend to drag. And while this starts slow, I wouldn’t at all call it a drag. I’d for sure check it out if I were you. And the transfer is about as good as I’ve seen from Blue Underground.

The Rating (7.5/10)       

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