Saturday, 7 April 2012

Let Sleeping Corpses Lie

Year:  1974
Director:  Jorge Grau
Screenplay:  Jorge Grau
Starring:  Ray Lovelock, Cristina Galbo, Arthur Kennedy
Running Time:  95 minutes
Genre:  Horror, zombie

This film is set in England and begins when an antiques store owner from the city, George (Lovelock), goes to the countryside to work on a new house whith some of his friends.  While refueling, his motorcycle is accidentally damaged when Edna (Galbo) reverses her Mini Cooper into it.  George forces her to give him a lift, but Edna is there to visit her troubled, drug addict sister Katie (Jeannine Mestre) and she manages to convince George to let her visit Katie first.  Having trouble finding the place, they eventually arrive in the dead of night to find Katie in hysterics and her husband, Martin (Jose Lifante), brutally murdered.  Katie claims Martin was killed by a mysterious stranger, but the aggressive police sergeant (Kennedy) doesn't believe her, and also believes that Edna and George were somehow involved.  Meanwhile in the countryside, some scientists are experimenting with a new type of pest control which uses radiation to kill insects and other pests.  However George and Edna begin to suspect that it may have unforeseen side effects, such as reanimating the dead and turning them into violent, flesh eating zombies.  However, they have to convince the hostile locals and sceptical police before it's too late and while there are still some of them left.

Despite being set entirely in Britain, this was an Italian/Spanish co-production and was mostly shot in Italy, with a few scenes shot on location in Britain.  The film deals with some of the ecological and social concerns of the time.  The opening montage shows city streets covered with rotting garbage and the film's lead character wants to escape the pollution in the city for what he believes is the good life in the country.  The situation in the film is triggered by people messing around with the environment.  Also the police sergeant is ferevently against the "permissive society" of which he believes George and Edna to be typical representations.

The film is fairly slow moving in places but there are a number of entertaining set pieces.  The storyline contains little that will be unfamiliar to fans of the zombie movie sub-genre of horror but the film is refreshingly dark and bleak.  The gore and special effects haven't aged particularly well but they are still satisfyingly gruesome.  Also the dubbing isn't as bad as it often is in these types of movies. 

It is available under a number of alternate titles including The Living Dead at the Manchester Morgue and Don't Open the Window.     

Katie (Jeannine Mestre) learns that it is best to just Let Sleeping Corpses Lie

No comments:

Post a Comment