Wednesday, January 1, 2014

Let Sleeping Corpses Lie AKA The Living Dead at Manchester Morgue (1974)

 Surprise! I actually liked this better than George A. Romero's 1968 defining classic "Night of the Living Dead." Granted, "...Living Dead" came first, and they're both important horror films in their own right, but "Let Sleeping Corpses Lie" was more exciting and entertaining, and less about bad actors like Karl Hardman (no hate towards Duane Jones though) arguing in a fortified house with the groaning of the undead in the background.

   So, "Let Sleeping Corpses Lie," (also known as "The Living Dead at Manchester Morgue," "Don't Open the Window," and by countless other titles) stars Ray Lovelock as George, a ill-tempered artsy-craftsy type who goes on a trip to meet some friends at his new house. He never gets there, though, as his motorcycle gets run over at a filling station by Edna (Cristina Galbó.)

   George somewhat imposes himself on Edna and demands she drive him the rest of the way there, but Edna wants to visit her drug-addicted sister (Jeannine Mestre) and photographer brother-in-law (José Lifante.) Their quibbles are interrupted by a viral outbreak that turns it's victims into- you guessed it- flesh-eating zombies.

   The cause of the virus is pesticides, and although the premise hints at environmental themes, you are never hit over the head with these messages. Similarly, the paranoid Inspector (Arthur Kennedy) accuses George of being a hippie Satanist and seems to be intent on disbelieving everything George says. So maybe the movie is making a comment on battle of Conservative Vs. Liberal values? Or just plain old prejudice, when it rears it's ugly head.

   There are some parallels between this and "Night of the Living Dead," including a similar intestine-eating scene and pessimistic ending. The development of George from a griping nitwit to fighter against the undead may surprise you, but it's well-done for this kind of movie.

   The best moment is the scene when they're trapped in the mortuary and the COFFINS START OPENING! I loved the zombies' eyes- finally something different with the genre. I think the movie might have been better with a little bit more dark humor, a 'la "Shaun of the Dead" (best. zombie. movie. ever.) The acting was good-ish, a little flat overall, but the movie as a whole was very a entertaining one that I would recommend to any horror lover.


  1. Hi Sarah! I've never seen any of George A. Romero's movies, but then again I'm not generally fond of zombie movies unless it's a goofy comedy like 'Shaun' or even 'Warm Bodies.' Hence I'm not exactly interested in this one, ahah.

  2. I enjoyed this review, Sarah, and will check this out when I get the chance. I'm not a big Zombie guy, but I'm still curious. The premise seems the right kind of ridiculous.


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