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DVD Review

DVD cover

The Living Dead at the Manchester Morgue


Starring (voice): Cristina Galbó, Ray Lovelock, Arthur Kennedy and Aldo Massasso
Optimum Home Entertainment
RRP: £15.99
Certificate: 18
Available 07 June 2010

Edna is a young woman who inadvertently reverses over George's motorcycle, and is persuaded to give him a lift. They are both from London; he is heading North and she is travelling to a village a few miles outside of Manchester to see her sister. Stopping at a field to ask for directions, they find two agricultural scientists testing a machine designed to disrupt the nervous systems of insects which would otherwise destroy the crops. Edna escapes an impossible attack by a lumbering man who, when described later, turns out has been dead for days. They arrive at the house to learn that the sister's husband has been killed. The same perpetrator is described, but the police arrive and accuse the sister and are equally suspicious of George and Edna. The young couple make some investigations of their own, and discover that the agricultural machine is reviving the recently deceased. However, proving that to the police and the scientists will be a gargantuan task. Meanwhile, there are more dead rising...

The prospect of yet another by-the-numbers zombie flick didn't really inspire me with much confidence. So I sat down to watch this with a mind set that it was an obligatory chore. However, I will give any movie one chance to shine, and I'm pleased to say this one doesn't miss its opportunity. I was initially endeared to the then contemporary 1974 setting, the mini, the motorcycle, and in particular the accent of the male lead, George. If you had your eyes closed you'd swear it was a young Michael Caine (you just yearn for him to say "Stop biting my bloody leg!"). There's a quaintness and quirkiness to the opening few minutes. It doesn't try to do to much too early, allowing you to get to know the two lead characters. Once the sister's husband is killed the direction takes the stance of a private investigation into the mysterious dead man, before reverting back to horror once our heroes visit the churchyard.

Even then the zombies are not overdone. There are only a handful at most, and this helps add extra significance and identity to each individual. The assault on the crypt room in the church is genuinely edge-of-the-seat stuff, confirming there is predetermined balance inherent in the movie. In other words, the director knows what he's doing. The police chief is a somewhat stereotypical 1970s loud Irishman, but the motives for his overzealous actions ring true. There is even a Night of the Living Dead-type ending. So, a pleasant and unexpected surprise. There's life in the old zombie yet.


Ty Power

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