The Living Dead at the Manchester Morgue -a review
Mr. E Horror - wrote on 08/24/09
A.K.A. Let Sleeping Corpses Lie, this oft overlooked 1972 zombie flick from one off director Jorge Grau is truly one of the greats of the zombie subgenre. Admittedly, trying to capitalize on the popularity of Night of the Living Dead, Grau creates a film with great ambience and a unique perspective on the zombie. Grau, like Romero, offers far-reaching social commentary in his film. One could easily argue that the whole film is about the generation gap. The older generation, blindly sticking to ridiculous rules and societal conformity while the younger generation is worried more with environmental wellfare. The film opens with the protagonist leaving his antiques shop on his Norton motorcycle, leaving the smog-filled London. Exiting shots of pedestrians wearing masks juxtaposed with smoke stacks from the polluting industries. One of the odder elements of the opening shot is a naked, very buxom woman running across a busy street with one of her hands raised in a peace sign. With every jiggly step she takes, it becomes apparent that the subtext of this surprisingly smart film will involve the counterculture zeitgeist.
The film spreads into the rural areas between London and Manchester – it was really filmed in Italy, supposedly to save money – and the horrors of modern culture make their ways into the countryside. I would be remiss if I didn’t restate the beautiful job that Grau does in finding the correct ambience for this film. The subplots, though quite interesting, slowly disintegrate into utter chaos as the problem of zombie invasion overshadows all else. Until the very last, however, the two generations, or at least their representatives in the film, cannot work together even though they face the same grave dangers. One could argue that it is this lack of cohesion that destroys the tiny world enveloped in Grau’s film. Above all, it is a really cool zombie flick. Check it out.