Reviewed by Uncle Creepy
Starring Fernando Hilbeck, Jose Lifante, Raymond Lovelock, Arthur Kennedy, Cristina Galbó
Directed by Jorge Grau
Distributed by Blue Underground
What’s in a title? A lot considering this little 1974 zombie masterpiece has had several over the years ranging from Do Not Speak Ill of the Dead to Don’t Open the Window to Let Sleeping Corpses Lie and even Zombi 3(!). Call it whatever you want, just make sure that you know that The Living Dead at Manchester Morgue could very well be the most little known and underrated zombie film of all time.
It all started in the Seventies when director Jorge Grau was given one hell of an offer — make a movie just like Night of the Living Dead but in color and with an ample budget. Who could resist? Thankfully Grau didn’t.
Machines. They can really fuck stuff up. In an attempt to kill insects and save crops, a small community employs a device that sends out a signal to screw with the local bugs. All is fine, well, and good until that same signal ends up waking the dead. And to think all this time parents around the world said it was loud rock music that would do it. In any event, all this reanimated chicanery ends up causing lots of problems for our two leads, George (Lovelock) and Edna (Galbó). Unfortunately for them, they always see the dead causing havoc when no one else is around. Could this all be in their minds as one character later suggests? NAH! Rest assured there is no lame-ass twist to spoil all the mayhem. We’re in good, blood-soaked hands with Grau at the helm.
As with their other DVD to Blu-ray conversions, Blue Underground has given the film a decent but not above and beyond the call of duty hi-def transfer. It looks better than its DVD cousin but not throughout. Things you’d expect to be popping with detail like landscapes or stained glass come off looking a bit flat and muddled. Thankfully the good far outweighs the bad, and the DTS-HD Master Audio 7.1 remix is nothing to thumb your nose at either.
There’s a host of features to be found here — all of which were on their last DVD — including some great interviews with Lovelock and special effects legend Giannetoo De Rossi. Each interview clocks in at about fifteen minutes, and the affection with which they both remember their time spent on this project is nearly contagious. From there we get a forty-five-minute set revisit that shows how the old morgue (among other things) is holding up all these years later and, finally, a very lively interview with the director from 2000 that comes in just over the twenty-minute mark. Throw in some TV and hilarious radio spots along with an introduction from the director and we are done. Slick, concise, informative, and mostly free of repetition, this set is absolutely packing and a must have for long-time fans and those who are about to discover a true gem.
Packed with carnage, striking imagery, the nastiest, near naked, shaggy-chested ghoul I’ve ever seen (Ah, the Seventies. So many hairs, so few razors), and an insane ending, The Living Dead at Manchester Morgue deserves a spot in your home video library right next to the greats like Romero’s masterpieces. Do yourself a favor — treat yourself. Click the link below and get yourself a copy like yesterday. This flick delivers on all fronts. Really good stuff!
4 out of 5
4 out of 5
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