Sunday, March 23, 2008

Resurrection Sunday

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

Aaaah. That's so much better than last night's piece of shit I don't know where to begin.

First, this film takes the time to establish and build the characters before sending them into a zombie nightmare. And there's a slow building up of tension as the film progresses. Characters have believable problems and interactions, and while they may not be the most admirable (in fact, the main character, George, is a bit of a prick at times), you can at least accept that you might run into people like this. You know, if you lived in London back in the very early 70s.

The cinematography is beautiful, and we get very nice shots of the English countryside as our main characters head away from the city and into the isolation that ratchets up the horror a notch or two. There's an ecological message to the film, that is characterized by George and his diatribes against technology. I also liked the conflict between George's beliefs and those of the hard-ass cop, who believes that the country's going into the shitter and what's needed is a "strong hand" to make things better. You know, like in the old days, before all these hippie faggots started spreading their filth.

There is enough art and style in the scene where our heroes are first confronted and trapped by the living dead to block out the memories of last night's piece of shit (the film what will not be named). These creatures are newly dead, and while they lumber along sometimes, they also pounce pretty quickly when they're ready to kill you, tear your guts out, and eat them over your corpse. Your corpse that will then come back to life sometime later and do the same to others, whether a hard-ass old bastard of a cop believes in you or not.

And when the gore starts, it's not overwhelming, but it's definitely disturbing. The guts-ripping is now a standard effect, but it's combined here with shots of the zombies actually pausing to enjoy their meal, munching on organs with vacant stares. It was pretty damn creepy. And when they get to the hospital, later in the film, pity the poor nurse. In what is a disturbingly misogynistic piece of violence, her breast is torn off and consumed, while at the same time, a zombie reaches down her skirt and pulls gory meat out. I can only assume that it grabbed her by the va-jay-jay and yanked everything it could out and up.


Horrifying and with a nicely ironic, if bleak, ending. This is what a good zombie film should be. Even if there's fun to be had (as in Braindead or Shaun of the Dead), there's still a serious quality to the events. That's what make zombie films such existential classics when they really work. The humor and the horror go hand in hand in absurdist glory.

1 comment:

  1. I thought you'd like this one. I had the same reaction when I first saw it. But after your description I realize how much of it I've forgotten. Oh, well. Guess I just have to watch it, again!

    (all hail premutos)