I recently decided that it is about time I initiate the other-half into the wonders of zombie cinema, and have been debating the best film to use for such a momentous occasion. I wanted to avoid any of the big Romero films as I thought it best to show that there are plenty of enjoyable gems that she probably hasn’t heard of. Now, the choice of movie could have taken 2 paths : a trashy zombie exploitation-fest featuring plenty of gratuitous gore and nudity – low on plot and acting skills but high on enjoyment, or a more serious film with tension, scares, classic zombies and a bit of the old ‘social commentary’. I decided to go with the serious film as I don’t really want to confirm all the suspicions she has of me just yet, and I wanted to show that there are genuine good films in my collection. Decision made, I settled on The Living Dead at Manchester Morgue.
Set in England somewhere in grim ‘Up North’, TLDATMM starts off strangely, with an unexplained naked woman running across a busy city road in slow motion and a hippy dude on a motorbike riding out into the hills to sell some demon-like statues. This chap pulls into a petrol station to fill up, but sadly some dippy woman reverses her car over his bike and he is forced to hop in with her and take over the driving duties, leaving his bike behind. It is a strange setup to get these 2 random people together, but not as strange as his accent – sounding like a Northern version of Michael Caine. Indeed, all the dubbed over accents in this movie are awesome. Almost every British dialect is present and correct in glorious over-the-top fashion.
This accidental couple arrive at a farmhouse and are immediately embroiled in a murder inquiry – this murder being the first zombie attack of the film. Obviously the police don’t believe that this was a dead guy returned to life to murder random strangers, so the blame is dumped on this couple, and they take it upon themselves to find out if it really is the dead coming back to life.
Pah! Of course it’s Zombies! Some dribbly tramp zombie is bringing the dead back to life by smearing blood on them, and they all then roam about making groaning noises and chomping on human guts, all the while the hippy and the ginger bird try to avoid them. Sadly, everywhere they go the Zombies seem to pop up (even if there are only half a dozen of them), but naturally the police never set eyes on the undead so continue to chase after the couple until the final showdown at the hospital where much slaughter, burning and breast munching occurs.
It’s a bit of a slow burner to start with, but when it gets going it’s classic stuff. Atmospheric and creepy with some great music and some fantastic set pieces – particularly the graveyard siege – it’s fully deserving of it’s classic status.
It’s just a pity my old lady didn’t enjoy it. “..but they’re so slow, just run past them!” Honestly, it’s going to take some convincing to get her on board.
Gore Score C
Norks Score C
Originality Score C
Overall Score B+