Let’s have a little fun with those dreaded zombies, you know the gut munching, brain snacking shuffling along classic version, not the rage induce ultra-sprinting fast ones, every fan has their favorites a top 5 or 10 listing, when it comes to the list can be – actually is very tough, mainly most think right away of Night of the Living Dead (1968), Dawn of the Dead (1978), Zombie (1979), Burial Ground (1981), The Beyond (1981) then fast forward to Shaun of the Dead (2004) and Zombieland (2009), the mad battle on this list is frightening. However, one movie of many that often finds itself missing is this classic tale Let Sleeping Corpses Lie from director Jorge Grau (The Legend of Blood Castle [1973]) using a script from Juan Cobos and Miguel Rubio, both who were uncredited and then Sandro Continenza (School of Death [1975]) and Marcello Coscia (Black Sunday [1960]) were the main driving point behind the film. Grau understood that many fans wanted unrelentless gore, he knew the picture’s structure and overall acceptance needed a story that withstood the grisly visuals, conveying grim and dire situations, thus a nasty macabre movie. Often the film is presented under its other well-known title of The Living Dead at Manchester Morgue, it’s merely one of the 15 other alternative titles, contains plenty of atmospheric well-paced zombie delights. In 1981, director Beom-gu Kang created a remake of which he used the same plot and recreated exact scenes from the original movie.

The opening scenes features a strange antique store in London which had counter-culture displays with performance art occurring, but transforms into a pleasant afternoon, until a minor fender bender accident occurs when a sleepy motorist backs into a motorcyclist, that intertwines two lives permanently. George Meaning’s (Ray Lovelock (Autopsy [1975])) bike cannot be fixed for several days, so he insists that Edna Simmonds (Christine Galbo (The House That Screamed [1969])), who caused the accident drive him to his destination, in Manchester, however she needs to go in a different direction to her sister Katie’s (Jeannine Mestre) home, and George ultimately relents, but drives, remember it’s the 70s and the male character often more forceful take-charge and women more submissive to their demands.  Sadly Edna doesn’t know her way that well, George stops to ask for directions from Ministry of Agriculture scientists who were uses radiation and ultra-sonic waves to kill insects in a replacement to poison usage. Meanwhile, Edna’s attacked by a soaking wet man with red eyes, Guthrie Wilson (Fernabndo Hilbeck) barely escaping, soon finds her sister experienced a similar fate, but her husband suffered a brutal death. Ignoring the pending doom police Inspector (Arthur Kennedy (The Sentinel [1977])) suspects foul play George’s long hair and drugs found Kate’s home. As the movie clicks the grim realities set-in, hopeless situations mount especially at night and then in a hospital, but spirals slightly out of control with tack on scene before the ending of the flick.

Face it, most fans of zombie movies, actually watch to see the practical effects and the zombie infestation, though the struggles of humanity assist a film in moving forward, and herein using George’s concern about the environment to show the problems and harm from radiation, all which is countless years before the much of the public has the equal understanding or the rational concerning it. It is rather commonplace for most films of this sort to throw commonplace individuals into the madness of society breakdown, and horrors emerging in both daylight and nighttime. In addition the film suggests the cost of tampering with nature, especially regard of killing insects with are part of the cycle of life, how man must pay for what he reaps so recklessly. Now one needs to note all the dead don’t rise in the same manner, some from a touch of contaminated blood, others by radiation usage, but all of the zombies enjoy stomach guts. Clearly the film contains elements from George A. Romero namely a scene the mirrors Night of the Living Dead with regard to a vagrant zombie attacking Edna and also a key factor of George’s the cynicism of distrust government chemicals to combat nature order, i.e. environmental horror.

Grau, took some interesting positions in his long standing cult classic film, first a cast with believable chemistry and one the was willing to do things that annoyed but all for love of the art, such as Hilbeck’s character died via drowning, and needed to wear water soaked clothing. Then Galbo portrayed as the damsel in distress stereotype with nice vocalization of horrified screams, after all not everyone can deliver quality screaming. Thanks to Francisco Sempere’s cinematography captures the scenic beauty of the landscape and the quiet hum throughout most the film, until the cemetery scene unleashes all true horrors. Gorehounds, definitely feed their habit of carnage candy with many gruesome zombie movies, when hungry for something other than slasher glory, and herein that’s delivered by Giannetto De Rossi (Zombie [1979) and The Beyond [1981]) practical gore effects aided by an eerie score from composer Giuliano Sorgini, which contains Grau making breathing and moaning utterances.

Often a zombie movie jumps fairly quickly into the action, and even starts with the breakdown in society norms already occurring, however this flick allows a slow and steady pacing of character and story development, luring the audience further into the plot before the chaos surrounds everyone. That escalation of tension and fear creeps slowly onto the cast, building thicker atmospheric  and emotional overtones and bonds with the viewers; too. For some modern audiences the movie might tend lag for too long, and violence pushed off but if one allows themselves immersed in the story the violence shall come in a wave of blood splattering feeding frenzy.

TAGLINES:

  • One of the best zombie films ever made.
  • Prepare to be scared! Prepare to be seduced! Prepare to be shocked! More gruesome than ILSA the She Wolf of the SS!
  • Once you’ve seen it, you’ll never stop talking about…[Breakfast at the Manchester Morgue]
  • To avoid fainting keep repeating, it’s only a movie… only a movie… only a movie… only a movie…
  • They tampered with nature – now they must pay the price…
  • Whatever’s out there will wait!
  • Your tearing flesh will scream for death!

https://www.imdb.com/title/tt0071431/

IMDb Rating: 6.8/10

Baron’s Rating: 7.0/10