Director – Jorge Grau
Cast – Ray Lovelock, Christina Galbo, Arthur Kennedy, Aldo Massasso, Giorgio Trestini, Roberto Posse, Jose Lifante
Release Year – 1975
Reviewed by John of the Dead
This is a film I had heard lots of good things about throughout the horror community, and given my love for zombie films I HAD to see this, and I did. This pre-”Dawn” film gives us an interesting UK look into the zombie sub-genre, with an interesting plot and plenty of gore to go with it. Although I did not find this film to be as awesome as I expected it to be, it is still a fun watch and a treat to fans of the zombie sub-genre.
“Let Sleeping Corpses Lie” centers on travelers Edna and George, two strangers who are forced to rice together when Edna crashes into George’s motorbike. Edna and George make their way to her sister’s residence and upon arriving are thrown into a bloody mess. A group of scientists looking to improve agriculture by using radiation to kill pests have caused the living dead at the Manchester Morgue to rise, and bring havoc to this quiet land. The gruesome murders grab the attention of the town’s overzealous police inspector who immediately accuses Edna and George of the crimes due to their modern, “hippie” looks. Believing them to be a band of Satanists, he blindly pursues the two as the zombies pile up the body count. It is up to Edna and George to escape the grasp of the inspector while trying to clear their names and make it out of the town alive.
If you want some sweet zombie action then this film is a film to watch. It takes a little bit of development to get things going, but director Jorge Grau keeps the viewer engaged with his eerie sets and excellent shots of the wide open landscape, showing just how isolated the future events will be. Ever the fan of slow-moving zombies, this flick adds to that by having them moan and groan possibly the best I have ever seen done. It is obvious these Brits like the moaning zombies given “Shaun of the Dead” played off of them quite a bit. The storyline is an interesting one because of all the different elements that are thrown into it. Writers Sandro Continenza and Marcello Coscia did a fine job working the character relationships in this film, which helps with pacing and keeping the viewer’s interest. I enjoyed the fact that both of our leads were strangers, and in fact did not take kindly to one another. The use of “The Inspector” added to the conflict our protagonists were already facing, and the fact that they were singled out and discriminated against was n awesome addition that I have yet to see in any horror film. Ever the countercultural, you can see why this appealed to me. We see the Inspector suffer many boneheaded mistakes(in the end) as a result of being so close-minded as he is, and I loved it.
The direction in this film is well done although I did have personal problems with the typical UK use of camera zoom-ins and zoom-outs. I am simply just not a fan. Aside from that the film paces moderately well and the zombie action is awesome. We get plenty of gore and many other cool scenes thrown in as well. As if this flick could not sound any cooler, we get one of the coolest horror climaxes I have ever seen. If you like the satisfaction of vengeance as I do, prepare to love this film’s climax.
My biggest problem with this flick and the reason it did not get a very high score like I had originally expected to give it was that it got a bit too silly at times. Know you must be thinking “Duh! All zombie films silly just in premise alone!” but this was not that type of silly. A film that aims to have a silly element is fine by me, but a film that does not aim for the silly element yet has silly elements is one that fails in my opinion. Some of the scenes were just too much for me to forgive.
Overall, this is a fun watch that I recommend to all fans of the zombie sub-genre. This is one of the coolest zombie films out there, and gives us a lot more elements than the usual zombie film throws in. Great gore, a cool story, and some sick scenes, what more could you ask for?