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Zombies of Mora Tau (1957)

Approved | | Action, Adventure, Fantasy | March 1957 (USA)
Zombie-like, dead crewmen of a sunken ship have always prevented salvagers from claiming the wreck's legendary box of diamonds, but will a new group of treasure hunters succeed?



(story) (as George Plympton), (screenplay)

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Cast overview:
Jeff Clark
Mona Harrison
Autumn Russell ...
Jan Peters
Joel Ashley ...
George Harrison
Dr. Jonathan Eggert
Grandmother Peters
Gene Roth ...
Leonard P. Geer ...
Johnny (as Leonard Geer)
Karl 'Killer' Davis ...
Zombie (as Karl Davis)
William Baskin ...
Mel Curtis ...
Johnson - Crewman in Launch
Capt. Peters (uncredited)


Zombiefied sailors guard the treasure of a ship they went down with 60 years earlier. A group of sailors scoff at the legend, and decide to retrieve the diamonds from the ocean floor only to discover the hard way that there is some truth to legends. Written by Humberto Amador

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis


ZOMBIES OF THE OCEAN DEEPS ! (original poster - all caps) See more »


Approved | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:





Release Date:

March 1957 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

El fantasma de Mora-Tau  »

Company Credits

Production Co:

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:

(RCA Sound Recording)

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
See  »

Did You Know?


The complete prologue reads: 'In the darkness of an ancient world - on a shore that time has forgotten - there is a twilight zone between life and death. Here dwell those nameless creatures who are condemned to prowl the land eternally - the Walking Dead.' See more »


Throughout the film Jan and the other characters, including Grandmother Peters, repeatedly refer to Mrs. Peters as Jan's grandmother and Jan as her granddaughter; but when Grandmother Peters greets the members of the expedition upon their arrival by boat, she introduces Jan as her "great-granddaughter". See more »


Sam, the chauffeur: [after hitting a particularly deep pothole] Sorry, Miss Jan.
Jan Peters: Sam, I think by now you'd know every hole in this road.
Sam, the chauffeur: I know all the holes, Miss Jan, but on this road there's no place to go but in them.
See more »


Referenced in Zombie (1979) See more »

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User Reviews

The innocence of youth fumbles towards the dark abyss of adulthood.
10 September 2003 | by (Toronto, Canada) – See all my reviews

I react to movies the same way people react to music. In other words, when people hear an old song on the radio it takes them back to a time and place when they first heard the music, or its sounds evoke some private memories based on its atmosphere or tone. When I think of a film, above and beyond recalling the emotions it gave me, I also think of what was going on in my life at the moment of that screening. And if you've actively sought a title like this on this site, perhaps you do too.

ZOMBIES OF MORA TAU is certainly a juvenile, sometimes cardboard, horror movie, not least because zombie monsters were pretty juvenile after Victor Halperin and before George Romero. However this effort was made to please the juvenile within someone of any age. Why this film affects me is that I happened to watch it during the time in which I was preparing to leave my home town (and simply, my home) to go to school in the city. This was on a Thursday night just before the last true weekend of my youth, in which I was severing some ties while still grasping onto others. What I often did in this not-endless summer when I had the house to myself was take the VCR upstairs and hook it up to my little black-and-white TV in my bedroom-- having my own space, yet still being dependent on a bigger unit to do it. During this time I had an obsession with 1950's science fiction or horror movies, big or small, good or bad, simply because they took me to a comfortable inner landscape which these films idealized. The world still felt safe and unthreatening, and my youth still felt innocent before seeing "the real world" which existed outside my mind or my own little world. Perhaps subconsciously, this too explains why I have felt the need to re-visit these films again over the past few years. Only now, these innocent movies emerge as places in which I attempt to retrieve that last youth.

Now this behaviour may sound naive, but let's face it, so are a lot of these films that we escape to. Whether they're good or bad, big or small, these genre efforts of a bygone era can be now viewed as moving testaments to a safe place that we want back, yet nonetheless acknowledge we cannot have. It may also sound naive to subscribe such psychological stuff to a flick that's titled ZOMBIES OF MORA TAU, but there is a beautiful poetry at work in this movie if the viewer is willing to meet it on its own terms.

Despite that this movie somewhat lumbers to the adult within us, it still speaks to the child in that same body. I saw this film at a time when current horror films of the day attempted to scare people with blood and guts. This film is disarming in its innocence which invites the willing into its simple world-- it still manages to deliver the goods with such simple means as a creepy scene in which candles surround someone with "zombie fever". Plus, teenage boys of all ages still had a crush on Allison Hayes even 30 years after her films were made. Not for nothing did she become the fifty foot woman.

Having to return this 99-cent rental back to the country grocery store before it closed, I was in my car driving through the night, with the lights of the town behind me, pushing forward in the darkness. It was then that I realized that this sly metaphor encapsulated my life at that moment. And I also learned that because I had a soft spot for movies like this, that I was still trying to hang onto was receding in the background of my life. There was a wealth of memories, a state of being, that I admit I could not and cannot relive, but then as now, they remain as vital pieces of my human baggage.

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