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A cop chases two young people visiting the English countryside, suspecting them of a local murder; unbeknownst to him, the real culprits are the living dead, brought to life with a thirst for human flesh by radiation being used by area farmers as a pesticide alternative. Written by
The most overlooked and underrated zombie film ever
First of all, don't scoff at a 9 out of 10 rating for this film!
Trying to say it doesn't stand up to, say, Titanic, for "quality" is ridiculous...by just rating it within the horror genre, this is a superior effort.
Anchor Bay has released this film recently on DVD with a very informative interview with director Jorge Grau (since released twice on Blue Underground, the 2nd of its releases transferred in HD under the alternate title The Living Dead At The Manchester Morgue). He does admit this film was made because he was asked to do something comparative to Night Of The Living Dead. Fortunately he did something more by actually caring about the project and the result is a film that still terrifies after all these years. For being made in 1974, that's a feat indeed.
The film wastes no time in getting to the fun, and with just the right amount of setup about society's excesses whether it be pollution or morals, and then going further with the 1950s style of saying good 'ole radiation (our fault again) is stirring up trouble. Even though it was made around the same time and may only be a coincidence, the scene where babies are rebelling brings to mind Larry Cohen's film It's Alive!
Aside from a familiar face in actor Arthur Kennedy (who was deliciously grizzled in his behavior), the use of not-so-familiar faces really lets you sit back and absorb the story and thrills. It was actually nice to see a lead actor like Ray Lovelock look, as Kennedy's character exclaimed, a "long-haired hippie" instead of the squeaky clean GQ faces of today's heroes. These characters were very real, very believable, and you did care what happened to them.
Not many films date well, but this one could have easily taken place now as 1974. The locations, atmosphere, and overall look of this film is gorgeous. The acting is very competent, the score accents the mood well, and I was very pleased with the uncompromising ending. What I was probably the most pleased with was the fact that it doesn't feel the need to distract you with heavy cussing and lots of nudity (as in films like Dan O'Bannon's Return Of The Living Dead).
It also does not alienate the "over 35 crowd" like myself by pandering to MTV age boppers, the cast is mature and the characters more involved with their fate instead of being concerned with fashion and scoring some to get wasted (like the recent Idle Hands, don't get me started on THAT one). Most horror films these days just don't leave you feeling very satisfied, and I was ready to watch this one again!
Let Sleeping Corpses Lie is probably the most overlooked and underrated zombie film ever, and do yourself a favor by giving this one a look. Don't try to compare it with others, don't try to dissect the logic. It pays off with it's genuinely creepy mood and you'll find yourself watching it more often than most of any recent favorites you might have.
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