13 user 18 critic

House of the Living Dead (1974)

On a South African plantation, a maniac is on the loose, first killing the estate's animals, then starting on the human members.


Ray Austin


Marc Marais (screenplay) (as Marc de V. Marais), John Brason (original story)

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Cast overview:
Mark Burns Mark Burns ... Sir Michael Brattling / Dr. Breckinridge Brattling
Shirley Anne Field ... Mary Anne Carew
David Oxley David Oxley ... Dr. Collinson
Margaret Inglis Margaret Inglis ... Lady Brattling
Dia Sydow Dia Sydow ... Lena
Lynne Maree Lynne Maree ... Annie
Bill Flynn Bill Flynn ... Simeon
Nobby Clark Nobby Clark ... Capt. Turner (as William Baird Clark)
Ronald France Ronald France ... Col. Pringle
Don Furnival Don Furnival ... Brand
Pieter Geldenhuys Pieter Geldenhuys ... Shoemaker (as Peter Geldenhuys)
Ben Dekker Ben Dekker ... Jan
Limpie Basson Limpie Basson ... Hugo de Groot
Amina Gool Amina Gool ... Aia Kat


A mad scientist (Mark Burns) is conducting hideous occult experiments at the family estate of Brattling Manor, monkeying about with things man was not meant to know, including the transfer and containment of living souls. It's only a matter of time before he begins to experiment on the souls of human beings - including his own family. Written by Ørnås

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


The once-human horror waits in the attic...for you to open the door! See more »




PG | See all certifications »



South Africa


English | Afrikaans

Release Date:

12 August 1974 (South Africa) See more »

Also Known As:

Curse of the Dead See more »

Filming Locations:

South Africa

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:




Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
See full technical specs »

Did You Know?


Was shot under the title "Shadows over Bridge Place", but later released as "House of the Living Dead" and "Curse of the Dead" to cash in on the then-popular zombie movies, even though there are no zombies in the movie whatsoever. See more »


Featured in Mad Scientist Theatre: 50 Movie Mega Pack (2016) See more »

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User Reviews

A rare African made horror movie that's not as bad as its rating would suggest
12 October 2016 | by Red-BarracudaSee all my reviews

As I watched this one I felt something was odd about it. While the cast seemed to all be English, the terrain and deep blue sky seemed somewhat foreign, so I was interested to learn afterwards that this is a South African production. It's a pretty rare thing to find a horror movie from that country, and this was probably the most interesting thing about this one. It's another costume horror, of which there were many back at the time this was released. Set in the 19th century, it centres on a young woman who travels to the plantation home of her fiancé, whose family has a grim history. The mother tries to encourage her to leave, while the other brother is an unseen lunatic in the attic. As is so often the way, a series of murders start happening. But are they a result of voodoo? Is it mad science at work? Or is this the work of…a horse!? All, is eventually revealed.

The combination of a hokey mad scientist plot-line with traditional voodoo is slightly unusual. As is the way that animals are sometimes presented, with a major character being what can only be described as a so-called devil horse which the locals actually believe could be roaming around in the dead of night committing all the killings. The science bit is covered by the not entirely interesting idea of human soul transferal. So the story has quite a few disparate ideas kicking about and there is undoubtedly some potential in the set-up but the presentation is often quite meandering and uneventful. But it's overall actually not bad really, as there is some atmosphere generated in some of the night scenes depicting strange goings on and there is a quite well executed chase scene involving a hooded villain too. The South African setting adds something new as well which definitely elevates the material by itself. As I say, it doesn't always maximise its ideas and it is a bit messy but it does also have a lively ending to round things off. All things considered, despite a few faults, this one is definitely better than its reputation would suggest.

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