- Non si deve profanare il sonno dei morti
- Le massacre des morts-vivants
- A Revanche dos Mortos-Vivos II
- Breakfast at the Manchester Morgue
- Das Leichenhaus der lebenden Toten
- Do Not Speak Ill of the Dead
- Don't Open the Window
- Fin de semana para los muertos
- Invasion der Zombies
- No profanar el sueño de los muertos
- No se debe profanar el sueño de los muertos
- The Living Dead at Manchester Morgue
- Zombi 3 (Da dove vieni?)
- Zombi: Epidromi apo to nekrotafeio
But! Onto today's movie...y'all done chose good, friends! The setup is rather simple. Scientists have been demonstrating a new machine that uses ultrasonic waves to kill off crop-eating bugs; farmers are pleased as the contraption actually works. However, the radiation emitted causes beings with low-level brain function to go mad with rage and cannibalize each other...and dead people fall under the umbrella of "low-level brain function". Damn that experimental agriculture! If it's not creating giant ants and a kingdom of spiders, then it's creating zombies.
A couple meets by happenstance, and they're soon embroiled in an undead nightmare as they try to convince the police (led by an awesomely cranky and mean Arthur Kennedy) that they're not responsible for the mounting body count- it's the zombies!
Let Sleeping Corpses Lie owes a great deal to George Romero's Night of the Living Dead...but then what zombie movie doesn't? Still, this could have been a sub-par ripoff (as so many later flicks are), but director Jorge Grau has crafted a movie that's more about atmosphere than gut-munching. The biggest nod to Romero comes when we're introduced to the first walking corpse, who's just a-shamblin' along in broad daylight until he spots The Walking Lunch:
Incidentally, zombie movies are still cannibalizing each other. I wonder if Danny Boyle ever watched this "rage infected" zombie movie that came 30 years before his own 28 Days Later.
While Let Sleeping Corpses Lie falls completely within the zombie movie paradigm, it's also a fresh enough take that it subverts the formula. The first hour or so is all build-up, developing the characters just enough that we become invested in them (even when they're not completely pleasant) and pumping up the atmosphere to high levels of tension. Grau really knows how to frame a shot and move the camera; he makes you wonder what's lurking in the corners, and the pans are so slow that your anxiety to see what's happening just off-screen becomes unbearable at times. It's all so damn competent and accomplished- what a treat.
Sound is used to maximum effect here; the score gets under your skin before you realize it, and the raspy, wheezy moaning of the walking dead is positively haunting. There's just something about these zombies that makes them so much creepier than any other zombies I've seen. They're empty-eyed, but determined- seemingly aimless, but actually deliberate. They're vicious without resorting to snarling and grunting...there's a slowness to them that suddenly gives way to an attack- and they can climb ladders and use tools. These are some seriously uncanny living corpses- you think they're thinking, but you know they're not. When they feast (of course there are some feast scenes), they don't dig in quickly and wolf their food- they chew 21 times before swallowing, and while the film is less explicitly graphic than others of its ilk, it's just as nauseating.
This isn't some fast-paced actioner like you kids of today are becoming used to- it's a good old-fashioned zombie flick...the kind of film that's deceptively difficult to create. I thought I'd seen enough of this genre to be essentially desensitized to it, but wow- this is one helluva creepy movie. Thanks, voters! You're the best!