Let Sleeping Corpses Lie (1974)

Also known as: Breakfast at the Manchester Morgue
Living Dead at Manchester Morgue, The
Don't Open the Window
Zombi 3 (Da dove vieni?)

I've been wanting to see this for years, and thanks to good ol' Exploitation movies, I've finally caught up with it. It's sort of a re-do of Night of the living dead, but with it's own charms, and considerably more gore in some scenes. There's one scene that's quite startling in it's brutality that I'll describe later, but in a general sense this is worth catching up with, especially if you're a fan of the cannibal-zombie sub-genre of horror. Count me in.

In English Manchester, motorcyle-riding, hippy-looking George is hit by a car by Edna, driving a mini. She's trying to get to her sister's house, who's a recovering heroin addict, in need of help. Disgruntled, George basically commandeers the car and drives her to her sister's while he's waiting for his smashed bike to be fixed. Along the way, Edna is attacked by a strange-looking, drenched man, maybe a tramp. Later, before they arrive, Edna's sister's husband is killed by the same man, and the local bully-cop suspects Edna's frazzled sister, who's close to breaking point. Edna's sister, Katie, is also adamant it was the same strange man.

Meanwhile, we're shown that the Government is testing a new ultrasonic wave generator to control the insect population - by driving them crazy and making them attack each other. Tampering in God's domain, perchance? Gradually we work out, with our harried protagonists, that the tramp who attacked them is a dead man who drowned two weeks ago. The "zombie" has super-strength and some intelligence - well, enough to anoint the eyes of his fellow recent-dead with his own blood, in a tomb and begin a cannibal zombie plague. It seems that the brains of the dead react in the same way that insects do (and babies, as we see in the local hospital as nurses are bitten by infants...) and reanimate the freshly dead, who then crave the flesh of the living.

The aforementioned hospital is attacked, with one of the nurses having a breast ripped off before being ripped to shreds. Nasty staff. The zombies multiply as the range of the ultrasonic machine is widened, unknowingly. Who will survive the gut-wrenching finale as our heroes fight for their lives against both flesh-eating ghouls and the vicious, ingnorant cop on their trail?

Director Jorges Grau has fashioned an effective little horror gem here, contrasting the green of the countryside with the blood of zombie-victims, and zombies themselves. For 1974 the violence is strong stuff - think of this as mid-way between "Night" and "Dawn of the Dead in it's gore quotient. Nobody is particularly sympathetic in the film, but you'll cheer what happens between the Cop and George in the last scene. I'd better not spoil it for you ... it's pretty well-known amongst horror fans.

Seek this one out if you like the world of horror cinema, it's pretty much condidered a classic by some. It's a Spanish-Italian-English co-production, so also has quite a quaint feel to it that's worth a look. I don't feel it's entered my personal classic list, but I'm glad I sought it out.

© Boris Lugosi 2002.


Review written: 11/18/2002 11:35:23