Film / The Living Dead at Manchester Morgue

The Living Dead at Manchester Morgue is a 1974 Spanish-Italian zombie film that was written and directed by Jorge Grau, starring Ray Lovelock, Arthur Kennedy and Cristina Galbó.

A young woman named Edna goes to visit her sister on the outskirts of Manchester. Along the way she damages the motorcycle of a brash young man named George, who forces her to take him along for the ride. Once there, they find that "ultrasonic radiation" from a pest-control device is causing the dead to rise as Flesh-Eating Zombies.

As they fight off the zombies, a police sergeant named McCormick comes across the mutilated corpses and desecrated graves. Misreading the evidence, he concludes that a cult of devil-worshipping murderers are loose - and Edna and George are his prime targets.

In the eighties, the film was targeted during Britain's Video Nasties scare.

The Living Dead at Manchester Morgue contains examples of the following tropes:

  • Adjustable Censorship: In early-eighties Britain, two different versions of the film were on the market: the uncut The Living Dead, and the cut Don't Open the Window. The latter version escaped targeting during the video nasty scare.
  • Applied Phlebotinum: Seriously, ultrasonic radiation?
  • Completely Different Title: The original Spanish title, No profanar el sueño de los muertos, translates as Don't Disturb the Sleep of the Dead. Of the film's numerous English titles, only one (Let Sleeping Corpses Lie) attempts to reflect the original name with any degree of accuracy. The other titles include (deep breath) The Living Dead, The Living Dead at Manchester Morgue, The Living Dead at the Manchester Morgue, Breakfast at Manchester Morgue and, inexplicably, Don't Open the Window.
    • Just to make things more confusing, on at least one occasion the film went under different titles within one release - the video box reading The Living Dead and the print itself using The Living Dead at Manchester Morgue.
  • Covers Always Lie: The UK VHS release of the film in its Don't Open the Window incarnation showed a laughably crude painting of a woman looking out a window as she draws the curtains, with nary a zombie or morgue or the city of Manchester in sight. It appears that the artist hadn't seen the film and only had the title to go on.
  • Kill It with Fire: Implied to be the only sure-fire way of killing a zombie.
  • No Swastikas: Invoked when George mocks McCormick's authoritarian manner by saying "Heil Hitler" and doing what is clearly supposed to be a Nazi salute... only he holds out his palm in what looks more like an "I solemnly swear" gesture.
  • Our Zombies Are Different: Despite their pseudo-scientific origin, the film gives its zombies some seemingly supernatural characteristics. The first zombie to be resurrected walks around the morgue bringing the corpses to life by ritualistically daubing their eyelids with his blood; he also fails to appear in photographs, hinting at vampire-like attributes (although he may simply have beenn out of shot).
  • Streaking: The opening sequence shows a naked woman running through a busy street. This has no bearing on the plot and seems to be there only to emphasise the swinging nature of 1970s urban England.