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Living Dead at Manchester Morgue, The (1974)

Manchester-based art and antique dealer George (Ray Lovelock) locks up his city-centre store and leaves the smog and pollution of the city for some time off in the Lake District (although it was actually filmed around the Peak District).

But things are about to take a very nasty turn.

Mini driver Edna (Cristina Galbó) accidentally damages his motorcycle at a petrol stop, which means he’s stuck in her car to get him to his destination. Then Edna claims to have been attacked by a man the locals say drowned in a river and is dead.

When she gets to her destination, her drug addict sister, Katie (Jeannine Mestre) is believed to have killed her photographer husband, Martin (José Lifante) – but she claims it’s the same ‘dead’ man responsible.

Naturally, the police don’t buy the story and the local inspector (Arthur Kennedy) believes “the kids” are responsible for the death, deriding them as longhaired degenerate hippie Satanists. Yes, he’s that kind of copper.

Edna and George head off to find proof of what really happened, but just uncover more flesh-eating zombies (one of them eats a local policeman), creating even more suspicion about their own activities.

Where are the zombies coming from? Well, the government is trying out new technology to kill all known bugs on crops and the “ultrasonic radiation” from the machine seems to be having an effect on new-born babies and the dead – the former are biting nurses and the latter are able to spread life around their dead comrades with the gift of blood.

A hectic finale features a bloody massacre at the hospital and produces one or two twists to keep things interesting.

This Italian/Spanish production essentially has a Spanish director updating the ‘living dead’ story with a British twist, throwing in a European cast with some dubbing that provides some amazing accents.

NB: Despite the title, there is not a lot of Manchester featured in the film, save for the classic opening scenes and an occasional visit to the morgue.

The Living Dead at Manchester Morgue has been released under several titles, including Let Sleeping Corpses Lie, Don’t Open the Window, Breakfast at the Manchester Morgue and Do Not Speak Ill of the Dead.

Edna Simmonds
Cristina Galbó
George Meaning
Ray Lovelock
The Inspector
Arthur Kennedy
Detective Sgt. Kinsey
Aldo Massasso
PC Craig
Giorgio Trestini
Roberto Posse
Martin West
José Lifante
Katie West
Jeannine Mestre
Gengher Gatti
Guthrie Wilson
Fernando Hilbeck
Vera Drudi
Dr Duffield
Vicente Vega
Francisco Sanz
Paul Benson
Anita Colby

Jorge Grau