Sunday, May 9, 2010

"Non si deve profanare il sonno dei morti"(1974)d/Jorge Grau

Tuesday morning here at Castle Wop,and seeing as I've thrown some stale fruit in the faces of my ghost writers,chained up down in the catacombs like the pitiful creatures they are,I don't see why we can't kick things up a notch for a change.I get a kick out of you cats n' chicks regularly reading my ramblings,and since more of you are doing it on a more frequent basis than ever before,I'm gonna touch on some true classics of genre cinema this week.Some of the directors I'll examine,I've never reviewed before,and being favorites of mine(and a lot of you out there,no doubt),I'll have to handle the entries with sap gloves...sorry,I don't own a pair of "kit gloves".Keep reading,and I'll keep writing.
Today's entry is a film I consider one of the most important flesh-eating zombie movies ever made,surely the first color feature to encorporate gut-chewing ghouls,and a must see/must own for anybody interested in such putrefying silver screen subject matter.Spanish director Jorge Grau crafts a wholly atmospheric and creepy tale,with an ecological slant(like so many movies in the early to mid-seventies),that certainly gave rise to moviegoers' wanton sleepless nights after viewing.With Italian gore specialist Gianetto(Zombi 2 et al) De Rossi on board to serve up the splatter,and a solid cast doing a fun job with their respective roles,it's extremely difficult not to love today's flick.Tweaking George A.'s zombie mythos ever so slightly,and doing so in blood-drenched color,Grau's Spanish/Italian co-production stands as one of the best zombie movies of all-time on most lists compiled by anyone who knows their prick from pumpkin butter about horror movies.
He only has eyes for grue.
George(Ray Lovelock)closes his curio shop in the city for the weekend,riding his motorcycle out to the countryside,interrupted while stopped for gas by Edna(Cristina Galbo'),who manages to back her car over his bike at the gas station.With his wheels out of commission,he hitches a ride with the typical woman driver,who's on her way to see her fix-starved needlehead sister Katie(Jeannine Mestre)and her husband Marin(Ruiz Lifante),to discuss dumping the hopeless bitch in a facility.Where would we be without siblings,huh.Unbeknownst to our unlikely duo,a new method of pest control using soundwaves to influence the nervous system of lesser life forms,turning them aggressive towards each other is being tested on the local farmlands.Little do our would-be scientists realize,their waves affect more than pesky bugs,and soon,the unburied dead within the wave range are coming back to life,with shitty attitudes and a penchant for the flesh of the living.Edna bears witness to the first instance of these ghouls in the form of drowned hobo Guthrie(great name!),who fancies terrorizing the girl while George asks local farmers for directions.Guthrie shambles upon Marin while he's shooting some night photographs,and his wife is trying to sneak out to the shed for a good shot in the arm,and kills the man as the auto-flash captures the whole gruesome event.
The inspector(Arthur Kennedy) appears on the case,and between voicing his disdain for George,Edna,and Katie,who's now in the midst of a nervous breakdown("You're all the same, the lot of you with your long hair and faggot clothes."), he questions them all as potential murder suspects,believing there's some whacked out drug cult responsible.Aren't the police just the most reasonable gents in the movies?
Insert joke about Italians eating with their hands here.
George and Edna try to heist the film from Marin's camera to prove her sister's innocence,but none of the shots prove to contain the water-drenched bum-zombie.After seeing violent babies attacking nurses at the hospital,it all becomes clear to George,who drives to the cemetery to see whether Guthrie still rests in peace or not.The couple find themselves trapped in a tomb surrounded by zombies,and when a cop who's been following them can corroborate their wild story,he's abruptly eaten by zombies.George smashes the apparatus out in the field to try and stop the dead ressurection,but fails to realize it isn't the only one of its kind,and before you can say In nomine Patris et fillii et Spiritus Sancti,the walking dead are on a gut-yanking killing spree at the hospital where Edna and her sister have rooms.Nurses get their tits squeezed off,Katie gets the piss strangled out of her by her dead husband,and a doctor takes an axe to the head,among the mounting casualties.George gets there too late,and is forced to burn all the zombies,Edna included,into a pile of ash.The inspector,arriving even later than George,shoots him in the head for his troubles,believing that he caused all the carnage at the hospital himself.When the policeman is later dropped off at the inn where the couple was staying,he's surprised to see George's zombie waiting for him,causing the stubborn fascist cop to eat corpse masticating death in the shadows.Out in the fields,they've repaired the soundwave machine,and increased the range of effectiveness....
After hearing about renewed global interest in his band,Townsend defiantly busted out of rehab.
Spanish-born Galbo' retired from acting in the eighties,and tours the world while instructing Flamenco out of California.Lovelock took part in genre films like La Settima Donna,Roma violenta,and Macchie solari before becoming a staple of Italian televison series.De Rossi worked most recently on the makeup for Christopher Roth(2010),after doing a lot of television,himself.Manchester Morgue,which has sixteen alternate titles to date(!!!), has been Grau's last genre film,though he continued to direct well into the nineties.The English graveyard in the film is believed to hold the body of Little John,of Robin Hood fame,surprisingly.Anyway,if you haven't seen this movie,where the fuck have you been?Get out there and score a copy.Anchor Bay released a beautiful collectible tin presentation of the film,with a slew of nifty extras,several years back,but it isn't impossible to find by any means.One of my favorite zombie movies,and an excellent horror classic for the ages,Morgue slowly rises from the slab with the highest scale rating of Four Wops.
"I choke-ah you throat-ah!I choke-ah you throat-ah!"

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