That first wave saw a few US titles like Children Shouldn't Play With Dead Things, Deathdream, and House of Seven Corpses. Across the Atlantic though, standouts included Amando De Ossorio's Blind Dead four pack, Jean Rollin's Les Démoniaques (released as Curse of the Living Dead in the States), Jess Franco's A Virgin Among The Living Dead and, of course, Jorge Grau's Let Sleeping Corpses Lie (known in the UK as The Living Dead At Manchester Morgue and, curiously, in the US as Don't Open The Window).
The plot of Sleeping Corpses follows George (Ray Lovelock, looking the spitting image of Barry Gibb), an antique dealer leaving the congestion and pollution of Manchester for a holiday in the English countryside. Almost as soon as his trip begins though, Edna (Crisitina Galbo) quite literally runs into him and the begrudged pair set out traveling together. Even though George has a time-sensitive meeting in Windermere with friends, he reluctantly decides to accompany Edna to her drug-addicted sister's house in South Gate, before can borrow her car to get himself to his destination.
|Ray Lovelock, as George, is just trying to stay alive.|
|George realizes that Edna is more than a woman.|
|Knock, Knock sucka! Open up!|
Also along for the ride is Academy Award nominee Arthur Kennedy, as a fascist police sergeant who believes Edna's sister is responsible for the murder of her husband (who's actually done in by our drip of a friend). The Sergeant immediately takes a disliking to George and Edna of course, bluntly stating "You're all the same, the lot of you...with your long hair and your faggot clothes. Drugs, sex, and every sort of filth!" Of course, he also implicates the pair in the gory disembowelment, labeling them as devil worshippers! Kennedy's appearance really elevates the film above a sort of standard "a bunch of unknowns trapped by zombies" and also creates an outright villain as The Sergeant and George have a continuous back and forth in their scenes together. George represents the defiant, authority-questioning counterculture and The Sergeant embodies their iron-fisted oppressors with Conservative values.
|This zombie ponders how to mend a broken heart.|
|This zombie has a case of Night (of the Living Dead) fever.|
All in all, it's an incredible entry in the Zombie movie subgenre and was certainly a worthy film that I'd read about before tracking down a bootleg VHS (ripped from the old, uncut Japanese laserdisc). It's currently available on from the fine folks at Blue Undergound as Let Sleeping Corpses Lie on DVD, as The Living Dead At Manchester Morgue as a 2-disc DVD (with more special features and the Manchester Morgue title card), and also on Blu-ray as The Living Dead At Manchester Morgue. Highly recommended if you haven't seen it yet!