The Plague of the Zombies Review

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by Chris McEneany May 27, 2012 at 1:21 AM

  • Movies review

    The Plague of the Zombies Review

    “Are you mad?”

    “I almost wish I was … this business is so appalling.”

    1965’s classic The Plague of the Zombies was part of Hammer’s cleverly conceived four-picture package that saw them in a deal with Associated British Pathe, 20th Century Fox and Seven Arts Productions. The intention was release a quartet of gothic chillers that would be shot back-to-back at Bray Studios, utilising elements of the same sets and some of the same cast and crew to keep the costs down and help ensure that the finished products came in on time and under budget. The films would be released in double-bills, with the first couplet being Dracula Prince of Darkness and Plague of the Zombies, whilst the second, to be unveiled a few months afterwards, would boast Rasputin The Mad Monk and The Reptile. Although Zombies and Reptile were shot back-to-back, and the other two were likewise paired together on the production schedule, it was deemed that they should swapped around due to the fact that audiences would quickly spot that they shared the same production design and sets. This ploy wasn’t particularly successful, as the village in Plague looked identical to the one in The Reptile, as did many of the other sets and costumes.

    It is often the case that Prince and Rasputin are regarded as the best of this ambitious project, but I think that the supposedly lesser calibre films that played second-fiddle to them upon release actually trounced them in terms of story, flair, imagination and sheer originality. They didn’t have the big name stars in Christopher Lee or Barbara Shelley that were undoubted attractions, but I think this really helps them to become leaner, harder explorations of the fantastique. Lee, by now, had become completely synonymous with the genre, and audiences knew pretty well what they were in for when his name appeared on the poster. Plague and The Reptile, therefore, with their predominantly unknown casts (save for the wonderfully un-humorous Andre Morell as the lead in the former, of course), were unpredictable as a result. And the fact they both messed around quite startlingly with conventions, barring the inevitable fiery conclusions that capped them both off, was further evidence that they weren’t playing by the rules this time around. Sadly, Hammer would not be able to maintain this courageous vogue for long, and would soon lapse, with some classic exceptions (Quatermass and the Pit, Dr. Jeckyl and Sister Hyde, Captain Kronos, Vampire Circus) into a rut of the same old formulaic shtick time and time again.

    The ever-irritable John Gilling helmed both of these period frighteners having been promoted by Hammer to their spearheading horror forefront after toiling away very professionally behind the scenes for some time and having directed a trio of historical actioners for them with Pirates of Blood River in 1962, The Scarlet Blade in 1963 and The Brigand of Kandahar only a year before Plague in 1965. He had, however, took the reins of genre material already, with the classic Peter Cushing body-snatching tale, The Flesh and the Fiends in 1960, and the wacky extraterrestrial schlocker, The Night Caller, with John Saxon, in 1965. The Plague of the Zombies, however, is surely his most accomplished and fondly recalled film. Peter Bryan wrote the screenplay, but it was further worked upon by Anthony Hinds, and then tweaked by Gilling, himself. Bryan gets the credit, but the story evolved a fair bit from the original 1963 version entitled simply The Zombie.

    There’s no point discussing this cherished cult favourite without us being able to savour a lot of exquisite detail so, be warned right from the start, that we will be travelling extensively through Spoilerville with this review. Feel free to dip in, skim about, or stick with the full coverage. As with all my write-ups of these vintage classics, this is designed as a celebration rather than a typical appraisal.

    A mysterious malady is sweeping through an isolated Cornish town. The local doctor, Peter Tompson (Brook Williams) is at his wit’s end trying to fathom out the cause. In desperation he writes to his friend and former medical tutor, Sir James Forbes, to come and offer his assistance in the matter. Forbes (Andre Morell) remembers that Tompson has married his daughter’s old school friend Alice and, thus, he makes the mercy mission in the company of his daughter Sylvia (Diane Clare). After incurring the wrath of the local bully-boys – the headstrong Sylvia deliberately misadvises them on the direction in which the fox they were hunting has gone – they arrive in the village just as another funeral is taking place. With consummate bad timing, the pack of red-jacketed thugs also arrive and, in their callous disregard for others, they conspire to knock the coffin over the bridge and into the little brook below, with the casket falling open and the poor corpse within lolling into view. Suitably horrified, Forbes comes to understand that these men are in the employ of the local squire, Clive Hamilton (John Carson), and that although of high standing and upper class bloodstock he is hardly a man of honour. He swiftly learns, also, that Hamilton has spent a lot of time in Haiti and that he has somehow managed to reopen the old tin mine, despite the enterprise having falling into disrepair amidst rumours of the workers getting ill and refusing to go down the pit during the time when his late father owned it.

    Events worsen considerably when Sylvia follows a seemingly hypnotised Alice (Jacqueline Pearce) out into the woods and then bears witness to her falling victim to a dishevelled, cadaverous creature outside the dilapidated mine-shaft. But when it seems apparent that this creature might actually be the very man whose funeral it was when they arrived, Sir James commences a most irregular and unsettling investigation, and pretty soon he has opened-up all the local graves, only to find them empty. Where are the bodies, and who is working down in that haunted tin mine? Well, it is hardly a jolt when it transpires that the Squire is using voodoo to murder people and then control their corpses so that he can use them as slave labour down in the mine, but this doesn’t deter Sir James from deciding to take the battle straight to him before this hellish plague of the living dead strikes down any more innocent victims … especially when it appears that his own daughter could be the next in line.

    Notable primarily for the now notorious nightmare sequence in which the dead claw their way out of the village cemetery and surround Dr. Tompson, and for the shocking “awakening” of the slain Alice and her subsequent beheading with a shovel, Plague also scratches quite a few social and political issues that can’t have been simply accidental.

    A white zombie-master was seen most memorably in the stagey, but effective 1932 chiller, White Zombie, with Bela Lugosi using his prior Count’s trademarked mesma-stare to good hallucinatory effect as the plantation overlord, Murder Legendre. So John Carson’s more elaborate corpse-controller is not entirely unique, except perhaps in his chosen base of operations. We are simply told that he spent a lot of time travelling the world, though especially in Haiti … and that is enough for us and for Sir James to put two and two together and come up with “Zombie!” as Morrell so marvellously blurts in the show-stopping scene of Alice opening her dead eyes and rising from her coffin. His use of zombies to operate his mine is a thinly veiled metaphor for the exploitation of the working classes. The snobbish savagery of the ruling gentry is something that Hammer has explored several times before. The vicious Lord Baskerville and his would-be rapist brigade of red-jacketed scumbags during the prologue to The Hound of the Baskervilles (1959 and directed by Terence Fisher), which is clearly recalled here by the Squire’s mob embarking on an intended gang-rape of the captured Sylvia, being one of the most overt depictions of the distrust and revulsion many aimed at the aristocracy. Count Dracula is, of course, the titanic pinnacle symbolising this fall from grace and into degradation and foul decadence, although his social standing became less and less important as his endless series of Hammer outings would go on to prove.

    Moreover, Plague was the natural extension of the more assertive female characters that had begun to stake their claim on the genre – a clear reflection of the march of feminism in the sixties. Hammer, themselves, had started this ball rolling with the highly erotically charged performance of Barbara Shelley in Dracula Prince of Darkness. And this advance is recalled with Sylvia’s bull-headed decision to go after her friend into the night, whereupon she is set-upon, like a cornered fox, by the Squire’s men. Regardless of how her pursuit ended-up, Sylvia herself remains defiant and furious with the Squire even after he has reprimanded his men, apologised to her and promised that they will pay for their actions. She doesn’t just fall over, scream a lot and then collapse into floods of tears. Oh, she winds-up succumbing to Hamilton’s magic and doing the walk of the transfixed, but we really can’t blame her for that. I mean not only did Alice fall for the same broken-glass, blood-stealing voodoo trick but presumably all the other zombified victims – all of them strapping blokes – did too.

    You also have to acknowledge the sexual demeanour of the zombified Alice as she prowls seductively towards Sir James and her horrified husband. With Pearce’s face puffed-out with cotton-wool to help create the script’s “bloated death mask”, a leering grin and a sultry, mischievous gleam in her dark, dead eyes, she is the vision of predatory woman. There is no mistaking the fact that George Romero completely stole from this scene and this image in Night of the Living Dead when the zombified little girl slowly moves in on her hysterical mother down in the cellar. You can also spot the very clear similarity that Pearce has in this sequence to the multitude of J-Horror witches, with their bedraggled, lank dark hair and wide-open, spellbinding eyes.

    The theological side of things gets short-thrift, but the film is canny enough to have the village vicar, played by Roy Royston, fall prey to the Squire and have to be saved by Sir James and Dr. Tompson. It is telling that he places a number of scholarly tomes about witchcraft and black magic at their disposal and then, when their minds are made up and a dire course of action decided upon, he says in a weird sort of futility simply that he “will pray for them.” Isn’t it a bit strange that he, a man of God, will not actually join them in the fight to protect his flock? Hammer could well be mocking the traditional role of the Church here, and stating that it no longer had a viable place in a society constantly under threat from subjugation and doctrine. They had done so many times before, perhaps most beguilingly in Captain Clegg (aka Night Creatures) in which a master smuggler played by Peter Cushing uses the perfect smokescreen for his gang’s activities by posing as the meek village priest. And they would do so rather more fearlessly in the likes of the later Draculas and in Captain Kronos, Vampire Hunter.

    Andre Morell was well-versed with the genre and with Hammer in particular. He’d played opposite Peter Cushing in the BBC’s version of Orwell’s Nineteen-Eighty-Four and he’d portrayed Professor Quatermass the initial three television adaptations that were filmed live, also for the Beeb. He’d been a POW for Hammer with The Camp on Blood Island, and served alongside Cushing once more as Dr. Watson to Cushing’s Sherlock Holmes in the lavish The Hound of the Baskervilles, and he’d appear in six more films for the studio besides Plague. So taking on the role of the scholarly hero we meet here was nothing that Morell couldn’t take in his stride. Not one to suffer fools gladly, he made no attempt to hide his disdain for some of his fellow performers, most notably poor Diane Clare, whom he regarded as not being “up to the task”. Personally, I think he was being a bit harsh and more than a little off the mark with this allegation, but his ratty, disgruntled and often dismissive attitude towards her, especially during early sections of the film, is certainly more pointed in view of his off-camera opinions. He wasn’t overly impressed with Brook Williams either, and there is one terrific moment when this comes shining through, yet plays perfectly well with his character. After having broken the news to Dr. Tompson that his wife, Alice, has died and that her body is probably out there on the moor, Williams’ anguished reactions are pretty poorly handled to say the least, and just watch Morell’s own reaction to them. Williams breaks down and gasps and clutches his face as though it is about to fall off, and Morell, quite in-character and yet cunningly genuine as well, looks away in what is certainly professional embarrassment. It is quite brilliant to watch. Actually, Williams, who looks like a young Steve Martin, isn’t all that bad either, but this particular moment is rather wretched to behold.

    This brusque, take-no-prisoners and pull-no-punches attitude translates very well to the role of Sir James. This is a person who character-judges in seconds, and is deadly accurate in his appraisal. He may defend his former pupil of Dr. Tompson in his time of need, but he dislikes his friend’s erosion of moral fibre in the face of the mysterious plague. I love this. Sir James is, at once, the taciturn, assertive mad scientist that we had seen previously portrayed brilliantly by Robert Cornthwaite as The Thing’s monster-defending Dr. Carrington, and the forward-thinking, go-getting man-of-action that so many an ex-military man would have been deemed during this period of civilian resilience. He literally smells a dastardly stew brewing and he will stop at nothing to unmask it and eradicate it. Sherlock Holmes? Why, it’s elementary, isn’t it? And both Plague and The Reptile are considered justifiable Holmsian delights by the Hammer cogniscenti.

    It’s tempting to believe that the magnificent directorial flourish that accompanies the swell travelling zoom in on Morell’s stern and scrutinising face during Forbes’ first confrontation with Squire Hamilton was down to Gilling and DOP Arthur Grant, but I would wager that it was Morell, himself, who insisted upon such an effective and memorable moment. “I want to talk to you, Mr. Hamilton, ” Forbes declares as the camera sweeps past the approaching Squire, his eyes assiduously sizing-up his opponent, who is accompanied by his lead henchman Denver (played with surly relish by Alex Davion), until it rests up close upon his serious and unfazed countenance, and he adds with venom, “in private.” Such is the level of command that he exudes, we feel as confident with the aging (accentuated by rather obviously greyed locks) medico as we would if it was Jimmy Bond who was standing there and smart-mouthing Blofeld.

    It is also worth mentioning that he acquits himself very well during the violent skirmish he has with Denver’s sadistic nutjob. The two hurl themselves around the joint, Denver armed with a sacrificial dagger and Sir James doing a fine Jason Bourne impersonation and using whatever object he can get his hands on. When the whole room goes up in flames, he is also convincingly exasperated and desperate to escape, with a vaguely Leslie Nielsen-like expression of “Oh God, what next?” . Watch when Hamilton’s butler, played by Louis Mahoney (who would, ironically, perish in a conflagration at the infernal will of Damian Thorn in The Final Conflict) unlocks the door and enters the room – Sir James just grabs him and threatens to burn him alive if he doesn’t reveal the whereabouts of the Squire. Awesome stuff.

    John Carson is a tremendous actor. He enjoys the decadent villainy of this sadistic squire as well as his sense of nobility. There is no escaping the similarity of his vocal performance to that of James Mason who would, of course, play a great number of well-heeled, upper-crust baddies throughout his career. Critics have made much of this, even suggesting that this is the reason that Carson got the part in the first place. Well, I’m not so certain. He’s a bloody good actor, you know. Carson is able to exude a level of demonic impatience, especially with his cronies and with his nemesis of Sir James that is almost Nazi-ish, but he can also be quite charming and suave, which are essential traits to have if one is to inhabit the role of an aristocratic swine with skulduggery on their mind. The film cleverly has Alice discuss him early on with a rather dubious Sylvia, who gleans from her friend’s strange behaviour that this guy may not be all he seems to be. This then leads to Sylvia’s own encounters with him, which smartly convey that her initial doubts were well-founded. But the clever thing is that Carson’s Hamilton doesn’t make any attempt to distract her from the more unsavoury elements of his household, he merely assures her that the miscreants – his youthful and exuberant friends – will be dealt with. And when he later comes round to work his peculiar magic upon her at the house when the heroes are out probing empty graves, he makes no bones about his rather unpleasant and antagonistic character yet still manages to win her over with a subtly played degree of wit and not so subtle clumsiness. When he squares off against Morell, there really isn’t much that is said, but the level of brutish rivalry between them is deliciously palpable. Once again, it is very Conan Doyle-esque this meeting of two formidable, though eternally opposed minds. I wish there had been the opportunity for them to have engaged in a further battle of wills before the showy climax.

    The mask that Hamilton wears when going about his Haitian voodoo rituals is a stunning piece of work. With its blood-etched symbol and oddly Rastafarian rat-tail strands, this facial cowl even seems to resemble Christopher Lee’s dispassionate and cruelly blank Dracula visage. Coldly debonair without it, Hamilton becomes something else entirely with it on. Carson would go on to appear in Peter Sasdy’s fun Taste the Blood of Dracula and to play the doomed Marcus in the awesome black comedy of Captain Kronos Vampire Hunter for Hammer, as well as showing up in their House of Horror TV series. Squire Hamilton is an unusual villain. He’s hardly fully-rounded, but courtesy of Carson’s cutting portrayal there is more depth than many a baddie.

    Both Morell and Carson are playing educated and erudite aristocrats. One reveals the extent of a soul corrupting search for greater glory, whilst the other makes it clear that even a rational man can still fall back on far more primal instincts if he feels a terrible wrong needs to be put right.

    Pearce, who would go on to play the vindictive Servalan in TV’s cult SF show Blake’s Seven is rarely held up in the usual Hammer-Glamour stakes, and this is a severe oversight. She is absolutely ravishing. Even when she spends this film as either a sickly victim of voodoo, or as a bonafide zombie, there is no mistaking how jaw-dropping beautiful she is. Those eyes are so wide and so oozing with come-to-bed sex appeal that they’d probably work a better spell on the village menfolk than the Squire’s little blood-soaked dolls. He’d probably have more workers for the mine without having to resort to any voodoo at all if he just used to her to coax them away from the local boozer! Her most breathtakingly gorgeous appearance was in the very next feature, The Reptile, but she makes a surefire and indelible mark upon the genre here.

    And we need to doff our collective cap to the simply wonderful Michael Ripper. As much a vertebrae in the backbone of Hammer as Peter Cushing, Christopher Lee, James Bernard, Terence Fisher or a pot of Kensington Gore, this outstanding character actor here portrays the village copper, Sgt. Jack Swift (that’s a great name … he’s anything but!). He’s been a poacher, a jailbird, a landlord, a soldier, a sewer-man, a coachman, a cabbie, a pirate, a porter, a morgue attendant, a member of a torch-wielding mob and an Arab. His services to the genre we love really should have garnered him some sort of special award, but he holds a unique place in the hearts of fans all over the world. Our introduction to him here is marvellously understated. Sir James has just dug-up the coffin of a recently buried man and is about to wrench the lid off it when he senses that someone is watching. Looking up from the grave, he finds Ripper and his constable lackey just standing there regarding him and Tompson dispassionately. With brilliantly underplayed precision he calmly informs the duo of the charge they can expect to face in the morning. Plague actually gives him a bit more to do than usual, as he becomes quite active in the ensuing investigation, even digging up a few caskets, himself. But, as with the vicar, he is strangely left out of the loop once Sir James undertakes his commando mission up at the big house.

    Ripper would get an even more substantial role in The Reptile and it is these two films that showcase him at his best.

    Regular makeup whizz, Roy Ashton comes up with some choice goodies. The decapitation of Alice is still a bravura sequence. I’ve always knocked that severed noggin for looking too wooden, but when you actually look at it properly, it is surprisingly effective. It is, perhaps, those bulbous dead white eyes that give the game away, but, even so, I’ve now reappraised my opinion … and that’s a good dead-head likeness of Pearce. Interestingly, that’s actually the real Pearce lying there beside the shovelled bonce, just with her head buried under the soil. The zombies, themselves, are kitted-out in dusty sackcloth shrouds, which appear to be in-thing for Victorian Cornish cadavers. They have horrible white pin-hole contacts lenses that look like ping-pong balls in some cases, and their skin looks as though it has had a combination of four-day-old porridge and bat-guano smeared all over it. Chalky-blue and desiccated grey, these hapless shamblers might not be cannibalistic, but they are much more sinister and malevolent than the usual glassy-eyed plantation-pickers of the traditional variety of dead-dudes. One of the most chilling images from 60’s horror cinema was that of Ben Aris, the film’s notorious grinning poster-boy, and the revived dead brother of Marcus Hammond’s wrongfully banged-up Tom Martinus, as he hurls the body of Alice down the slurry-slope beneath the dark satanic mill-wheel, with a freakishly and unscripted demonic cackle. This deranged laughter, alone, marks these creatures out as something completely tangential from the normal slew of zombies. It is unclear whether this banshee-like death-scream is actually the telepathic mirth of Hamilton, himself, killing-by-proxy from afar - his potent incantations often slither from the lips of his intended victims as they fall under his spell – or whether this unearthly merriment hails from the dark heart of the newly undead servant, himself. Either way, the scene is one the genre’s greats, a real gem of bloodcurdling, heart-stopping terror.

    And note how convincing Pearce’s twisted neck looks as she rolls to a stop!

    It is interesting how Tompson imagines Arris’ zombie in his stylised dream when he hasn’t actually seen this monster for himself, but this cannot detract from the ghastly ghoul’s lurching arrival on the misty graveyard scene. A great touch, here, is that Aris is mumbling something obviously very nasty as he draws near, his dead feet paddling in a puddle of blood. But we can’t hear it. Again, this is supposedly all down to Tompson’s wild imagination, but we can clearly believe that Hamilton’s malicious tongue is doing the wagging elsewhere. Gilling obviously loves this wordless verbiage as that tantalising voodoo prologue features a drummer going totally mental and screaming in absolute silence during the routine. One of many stylistic tricks that makes this film so special.

    Just how long the Squire thinks he can get away with his fiendish masterplan is debatable. Let’s face it, he can’t keep on killing off the residents of the township and reviving them without someone, like Sir James noticing. Or can he? Perhaps his overall intention is to turn the entire province into his own realm of the dead. Maybe, the tin-mine is just the start of things. It’s hardly a grand enterprise at the moment, is it? A dozen or so corpses ambling about in the pit isn’t going to be the most productive of investments. But if he can form an army of the dead …

    Dan O’ Herlihy’s likeable warlock, Conal Cochran from Halloween III: Season of the Witch was another of the genre’s more determined businessmen, though his aspirations were national, going on global. Hamilton isn’t really thinking outside of the box from what we see of his intentions in the film. With his powers and the rather unique setting and social environment of Victorian England, he should really be aiming for something much higher and influential. Parliament and the Monarchy could so easily fall under his sway if he set his devilish little mind to it. But, as with most of these closet megalomaniacs, he allows personal greed and his own monumental arrogance to lead to his downfall. Another moral chestnut that Hammer just loved to crack.

    The film ties up many of its loose ends quite succinctly, yet it doesn’t explain why Squire Hamilton wants the two girls to join the ranks of his zombies. Surely he doesn’t want them to work down in the tin-mines. So his motives must lie elsewhere … and this, I think, is where Gilling and Hinds play a blinder with Bryan’s screenplay. They certainly hint at the depravities that Hamilton and his thugs get up to, what with the prospective gang-rape of Sylvia clearly not the first time that the crew have indulged in such deeds, and the procurement of two beautiful but docile ladies under the influence and command of voodoo would seem to imply a steady on-tap supply of nasty-nookie. Of course, this then throws up the concept of necrophilia, something that Bryan, Hinds nor Gilling were hardly going to come right out and clarify or visually allude to. But the clues are there, all right.

    And we have to just assume that his Haitian drummers are passed-off as house servants when they are not beating frenziedly upon their bongos down in the mine. Such a gathering would surely cause some raised eyebrows down in the village, otherwise.

    I’ve written about James Bernard and his scores many times before, but it is always worth commenting upon his colossal contribution to the warped and delirious mood of the films that he worked upon. With his jangling tone clusters, whacked-out brassy fury and shrieking strings – played deliberately wrongly to unnerve and disquiet all the more – he maintains a pulverising grip over the film. Although he could write effective and charming romantic or pastoral pieces, he is best known for his violent orchestral squalls and his palpitating skill at creating endless, high-pitch suspense. But for Plague his most amazingly delivered and downright fascinating vignette is that for Tompson’s nightmare. Professor David Huckvale, who has written about Hammer’s music cites the simple two-note under-current that Bernard employs beneath a hugely creepy and hypnotically surreal dreamscape for strings and horns, as being potentially the basis for John Williams’ Jaws motif. Personally, I don’t buy that for a second. They sound nothing alike in this context, although Bernard’s set-piece is possibly the scariest that he ever delivered in a Hammer film.

    For those of you who love the clunkers and goofs in movies, Plague has a few great ones. Check out the phone-lines snaking across the fields as Sir James and Sylvia’s coach meets the red-coated jackasses. There’s the same pub sign that we can see on what is the same pub in The Reptile, but look at the little last-minute tacked-on sign with a different name altogether on the wall by the door. There’s a car gadding about the frame somewhere, and there are more than enough wobbly walls in the Squire’s mansion. During the final inferno, there’s a zombie stumbling about with what is clearly a big asbestos mask on. Actually, this mask resembles the inverted William Shatner ghost-face that Michael Myers wears in Halloween … so it is kind of cool at the same time. And speaking of infernos, let’s not overlook the best gaff of all. Just before he inadvertently sets the study room ablaze within himself trapped within it, you can plainly a nice red and decidedly non-Victorian fire-extinguisher in the corner. Now Sir James would have been far better off using that to fight the fire than the useless curtain he wrenches down from the window!

    Dialogue-wise, the film is a little bit shaky too. When we are introduced to Sir James and Sylvia, the scene is horribly let down by the sheer number of times that Diane Clare finishes off a sentence with the word Father. We get it, love! He’s your dad! Okay, okay! This is then compounded by Morell, himself, then uttering the line, “Listen, just because you’re my daughter …” as they sit in the coach in the very next scene. Jeez, we get it already! Father and daughter. Right … enough! It is also horribly fashionable to then add the character’s name at the end of everything said to them too. Or their rank, if they happen to be a police sergeant. Someone really ought to have picked up on this sort of thing.

    But none of this alters the fact that The Plague of the Zombiesis a barnstorming treasure from the studio’s most prolific phase. It surmounts these and other errors with style and finesse to burn. Plus it is eminently provocative with many layers and subtexts beneath the grease-paint, derma-wax and silly-putty!

    This has always been one of my favourite Hammer films. It is tightly written (for the most part) and directed with verve and gusto. It is also profoundly dark, mean and moody, and punctuated by some grand sequences of the purest macabre. The relocation of exotic black magic would be something revisited in The Reptile and in Tyburn’s rather woeful The Ghoul, the collision of starched Victorian mores and the liberated abandon of older, more potent religions a magnificent mash-up of ideologies ably illustrating the repression of Old England getting slapped about the face by the wanton excesses of the exotic and the mysterious.

    And, without it, you would not have had the zombie boom cultivated by Romero and Fulci. Or the Blind Dead series, for that matter, which again borrowed visually from the magisterial resurrection nightmare.

    This restored printofThe Plague of the Zombies is actually receiving national theatrical screenings in June 2012, after successfully playing at Festivals already.

    The Rundown

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