Saturday, 9 March 2013

Review - The Plague of the Zombies (1966 - Dir. John Gilling)

André Morell. Without him this film wouldn't have been anywhere near as good. The writing is good, and surprisingly funny, but Morell (The Hound of the Baskervilles) makes it shine and carries the whole film. Eminently watchable and it is a testament to his premium acting prowess that the film takes a dip at the end when he doesn't have as much to say. He's not the best action star ever and doesn't quite pull it off. He was 57 at the time though so I'll let him off.

Sir James Forbes (Morell) and his daughter Sylvia (Diane Clare - Ice Cold in Alex) are investigating a mysterious set of deaths in a small village in Cornwall. They are tipped off by one of Sir James' top students, Dr Peter Thompson (Brook Williams). As soon as they arrive they fall foul of some hunters (evil red-jacketed fox-worriers) who are top buddies with the local squire (a suitably nefarious John Carson). Bandages, voodoo, bongo drums and plasticine dolls made by infant children all play a part in the proceedings. Mmm, looks like we've got a mystery on our hands...

You would expect the 1966 zombies to be, well, a bit useless. Some of them are, but there are some effective scenes. There is a brilliant image of Dr Pete's wife Alice, which is then followed up with some Evil Dead 2 style spade swinging. You also get the surprise appearance of Michael Myers at the end too. Bonus! Ah, no, it's just a zombie with a rather large mask on to stop him burning his face off. Never mind.

The weak link is Dr Pete. His acting is just a smidge above Mary's dad. Melodrama is not the word as he gets some rather upsetting news. I'm not sure that the laughs that ensued were that intentional. 

If Thatcher had seen this film she would probably have tried to implement the villain's scheme as a way of sacking all of the miners and getting some really cheap labour. Actually I wouldn't put it past the Cameron/Clegg duo. So don't send them a copy of this film in any way, shape or form. Okay?

(Average rating for the season so far = 5.9)

If you liked this you could also try:
Night of the Living Dead, Quatermass and the Pit, The Hound of the Baskervilles (1959).

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