Written by: Michael Den Boer on October 17th, 2009
BluRay released: October 27th, 2009
Approximate running time: 93 minutes
Aspect Ratio: 1.85:1 Widescreen / 1080 Progressive
Sound: Dolby TrueHD 7.1 English, DD-EX 5.1 English, Dolby Digital Mono English
Subtitles: English SDH, French, Spanish
BluRay Release: Blue Underground
Region Coding: Region 0
Retail Price: $29.95
Synopsis: Two strangers brought together by fate encounter a small village that has been overrun by the living dead who thrive on human flesh and an inept detective who blames them for the villages’ recent troubles.
Over the years The Living Dead at Manchester Morgue has been released under numerous aliases like Let Sleeping Corpses Lie, Zombie 3, Don’t Open the Window and Do Not Speak Ill of the Dead. Director Jorge Grau’s The Living Dead at Manchester Morgue may not be as well known as George Romero’s Night of the Living Dead or Lucio Fulci’s Zombie and yet the film is equally as impressive as these two films in every way. Visually The Living Dead at Manchester Morgue is filled with fluid, competent and stylishly photographed compositions that capture the right mood without ever overstating it.
The story moves along briskly with the zombie attacks being perfectly spread out and the film goes out with a bang with an all out feast of flesh in its final moments. The films MacGuffin a machine that sends signals to the recently departed which brings them back to life doesn’t ever feel too far-fetched or unbelievable. One thing about the film that really stood out for me was how the two leads Edna and George always were able to see the zombies who just happen to not be around when the law or anyone else arrived on the scene. It is almost like what is happening is only in their minds and a few moments in the films like when a young girl tries to bring Edna water almost suggest this theory.
The two main leads Cristina Galbó as Edna and Ray Lovelock as George are all superb in their various roles. The performance that is most memorable is Cristina Galbó as Edna. She does a first rate of conveying her characters downward spiral into madness. Acting wise my only gripe is Arthur Kennedy as The Inspector whose character is just a tad too aggressive that in every scene he appears he totally changes the scenes overall tone. Composer Giuliano Sorgini’s score is eerie and atmospheric. Ultimately The Living Dead at Manchester Morgue is deserving of its status as a classic zombie film with its ample amount of carnage and its clever ending that will leave you stunned.
The Living Dead at Manchester Morgue comes on a 50 GB dual layer BluRay. The film is presented in a 1080 progressive anamorphic widescreen. There have been four North American DVD releases of The Living Dead at Manchester Morgue, the first a limited edition and stand alone DVD release in 2000 were released by Anchor Bay under the title Let Sleeping Corpses Lie and the latter two were released by Blue Underground, a one disc release in 20007 (also under the title Let Sleeping Corpse Lie) and a two disc release in 2008 under the title The Living Dead at Manchester Morgue. The transfer for this BluRay release comes from the same Hi-Def source used for the 2008 two disc release from Blue Underground. The image for this BluRay release has a more natural looking layer of grain than what was present on previous releases of this film. Print damage, while there is some it is extremely minor. There are no problems with edge enhancement and DNR is kept in check. Colors look lucid and nicely saturated, flesh tones look accurate and black levels remain strong throughout.
This release comes with three audio options, a Dolby TrueHD 7.1 English, a DD-EX 5.1 English and a Dolby Digital Mono English. Removable English SDH, French and Spanish subtitles have been included. The DD-EX 5.1 English and a Dolby Digital Mono English audio mixes have been carried over from Blue Underground’s 2008 DVD release. These two tracks sound balanced and dialog is always clear. The only lossless audio track included with this release is a Dolby TrueHD 7.1 English which sounds the most dynamic of the three audio mixes. The bulk of this audio mix is concentrated from the front and center speakers with the more ambient sounds primarily coming from the rear channels. Removable English SDH, French and Spanish subtitles have been included.
All of the extras included on Blue Underground’s two disc release of The Living Dead at Manchester Morgue have been carried over and they are as follows. The director’s introduction before the film, the International trailer (3 minutes 51 seconds – anamorphic widescreen), the U.S. trailer (27 seconds – anamorphic widescreen), T.V. spot under the title “Don’t Open the Window” (32 seconds – anamorphic widescreen), Radio spots (2 minutes 8 seconds) and a stills gallery (2 minutes 53 seconds). The remaining extras are four interviews “Back to the Morgue” with director Jorge Grau (44 minutes 51 seconds – anamorphic widescreen – in Spanish with English subtitles), “Zombie Fighter” with actor Ray Lovelock (15 minutes 41 seconds – anamorphic widescreen – in Italian with English subtitles), “Zombie Maker” with Special Effects Artist Giannetoo De Rossi (16 minutes 05 seconds – anamorphic widescreen – in Italian with English subtitles) and an Interview with Director Jorge Grau from 2000 (20 minutes 27 seconds – letterboxed widescreen – in Spanish with English subtitles). The Ray Lovelock and Giannetoo De Rossi start off with each participant discussing various other projects they have worked on before discussing their experiences working on The Living Dead at Manchester Morgue. Some of the information that Jorge Grau covers in his interview from 2000 is repeated in his second interview titled “Back to the Morgue”. He discusses how he got involved in the project, the main cast members Arthur Kennedy, Christine Galbo, Ray Lovelock, why he cast Fernando Hilbeck for the all important role of being the first zombie seen in the film, the films special effects and the films various locations. All of the extras are presented in a standard definition. Overall The Living Dead at Manchester Morgue is another exceptional BluRay release from Blue Underground who continues to expand their ever growing collection of obscure cinema on BluRay.