Thursday, April 28, 2022

The Living Dead at Manchester Morgue: Standard Edition – Synapse Films (Blu-ray)

Theatrical Release Date: Spain/Italy, 1974
Director: Jorge Grau
Writers: Juan Cobos, Sandro Continenza, Marcello Coscia, Miguel Rubio
Cast: Cristina Galbó, Ray Lovelock, Arthur Kennedy, Aldo Massasso, Giorgio Trestini, Roberto Posse, José Lifante, Jeannine Mestre, Gengher Gatti, Fernando Hilbeck

Release Date: June 7th, 2022
Approximate Running Time: 92 Minutes 57 seconds
Aspect Ratio: 1.85:1 Widescreen / 1080 Progressive / MPEG-4 AVCC
Rating: NR
Sound: DTS-HD 5.1 English, DTS-HD Mono English
Subtitles: English SDH
Region Coding: Region Free
Retail Price: $34.95

"A strange twist of fate brings two young travelers, George (Ray Lovelock, The Cassandra Crossing) and Edna (Christine Galbo, The House That Screamed), to a small town where an experimental agricultural machine may be bringing the dead back to life! As zombies infest the area and attack the living, a bullheaded detective (Academy Award® nominee Arthur Kennedy, Peyton Place) thinks the couple are Satanists responsible for the local killings. George and Edna have to fight for their lives, and prove their innocence, as they try and stop the impending zombie apocalypse!" - synopsis provided by the distributor

Video: 5/5

Here’s the information provided about this release's transfer, “Exclusive new 4K restoration from the original 35mm camera negative”.

The Living Dead at Manchester Morgue comes on a 50 GB dual layer Blu-ray.

Disc Size: 41.5 GB

Feature: 26.8 GB

The source used for this transfer looks immaculate; color saturation is very good, image clarity, contrast, and shadow detail are rock solid, and the grain looks organic. When compared to Blue Underground's 2009 Blu-ray, this new transfer is superior in every way.

Audio: 4.5/5 (DTS-HD Mono English), 4.25/5 (DTS-HD 5.1 English)

This release comes with two audio options, a DTS-HD 5.1 mix in English and a DTS-HD mono mix in English. Both the audio mixes are in excellent shape; the dialog comes through clearly, everything sounds balanced, and the ambient sounds are well-represented. Of these two audio tracks, the mono track is superior. Included with this release are removable English subtitles.


Extras for this release include a theatrical trailer (3 minutes 51 seconds, Dolby Digital mono English, no subtitles), two TV spots under the title Don't Open the Window (57 seconds, Dolby Digital mono English, no subtitles), two radio spots under the title Don't Open the Window (2 minutes 7 seconds, Dolby Digital mono English, no subtitles), a Q&A at the Festival of Fantastic Films, UK with makeup artist Giannetto De Rossi (42 minutes 29 seconds, Dolby Digital stereo English with removable English subtitles), an interview with Giannetto De Rossi titled The Scene of the Crime (15 minutes 24 seconds, Dolby Digital stereo English with removable English subtitles), a documentary that explores the life and films of director Jorge Grau titled Jorge Grau - Catalonia’s Cult Film King (88 minutes 58 seconds, Dolby Digital stereo English and Spanish with non-removable English subtitles for Spanish), an audio commentary with Troy Howarth, and an audio commentary with Nathaniel Thompson and Bruce Holecheck.


The Living Dead in Manchester The Morgue, like most Euro-cult horror films, was released under a number of alternate titles, including Let Sleeping Corpses Lie, Don't Open the Window, Do Not Speak Ill of the Dead, and Zombie 3.

Though Jorge Grau’s The Living Dead at Manchester Morgue may not be as well known as George A. Romero’s Dawn of the Dead or Lucio Fulci’s Zombie, It is an equally impressive living death that deserves to reach a larger audience. 

The Living Dead at Manchester Morgue is an environmental-themed horror film. The narrative revolves around an unlikely couple who are brought together by chance. And along the way, they discover that there’s a machine whose signal brings the dead back to life.

And though this premise requires viewers to take a leap of faith, The way in which most of the zombie attacks happen makes the premise easier to accept. When no one else is around, the zombies usually appear to the two main characters, George and Edna.

The cast delivers strong performances, particularly Cristina Galbó (What Have You Done to Solange?) in the role of Edna. She delivers a first rate performance that captures her character's downward spiral into madness. Acting wise, my only gripe is Arthur Kennedy’s (The Tough Ones) portrayal of a police inspector. 

From a production standpoint, The Living Dead at Manchester Morgue is a film that maximizes its resources. The narrative moves along briskly with the zombie attacks being perfectly spread out, and The Living Dead at Manchester Morgue goes out with a bang with an all-out feast of flesh in its final moments. Other strengths include stylish visuals that are overflowing with atmosphere, a solid sound design, and an excellent score that heightens the mood that perfectly captures the mood. Ultimately, The Living Dead at Manchester Morgue deserves its status as a classic zombie film with its ample amount of carnage and a jarring ending that puts an exclamation point on the events that preceded it.

The Living Dead at Manchester Morgue gets an exceptional release from Synapse Films that comes with a solid audio/video presentation and an abundance of insightful extras, highly recommended.

Written by Michael Den Boer

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