Movie of the Week: The Living Dead at the Manchester Morgue

A longtime favorite of mine, long before I had youtube, or even a home computer. I first found it as a  bootleg VHS dub of a Japanese laserdisc (dubbed into English with Japanese subtitles) at the hipster video rental store. To add to the cultural dissonance, this Spanish / Italian co-production was filmed in the U.K., and amassed 16 different titles from the various distributors around the world. I'm simply using my favorite title for this blog post. On Netflix it goes by Let Sleeping Corpses Lie, even though when it played theatrically here in America it was titled Don't Open the Window.

If you haven't seen this before, or even heard of it, then you might be surprised by the quality of filmmaking. This isn't a Lucio Fulci imitation, it's something more competent, even intelligent (it was also made in '74, years before Fulci or anyone else in Europe started doing Zombie movies, so I don't know of any precedents besides George Romero). Why it isn't more famous is a mystery to me, because it's excellent.

Extra Trivia: Edgar Wright allegedly used its U.S. trailer as the inspiration for his phony trailer Don't in the 2007 film Grindhouse. 


Movie of the Week: Return of the Living Dead (1985)

In the Summer of 1985 I turned 16, and Return of the Living Dead came to theaters. My two friends and I gained admission to the film without adult chaperones, a sizable victory for boys our age. We sat behind three girls. As the film started, one girl whispered something in her friend's ear. The friend turned around and gave me a cursory once-over, then turned back and said, clearly, "his hair is too long". And I sat there, beaming, "someone almost liked me."

The TV spot used the song Partytime by 45 Grave. 

Not a good song in retrospect, but it inspired me to buy the soundtrack LP, which shifted my interest from heavy metal to punk rock in a matter of weeks. From there it was the Repo Man soundtrack (the ultimate 80's punk primer), then Black Flag's Damaged album, then the Dead Kennedys and the Cramps, beginning a lifelong pursuit of authenticity and originality in music. And then I shaved my long hair down to a buzz cut.