End of an era: Plague of the Zombies

Posted by Cory Casciato On February - 20 - 2009

plaguezombiesFamed studio Hammer weighed in on the undead menace with Plague of the Zombies in 1966, just a few short years before Romero changed the genre forever. The excellent reference book The Zombie Movie Encyclopedia gives this move credit for pioneering zombies as decaying and hostile. Plotwise, it focuses on an evil squire’s plot to murder townsfolk so he can use their reanimated corpses in his tin mine and the efforts of a couple of doctors to stop him. It’s a fun, unintentionally campy movie that goes to show that whatever their failings, studios such as Hammer had the fundamentals of filmmaking down pretty well. It moves along at a decent clip (for its era, probably a bit slow for modern tastes); the acting, direction and editing are all competent or better; and the story isn’t completely full of holes. Even if it wasn’t a solid, well-executed zombie movie, it would be worthwhile to zombie fans for its historical value as both an early champion of the decaying, murderous zombies we’ve come to know and love, and as one of the very last zombie films made before Romero supercharged the zombie mythos with Night of the Living Dead. There’s a nice decapitation in it, too, which certainly doesn’t hurt its appeal.

One Response to “End of an era: Plague of the Zombies

  1. […] 1) Plague of the Zombies (1966) – One of the last zombie films made before Romero indelibly stamped his mark on the genre is also one of the best. Famed British studio Hammer delved into the zombie mythos, setting a pretty standard (for the time) “zombie master makes zombie slaves, doctor investigates” plot in the British countryside (turns out the zombie-master guy studied abroad) for Plague of the Zombies. Lots of locals die, the graves get empty and the local powerful guy has lots of zombie slaves for his tin mine, until the enterprising young doctor and his older mentor look into the epidemic. The zombies in this look good — modern enough to work in many a current zombie flick! Plus they are aggressive and murderous and there’s a fantastic decapitation. Apart from the lack of flesh eating, it could almost be a modern zombie movie. Almost. Plus, I’ve always had a soft spot for Hammer horror. (Review Here) […]

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