|The villain appears in a pre-title|
sequence--but he's masked.
|A frightened Alice.|
Released in 1966, The Plague of the Zombies exhibits all the traits that made Hammer Films synonymous with horror cinema: a strong cast; an atmospheric setting; an interesting plot; and production values that disguise the modest budget.
|Andre Morell as Sir James.|
Director John Gilling filmed The Plague of the Zombies back-to-back with The Reptile. The films also share the same crew, the same setting, and some of the same performers (the most prominent of which is Pearce, who plays a more significant role in The Reptile). A journeyman director, Gilling brings surprising visual flair to The Plague of the Zombies. He employs an effective blue color scheme--from the deep-blue night sky to the blue-tinted zombies. The first zombie appearance is played for chills as the creature--almost silhouetted again the sky--tosses a woman's corpse toward Sylvia. Another effective scene has hands rising up out of the earth.
Hammer released The Plague of the Zombies on a double-bill with Dracula: Prince of Darkness, a fair entry in its usually entertaining Dracula series with Christopher Lee. The poster promised vampire fangs for the young male movie theatre patrons--so they could "bite back." The girls in the audience got "zombie glasses" to defend themselves. I'm still pondering the zombie glasses...it's pretty easy to recognize a zombie (especially if they're tinted blue and move in a lumbering fashion). So, I'm not sure if those glasses really provide much in the way of zombie protection.
This post is part of the Hammer Halloween Blogathon hosted by the Classic Film & TV Café. Click here view the complete blogathon schedule.