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Alternate titles:

 

(aka "Let Sleeping Corpses Lie" or "Don't Open the Window" or "Breakfast at Manchester Morgue")

 

directed by Jorge Grau
Spain/Italy 1974

 

London antiques dealer George (Ray Lovelock, OASIS OF FEAR) travels by motorcycle to Manchester to join some friends for the holidays. When Edna (Cristina Galbo, THE HOUSE THAT SCREAMED) accidentally damages his bike, George insists that he take her to his destination but Edna is on her way to take her heroin-addicted sister Katie (Jeannine Mestre) to rehab. When they stop for directions at a farm where a new ultrasonic pest control device is being used experimentally, Edna is accosted by a mysterious tramp named Guthrie (Fernando Hilbeck) who supposedly drowned weeks ago. George and Edna arrive at her sister's and find her brother-in-law murdered and her sister hysterical. The intolerant inspector (Arthur Kennedy) looks at Katie's addict behavior and George's long hair and sees them as suspects (as opposed to the drowned tramp). While Katie is taken to the local hospital (where newborn babies have suddenly turned violent), George and Edna's private investigation takes them to the cemetery where they discover that Guthrie and other recently dead people have risen with a craving for flesh. George and Edna escape from a massacre at the cemetery and the inspector believes they are responsible. Suspecting that the pest control device has something to do with the rising corpses, George heads over to the farm to stop it while Edna rushes to the hospital to be with her sister. George discovers that the range of the machine has been increased and he rushes to the hospital just as the morgue full of corpses start to stir.

Pre-dating DAWN OF THE DEAD by four years, this gory, color-filled variation on NIGHT OF THE LIVING DEAD has a marvelous setting (exteriors in England, interiors in Rome) and a chilly atmosphere which builds up nicely from gothic horror to all-out gorefest. Director Jorge Grau originally wanted to direct a film about Elizabeth Bathroy but producer Edmondo Amati asked him to do NIGHT OF THE LIVING DEAD in color. Grau agreed but the result is not simply a concession (Amati rewarded him for his work by producing his Elizabeth Bathory film CEREMONIA SANGRIENTA). The zombies are creepy (the first appearance of Guthrie is startling) and the wintry open landscapes are suitably chilly and are just as creepy as the claustrophobic interiors of locked tombs, barricaded rectories, and besieged hospitals (thanks in part to cinematographer Francisco Sempere who effectively employs wide angle lenses in horror scenes to emphasize depth when zombies thrust their hands or battering objects towards the camera). The three leads (Lovelock, Galbo, and Kennedy) are no strangers to Euro horror and acquit themselves nicely. The effects were created by Giannetto de Rossi (HIGH TENSION) who is better known for his gory work on Lucio Fulci's highly successful, unofficial DAWN OF THE DEAD sequel ZOMBI 2 (DAWN was called ZOMBIE in Italy). Apart from a cool main title theme, Giuliano Sorgini's score was largely jettisoned in favor of natural sound effects and the asthmatic breathing of the zombies (the film was one of the first Spanish stereophonic film - although the original English mix was mono).

Eric Cotenas

Posters

Theatrical Release: 1974

Reviews       More Reviews      DVD Reviews

Comparison:

Anchor Bay Entertainment - Region 1 - NTSC vs. Anchor Bay (UK) - Region 2 - PAL vs. Blue Underground - Region FREE - Blu-ray

Big thanks to Eric Cotenas and for the DVD Screen Caps!

1) Anchor Bay Entertainment - Region 1 - NTSC - LEFT

2) Anchor Bay (UK) - Region 2 - PAL - MIDDLE

3) Blue Underground - Region FREE - Blu-ray - RIGHT

 

DVD Box Covers

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Distribution

Anchor Bay Entertainment

Region 1 - NTSC

Anchor Bay (UK)
Region 2 - PAL
Blue Underground
Region FREE -
Blu-ray
Runtime 1:32:42 1:29:00 (4% PAL speedup) 1:32:50.106
Video

1.84:1 Original Aspect Ratio

16X9 enhanced
Average Bitrate: 6.61 mb/s
NTSC 720x480 29.97 f/s

1.86:1 Original Aspect Ratio

16X9 enhanced
Average Bitrate: 7.39 mb/s
PAL 720x576 25.00 f/s

1080P / 23.976 fps Dual-layered Blu-ray

Disc Size: 37,047,039,238 bytes

Feature: 30,247,256,064 bytes

Video Bitrate: 37.98 Mbps

Codec: MPEG-4 AVC Video

NOTE: The Vertical axis represents the bits transferred per second. The Horizontal is the time in minutes.

Bitrate:

 

Anchor Bay Entertainment

 

Bitrate:

 

Anchor Bay (UK)

 

Bitrate:

 

Blue Underground Blu-ray

 

Audio English (Dolby Digital 5.1); English (Dolby Digital 2.0 Surround)

English (Dolby Digital 5.1); English (Dolby Digital

DTS-HD Master Audio English 2268 kbps 7.1 / 48 kHz / 2268 kbps / 16-bit (DTS Core: 5.1 / 48 kHz / 1509 kbps / 16-bit)
Subtitles none none English, French, Spanish, none
Features Release Information:
Studio: Anchor Bay Entertainment

Aspect Ratio:
Widescreen anamorphic - 1.84:1

Edition Details:
• Interview with director Jorge Grau (4:3; 20:24; viewable with or without subtitles)
• TV Spot (16:9; 0:27)
• Radio Spots (2:08)
• Poster and Still Gallery

DVD Release Date: October 24, 2000
Amaray

Chapters 26
 

Release Information:
Studio: Anchor Bay (UK)

Aspect Ratio:
Widescreen anamorphic - 1.86:1

Edition Details:
• Interview with director Jorge Grau (4:3; 20:24)
• 2 Alternate Opening Title
• International Trailer (4:3; 3:45)
• DON'T OPEN THE WINDOW trailer (4:3; 0:30)
• DON'T OPEN THE WINDOW TV spot (4:3; 0:24)
• Radio Spots (2:06)
• Poster and Still Gallery

 

DVD Release Date: 27 May 2002
Amaray

Chapters 24

Release Information:
Studio: Blue Underground

 

1080P / 23.976 fps Dual-layered Blu-ray

Disc Size: 37,047,039,238 bytes

Feature: 30,247,256,064 bytes

Video Bitrate: 37.98 Mbps

Codec: MPEG-4 AVC Video

 

Edition Details:
• Back to the Morgue: On location with director Jorge Grau (44:51 in SD)
• Zombie Fighter: Interview with star Ray Lovelock (15:41 in SD!)
• Zombie Maker: Interview with special effects artist Giametto De Rossi (16:05 in SD!)
• 2000 interviews with
Jorge Grau (20:27)
• Theatrical trailer (3:51 in HD!)
• TV Spots (2:06)
• Poster and Still Gallery

 

Blu-ray Release Date: October 27th, 2009
Standard Blu-ray case

Chapters 20

 

Comments

NOTE: The below Blu-ray captures were ripped directly from the Blu-ray disc.

ADDITION: Blue Underground - Region FREE Blu-ray - October09: We don't have the 2008 Blue Underground 2-disc DVD to compare but thought looking beside these older DVDs would be somewhat revealing.

Blue Underground are continuing to produce some excellent 1080P transfers. This is a significant improvement over SD - rendered to a dual-layered Blu-ray disc with a very high video bitrate. I can't imagine this film will look much better for your home theater viewing. Detail takes a significant leap forward, as do colors -especially blood reds - it is much brighter, and while there is some movement, the Blu-ray has more information in the frame. The DVD is so dark at times that detail is lost in the background. The hi-def  fluctuates between a modest, but always notable improvement, to an extravagant and appreciative one.

The DTS-HD Master 7.1 2268 kbps in English is quite good as well with acceptance to the limitations of the moderate production standards when it was made. The mix has some subtle and not-so-subtle ambitions to the rear speakers and they give the presentation that extra edge of creepiness. It's certainly no demo track but the manifestations of HD audio give that much more crispness and buoyancy - but not enough to distance it from it's pragmatic roots. I think this is a good thing. Bass won't punch like, say, Transformers - but this is to be expected. There are optional English, Spanish and French subtitle choices and my Momitsu has identified it as being a region FREE disc playable on Blu-ray machines worldwide.

Extras appear to mimic the Blue Underground 2007 DVD release with a 45-minute piece, in SD, entitled Back to the Morgue which goes back to visit locations of the film shoot with reminiscences by director Jorge Grau. Zombie Fighter is a 15-minute interview with a healthy looking Ray Lovelock - star of the film. Zombie Maker is an interview with special effects artist Giametto De Rossi running just over 15-minutes and there is a 2000 interview with Jorge Grau running over 20-minutes. The only HD extra is the 4-minute theatrical trailer, There are also a couple of minutes of TV Spots, plus a poster and still gallery. Short of a commentary this is a decent set of supplements.

While Blue Underground may not be producing my favorite genre of films - I am evolving to be a big fan of their work and intend to cover as many of their future releases as I can. These films have an exploitive yet simple charisma that kind of grows on you. Fans, though, shouldn't hesitate - this is another excellent effort in HD transfers - recommended!

- Gary W. Tooze

***

ON THE DVDs: Both DVDs offer progressive, anamorphic transfers of the uncut export version (the film was heavily cut by the BBFC on its previous video release). Although the Anchor Bay UK disc has a higher bitrate, the Anchor Bay US DVD looks like it may have been sharpened slightly. Both the 5.1 and 2.0 surround downmix are enveloping and not too gimicky (this was one of the first Spanish stereophonic films but the original English mix was in mono). Both discs feature the same "exclusive" interview and TV spot for the Hallmark DON'T OPEN THE WINDOW release as well as radio spots but the Anchor Bay UK disc offers a few more extras (sourced by Marc Morris). There are two alternate title sequences for the DON'T OPEN THE WINDOW and LIVING DEAD AT MANCHESTER MORGUE prints and a LIVING DEAD AT MANCHESTER MORGUE trailer (making use of psychedelic opticals typical of Italian trailers of the time) as well as a trailer for DON'T OPEN THE WINDOW that does not differ much from the TV spot. The still and poster galleries are the same. Besides these extras, the UK disc comes with a thick booklet of liner notes on the film while the US DVD just has a cardboard insert with a chapter listing on one side and the German poster on the other. Both DVDs represent the film well.

Visitors to Amazon.com and Amazon.co.uk will come across these alternate editions: a barebones UK reissue by Anchor Bay (HERE - 25 Sep 2006), a limited edition tin from Anchor Bay (HERE - October 24, 2000), a Blue Underground port of US disc (HERE - April 24, 2007), and Blue Underground's subsequent 2 disc issue which features an SD downconversion of an HD
transfer and extras not seen on the previous editions (HERE - February 26, 2008).

 - Eric Cotenas

 



DVD Menus
1) Anchor Bay Entertainment - Region 1 - NTSC - LEFT vs. Anchor Bay (UK) - Region 2 - PAL - RIGHT)
 

 

Blue Underground - Region FREE - Blu-ray

 


 

CLICK EACH BLU-RAY CAPTURE TO SEE ALL IMAGES IN FULL 1920X1080 RESOLUTION

 

Screen Captures

 

1) Anchor Bay Entertainment - Region 1 - NTSC - TOP

2) Anchor Bay (UK) - Region 2 - PAL - MIDDLE

3) Blue Underground - Region FREE - Blu-ray - BOTTOM

 

 


1) Anchor Bay Entertainment - Region 1 - NTSC - TOP

2) Anchor Bay (UK) - Region 2 - PAL - MIDDLE

3) Blue Underground - Region FREE - Blu-ray - BOTTOM

 

 


1) Anchor Bay Entertainment - Region 1 - NTSC - TOP

2) Anchor Bay (UK) - Region 2 - PAL - MIDDLE

3) Blue Underground - Region FREE - Blu-ray - BOTTOM

 

 


1) Anchor Bay Entertainment - Region 1 - NTSC - TOP

2) Anchor Bay (UK) - Region 2 - PAL - MIDDLE

3) Blue Underground - Region FREE - Blu-ray - BOTTOM

 

 


1) Anchor Bay Entertainment - Region 1 - NTSC - TOP

2) Anchor Bay (UK) - Region 2 - PAL - MIDDLE

3) Blue Underground - Region FREE - Blu-ray - BOTTOM

 

 


1) Anchor Bay Entertainment - Region 1 - NTSC - TOP

2) Anchor Bay (UK) - Region 2 - PAL - MIDDLE

3) Blue Underground - Region FREE - Blu-ray - BOTTOM

 

 


1) Anchor Bay Entertainment - Region 1 - NTSC - TOP

2) Anchor Bay (UK) - Region 2 - PAL - MIDDLE

3) Blue Underground - Region FREE - Blu-ray - BOTTOM

 

 

 

More Blu-ray Captures

 


 

Report Card:

 

Image:

Blu-ray

Sound:

Blu-ray

Extras: Blue Underground (Blu-ray and 2 disc SD-DVD)
Menu:

 
DVD Box Covers

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Distribution

Anchor Bay Entertainment

Region 1 - NTSC

Anchor Bay (UK)
Region 2 - PAL
Blue Underground
Region
FREE - Blu-ray



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