October Horror Movie Challenge: THE DEAD DON’T DIE (1975)


Groove to this funky TV movie’s beat and your evening shall not go unrewarded. A team-up of director Curtis Harrington and author Robert Bloch acting as screenwriter–both previously of the similar boob tube effort THE CAT CREATURE (1973)–results in this putrescent potboiler that time has instilled with some kitsch since its initial broadcast in January 1975. George Hamilton, looking just as crispy as ever, headlines this Prohibition-era piece as a returning sailor from the Navy who begins to do some investigating into the murder of his sister-in-law that landed his brother in the hot seat at the state penitentiary. What he finds is, naturally, an evil cult of the living dead headed by a shadowy sorcerer known only as Varek who has a plot to TAKE OVER THE WORLD. This programmer is not without its charms, but even more patient viewers may find it lacking in any real action even to justify its 72-minute running time. It certainly doesn’t help if you’re watching the version that has been uploaded to Youtube. With no current home market release, it may be the best that you may be able to do for awhile, and by best we mean a scratchy, pixellated mess that was probably copied off an old VHS tape that has a dream sequence full of so much blocky darkness that you won’t be able to tell what the frak is going on. Ray Milland and Ralph Meeker are on hand but by this time both were in their genre slumming periods and their time on screen is sadly not their (or anyone else’s) finest hour. But you get what you pay for with this one, and if you came here to see hollow-cheeked creep extraordinaire Reggie Nalder do his monster-thang than you won’t be totally stiffed.

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