It’s time for another look at a classic Hammer horror film that’s currently available on our favourite format. Having taken a look at all of the recently released Hammer films by Studiocanal it’s now time to take a look at the ones that I missed reviewing which came out on Blu-ray back in 2012. So without further ado here’s my The Plague of the Zombies Blu-ray Review.
- The Plague of the Zombies (1966)
- Genre: Horror
- Directed by John Gilling
- Running Time: 90 Mins
- UK Rating 12
- Discs: 2 (Blu-ray & DVD)
- Released By Studiocanal
- Blu-ray Released: 18th June 2012
When people in a small Cornish village begin dying the local doctor, Dr Peter Tompson is at loss to the cause. He is hampered by the relatives refusal to give him permission to carry out any autopsies. He sends a letter to his former mentor Sir James Forbes (André Morell) who in turn decides to visit along with his daughter Sylvia (Diane Clare). However this is not London and the village is in effect run by Squire Clive Hamilton who seems to care little about the plight of the villagers.
The film is directed by John Gilling with the cinematography handled by Arthur Grant. This is Hammer at its best, it slowly ramps up the tension by giving a few glimpses of what’s to come before the climax that see’s André Morell take on the plague of Zombies. The camera angles are good, the sets work well enough even if they have been used in other productions, all of which gives a sense of foreboding. One of the most impressive sequences has to be the nightmare scene which is done brilliantly by director John Gilling.
Music / Audio Effects
The music is provided by none other than Hammer legend James Bernard. It’s fair to say he doesn’t disappoint, delivering a powerful and chilling score.
In fact this exactly the music you tend to think of when you think of Hammer, it big and dramatic in a similar way as in Dracula (1958) which is the biggest compliment I can give it. In short the music is fabulous and fits the film like a glove.
Acting / Characters
The acting is pretty good from all of the main players, but it’s André Morell that’s the real star of the show. He delivers a calm but powerful performance, he really does have a terrific screen presence.
Diane Clare as Sylvia Forbes is a woman in danger and seems fully aware of her situation but is simply powerless to resist. She plays this rather well and is a likeable enough character.
The local doctor Peter Tompson played by Brook Williams is a man that seems somewhat out of his depth and a little bewildered. That said he has just cause for feeling like this but if the film has any weak links it’s probably Brook Williams with a somewhat unconvincing display.
Moving on to the films bad guy Squire Hamilton played by John Carson, he’s plays it well with his traits being the strong, arrogant and stern type that is only interested in his own personal gain. You may also notice that his voice sounds incredibly like that of James Mason.
If like me you are a fan of Hammer films then the sight of Michael Ripper as the local Sergeant will be a pleasing one.
- André Morell as Sir James Forbes
- Diane Clare as Sylvia Forbes
- John Carson as Squire Clive Hamilton
- Brook Williams as Dr. Peter Tompson
- Jacqueline Pearce as Alice Mary Tompson
- Alexander Davion as Denver
- Michael Ripper as Sergeant Jack Swift
- Marcus Hammond as Tom Martinus
- Dennis Chinnery as Constable Christian
- Roy Royston as Vicar
- Ben Aris as John Martinus
Conclusion – The Plague of the Zombies Film Review
I’ll admit to having a soft spot for The Plague of the Zombies, I’ve always held it in high regard. Watching it again hasn’t altered that opinion. It really nails the Hammer vibe we all love and considering that it doesn’t have either Cushing or Lee starring that’s a pretty good feat. In fact André Morell is simply magnificent as Sir James Forbes, he’s a reassuring presence and a commanding one.
A so called B feature that actually outshines many of the main features Hammer put out, The Plague of the Zombies has to be one of best films to come from the Hammer stable. The story is a good one and direction is excellent as is the music which is provided by Hammer legend James Bernard. This really is a must see / own for any Hammer fan.
If you like my The Plague of the Zombies Blu-ray Review you may want to check out these films:
- Dracula: Prince Of Darkness (1966)
- Rasputin the Mad Monk (1966)
- Dr Jekyll and Sister Hyde (1971)
- Fear in the Night (1972)
- The Horror of Frankenstein (1970)
- To The Devil A Daughter (1976)
- Deadly Blessing (1981)
The Plague of the Zombies Blu-ray Review
Yet again Studiocanal impresses with another Hammer Blu-ray release. The picture quality is simply excellent with zero issues to report. The image is clean and sharp whilst the colours appear as they should.
On the extras front there’s an episode of World of Hammer that focuses on Mummies, Werewolves and the Living Dead whilst the documentary “Raising The Dead” provides the perfect insight into how the film came to be.
I recommend watching both of these documentaries whilst the feature into how the film has been restored is also worth of a look. All in all it’s another superb set of extras from Studiocanal.
- Raising The Dead (34 mins)
- The World of Hammer: Mummies, Werewolves and the Living Dead (25 mins)
- Restoration Comparison (5 mins)
On to my movie rating for The Plague of the Zombies (1966)
- Movie Rating: MUST SEE
- Blu-ray Picture: EXCELLENT
- Extras: EXCELLENT
The Plague of the Zombies (1966) is available now on Blu-ray.
For those of you yet to see the film I’ll leave you with a little taster…
Clip not be representative of the Blu-ray version
- Arrow Video September 2018 Blu-ray Releases
- Indicator September 2018 Blu-ray Releases
- Eureka Entertainment September 2018 Blu-ray Releases
So that’s concludes my The Plague of the Zombies Blu-ray review, if you have any thoughts on this film you can leave them in the comment section below:
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The Plague of the Zombies (1966) Blu-ray Review
Director(s): John Gilling
Actor(s): André Morell, Diane Clare, John Carson, Brook Williams, Jacqueline Pearce, Michael Ripper
- Movie Rating
- Blu-ray Picture Rating
The Plague of the Zombies has to be one of best films to come from the Hammer stable.