Lively, entertaining reviews of, and essays on, old and newer films and everything relating to them, written by professional author William Schoell.

Thursday, March 13, 2008

ZOMBIES OF MORA TAU


ZOMBIES OF MORA TAU (1957). Director Edward L. Cahn.

This cheapie creepy has a interesting premise. An old woman (Marjorie Eaton) lives in an isolated area of Africa where she has been told her husband has been seen walking about as one of the "living dead." He was only one of many over the years who tried to acquire an underwater treasure – diamonds – that is guarded by a whole slew of zombies. The woman not only hopes to find the man, but also to help his restless spirit move on by destroying the diamonds. Other characters include the old lady’s granddaughter (Autumn Russell), who has come for a visit, and an expedition of several people who hope to find the treasure. These individuals include Morris Ankrum and Alllison Hayes of Attack of the Fifty Foot Woman fame. Although in Woman Hayes displayed a fair amount of acting ability that made you wonder what else she could do, in Zombies her distinctly limited performance makes you understand why she wound up in movies like Woman – and Zombies. Still, she’s reasonably vivid as the trampy wife of the expedition’s leader (George Harrison), who she’s married to, but who doesn’t mind if she gives associate Gregg Palmer a passionate kiss right in front of him. Palmer is suitably beefy as the nominal hero. "You old hag!" Hayes shouts at Eaton, "You’re dead already and you don’t have sense enough to know it!" The production values are on a cheap TV show level, and one wishes that there had been some attempt to make the zombies a bit more horrific-looking, but they manage to provide enough suspenseful menace in the final scenes.

Verdict: Worth a look if you’re not expecting too much. **.

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