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When a village in Corenwall is struck by mysterious deaths aplenty,
the local doctor Peter Thompson (Brook Williams) calls in his mentor at
the university Sir James (Andre Morrell), who, upon arriving with
daughter Sylvia (Diane Clare), soon notices not everything is quite alright, this only
underlined by the fact that the region's squire, Hamilton (John Carson),
expressly forbids any of the dead bodies to undergo an autopsy. &
whille Sir James decides to dig up the bodies on his own, Peter's wife
Julia (Jacqueline Pearce) has fallen under a spell laid upon her by
Hamilton & is drawn to his castle. Sylvia, who follows her, is
abducted by Hamilton's men & only saved by him in the nick of time,
& while walking home sees a zombie dropping Julia's corpse right in
front of her. Sir James & Peter meanwhile encounter some shocks all
of their own at the cemetery, first being almost imprisoned by 2
policemen (Michael Ripper, Dennis Chinnery), then discovering the graves
are empty. The next day, after Julia has been buried & the men stand
guard at the cemetery (& soon have to decapitate Julia when she
awakes as a zombie), Hamilton drops by Sylvia's & puts some hoodoo
on her. But soon all the parts of the mystery fall into the right places
& Sir James goes to confront Hamilton (who has learned voodoo during
his stay on Haiti) with all the facts & his founded suspicions.
Hamilton throws him out, but this is just as well, since Sir James took
the precaution of leaving a window open in order to reenter the mansion
again at will - which he does. Anyway, when fighting one of Hamilton's
minion, he sets the place on fire & seems to be locked in, while
Sylvia is magically drawn to the mansion. However, in the end, partly
thanks to Peter, both Sir James & Sylvia are saved while Hamilton is
burnt with his zombies in the mine he had them work in.
atmospheric & spooky zombie movie, which did in part set the tone
for many more visceral zombie-features to come (especially the
dream-sequence on the graveyard with all the zombies emerging from their
graves, has been copied countless times), but this one also adds a
dimension of suspense & mystery to the proceedings quite nicely.