Thursday, April 23, 2009

Sex with the Headless Corpse of the Virgin Astronaut

Giuliano Sorgini - John Dalton Street [ysi]

“John Dalton Street”, the main theme from The Living Dead at the Manchester Morgue (or Non si deve profanare il sonno dei morti in the original Italian) is rather gorgeous considering that it’s taken from a film that was classified a video nasty in the run up to the Video Recordings Act of 1984. But then, of the original list of 74 nasties, only eleven are now banned outright (mainly for showing Nazis molesting women), with Manchester Morgue passing uncut on reclassification in 1992.

In truth it’s not that gory, but it is tense and is one of the few proper zombie films set in Britain prior to 28 Days Later and Sean of the Dead, albeit a Britain shot partly in Italy by a Spanish Director and with an almost entirely Italian cast who seem to have been given only the direction; to look as much as possible like they have never visited the country. Even English sounding star Ray Lovelock was actually born and raised in Italy. More strangely there’s an inexplicably American police inspector played by Arthur Kennedy, an actor who pretty much appears as that-one-American-guy in Italian movies after roles at home dried up. In this film he is, as you’d want an American cop washing up an Anglo backwater to be, a supreme dick: “You’re all the same the lot of you with your long hair and faggot clothes, drugs, sex and every sort of filth. And you hate the police don’t you?” “You make it easy”, Lovelock reasonably replies.

Despite the title, the bulk of the film plays out in the ‘Lake District’ with only the most cinematically exciting part of the film—which is actually the title sequence—taking place in Manchester as Lovelock closes up his antique shop, wraps a scarf around his face then escapes on his motorbike from a Manchester shown to be almost more apocalyptic than the zombie filled countryside. Under acid skies he steers his bike through smoke-belching traffic jams, surgically masked passers-by, dead birds and a flasher, before passing through desolate industrial zones before reaching the calm of the countryside.

Giuliano Sorgini is mainly known as a library composer (though his imdb listing does include tantalising sounding soundtracks for Porno-Erotic Western and Naked Exorcism and the breakbeats, jaunty flute and mile-marker strings of “John Dalton Street” could pass for a library track called “Escape” or suchlike if it wasn’t for the almost subliminal atonal organ and the rattling percussion that stays a few moments too long for comfort.

The title sequence isn’t on YouTube, but here’s a video by the heavy-as-fuck Electric Wizard which incorporates some parts of it:

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