Nope, not the Rocky Erickson song, although that one is awesome. Huge, bulking zombies (with the head scars to prove it) come and attack different powerful people and murder them by bending the bodies like they were breadsticks. It turns out a German scientist (they were always German after WW2) has been hired by a mobster who wants revenge on the people who sent him to jail. With their luminescent fingerprints and blood, the zombies always leave carnage behind. It’s up to Dr. Chet Walker (Richard Denning) to solve the mystery.
Wow, what a movie. It’s hard to believe there were zombie movies before Night Of The Living Dead, but yes they were. Some good (Plague Of The Zombies, White Zombie), some bad (Plan 9 From Outer Space, Zombies of Mora Tau). This one is in between, taking interesting themes but being too cheesy to be taken any seriously. The problem is that the movie is ridiculously pulpy. This normally wouldn’t be a problem, since I like that stuff, but this makes serials like King Of The Rocket Men, Spy Smasher and The Purple Monster Strikes look like Casablanca. The villains are way too clichéd, and their acting isn’t very good, particularly from Michael Granger, who plays the least intimidating Mafia boss on Earth. Half the time he looks drunk and like he doesn’t know where he is.
Still, it’s hard to hate a movie like this, since it is pretty damn entertaining. The zombies are cool and the death scenes are very gruesome, at least considering this was the 50’s. The movie’s lead, Richard Denning, is also a big part of what makes the film good. He was an actor who is more famous for starring in Creature From The Black Lagoon as the power-driven Mark Williams. He was in a lot of 50’s B-movies, some not so good, but he was able to give the material some real class and make it rise above, in films like The Black Scorpion and The Day The World Ended. So if you want to know what zombies were like before Romero got in the game, check this one out.