Zombies of Mora Tau (1957) – Edward L. Cahn

Terrible sets, silly walking dead, and a goofy story are all components of the next film in DK Canada’s Monsters in the Movies book.

A group of treasure hunters arrive on the coast of Africa to recover the cargo of a sunken ship, a cache of diamonds to make them all rich. Unfortunately the ship, the diamonds, and the surrounding are overseen by the crew. The long dead (sixty years now) and drowned crew.

The treasure hunters are cardboard at best, characters including the leader of their expedition, George Harrison (not that George Harrison but Joel Ashley). He’s a tycoon who has no problem treating his wife, Mona (Allison Hayes) roughly… something I’m sure that may be remedied when she’s turned.

The crew are cursed and will haunt, and stalk those who would take their treasure until the curse is lifted. The zombies walk slowly, can attack under water (which is cool) and we are constantly reminded by an elderly grandmother (Marjorie Eaton) that they are scared of fire.

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Running just over an hour this one is delightfully silly, not very engaging, and no doubt inspired lots of play for the youngsters who saw this one at the Saturday matinee. The ‘underwater’ sequences are just too much fun – because you just walk and move really slowly.

I like the idea of these unstoppable zombies (bullets won’t stop them at all apparently), they just keep coming back, and will continue to do so until the curse is broken. But will Harrison and his crew be able to take them on, and win? Will they be able to put the crew to rest and get rich art the same time?

The grandmother, whose granddaughter Jan (Autumn Russell) has fallen in love with one of the expedition members, Jeff (Gregg Palmer), tells them that they will only be safe from the zombies, and they will have their rest, if they destroy the diamonds.

Or apparently, if you’re running out of film, just toss them into the ocean… because that’s the same thing (even though they were just brought up from the ocean… anyway…).

It’s interesting watching these early zombie films, because shortly the landscape of the zombie film changed, becoming more terrifying, and sometimes brilliantly funny at the same time, but right now, as we journey through the 50s during the heyday of cheap Saturday matinee filler, they are definitely creatures of a different kind.

Let’s see how they continue to grown and change as I continue to explore the macabre pages of DK Books’ Monsters in the Movies.

Pick one up and find something spooky to watch tonight!

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