Plague of the Zombies, The (1966)

“This disease seems to me to be more mental than physical.”

Plague of the Zombies Poster

A young doctor (Brook Williams) in a 19th century Cornish village summons the help of his mentor (Andre Morell) in determining the cause of a mysterious plague killing off his patients. When Dr. Forbes (Morell) arrives with his plucky grown daughter (Diane Clare), they are distressed to notice that Williams’ wife (Jacqueline Pearce) — who is enamored by a local squire (John Carson) — seems sickly. Meanwhile, when attempting to conduct an autopsy, Morell and Williams discover that graves are being exhumed and bodies are missing.


Hammer Studios’ foray into zombie films evokes visceral memories of Val Lewton’s I Walked With a Zombie (1943) and foreshadows certain visual elements of George Romero’s Night of the Living Dead (1968). On its own, it remains a reasonably effective, historically situated horror flick with fine cinematography and direction — particularly during a green-tinted mid-film zombie sequence which emerges as a freaky surprise and is genuinely disturbing. Other elements of the narrative strain credulity or are overly obvious, but that’s par for the course in a genre flick like this.

Note: Deep-voiced Carson — who film fanatics may recognize as Captain Kronos’ vampire-fighting partner — sounds remarkably like James Mason, don’t you think?

Redeeming Qualities and Moments:

  • Effective cinematography (by Arthur Grant) and direction (by John Gilling)
    Plague of the Zombies Cinematography1
    Plague of the Zombies Cinematography2
  • The spooky mid-film zombie sequence
    Plague of the Zombies Dream
    Plague of the Zombies Dream2

Must See?
No, but it’s recommended for fans of zombie flicks.


One Response to “Plague of the Zombies, The (1966)”

  1. Not must-see, but not terrible; a reasonably engaging flick throughout (some logic-dropping notwithstanding…like, for example, why exactly is all of this happening?). It’s served up well, production-wise, but it really should be better than it is.

    And, yes, Carson (esp. here) does sound a *lot* like James Mason. One might almost think that, as a boy, he sat in movie theaters for all-day showings of whatever Mason movie he was watching. Though Mason does have a very distinct voice – one that wouldn’t be hard to mimic, if one has the talent to do so.

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