Zombies of Mora Tau – and -The Man who turned to Stone – 1957

This is another I am not familiar with but came across the title which was reminiscent of the type of ‘Horror’ film we would get in the late fifties.

Apparently it was very much a ‘B’ film – but I often found that such films can be enjoyable and entertaining in the sense that they are mainly focused on telling a straightforward story to a , hopefully, non critical audience because we expect less from it maybe.

This is the story of a group of ‘mad’ scientists all around 200 years old who have been kept alive by tapping the life-force of young girls – something they had discovered long ago. Because they need a constant supply of such women victims, they operate under the cover of running a Women’s Reformatory.

This seems to have been successful for them until a young and observant welfare worker joins the ranks of the staff and soon notices an unusually high number of deaths occurring. Charlotte Austin plays the welfare worker with Victor Jory top of the cast list as one of the scientists.

The story is that if the scientists does not get his ‘youthful fix’ they then turn to stone.

Apparently in the film as it reaches its conclusion, some of the make-up for the ones being turned to stone is not that convincing – maybe the already low budget didn’t run to more expense in that area.

It was definitely not the scariest or the most exciting, nor was the science ever really explained, and in a film like this it does not need to be, but for a B picture, it was entertaining and a nice little chiller that you could easily be watched more than once.

This film went out as a Double Bill with Zombies of Mora Tau (also known as The Dead That Walk

Zombies of Mora Tau told the story of a group of living-dead sailors who, years before, had attempted to steal treasures from an African Idol. These sailors have now the job of guarding the treasure where it is hidden under the sea.

A new expedition led by Gregg Palmer and Joel Ashley come in search of the forbidden gems

Zombies Of Mora Tau is not short on atmosphere. It sets its stall out early on, establishing the island as a dark and mysterious place, where zombies are such a part of the fabric of society that their appearance on the roadside is barely registered by the locals.

It’s version of Africa is brilliantly realised on a budget, it’s sprawling jungle feeling hot and oppressive, but it’s the European cemetery that really impresses. Full of the bodies of the unfortunate previous expeditions to find diamonds, it’s wonderfully creepy and feels like a gothic Universal-style graveyard transplanted into the deepest, darkest jungle. It’s stunning and has all the more impact coming in a film that you aren’t expecting so much from.

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