A Cornish squire invokes ancient voodoo rituals to raise zombies from the dead, intending to use them to work his tin mines. However, when the cult which builds up around the zombies is threatened with exposure, it responds by attempting to sacrifice the suspicious parties...
A Victorian Cornish tin-mining village suffers a series of mysterious deaths and the local doctor's old professor, Sir James Forbes (Andre Morell), comes to investigate. Graves are empty, a man who has just been buried is seen on the moors and the Squire is up to his neck in camp voodoo rituals. Though containing one genuinely disturbing graveyard sequence involving the undead, The Plague of the Zombies
is more a feverish black-magic thriller, the real threat coming from the malevolent Squire Clive Hamilton (John Carson) and his upper-class cronies. Indeed, the portrayal of fox-hunters as shockingly brutal thugs is remarkable for 1966, and while the genre horror is dated, the real horror is in the extreme class warfare which drives the plot. Less famous than Hammer's Dracula and Frankenstein films, this is nevertheless a gripping, stylish picture from The Studio that Dripped Blood. Depending not on gore but on story, acting and atmosphere, it continues the tradition of Val Lewton's I Walked With a Zombie
(1943) and, pre-dating The Night of the Living Dead
(1968), is the last old-style zombie classics. Blake's Seven
fans will be delighted by an early lead role for Jacqueline Pearce (Servalan), who the same year starred in Hammer's The Reptile
. --Gary S. Dalkin