Within a remote eighteenth century Cornish village, an evil presence lurks within the darkness of the witching hour, a mysterious plague relentlessly taking lives at an unstoppable rate. Unable to find the cause, Dr Peter Thompson enlists the help of Professor James Forbes. Desperate to find an antidote what they find instead are empty coffins with the diseased corpses missing. Following a series of strange and frightening clues, Thompson and Forbes are lead to a deserted mine where they discover a world of black magic and a doomed legion of flesh eating slaves, the walking dead.
First released in 1966 by Hammer Films, The Plague of the Zombies was to be the studio's only significant foray in to the zombie genre, and one that predated Romero's seminal Night of the Living Dead by two years. The film was directed by John Gilling who would helm a total of four Hammer Horror features including The Reptile which was shot back-to-back with ...Zombies. The films would not only share the same director and key Cornish locations, but also prolific Hammer Films producer Anthony Nelson Keys, prolific Hammer cinematographer Arthur Grant and actors Jacqueline Pearce and Michael Ripper.
Now, in 2012, this Hammer Horror duo have been scanned and restored in 2k and The Plague of the Zombies has been selected as the second film in Studiocanal's Made in Britain film season. The restored version of the film is screening digitally across the country on Tuesday 12 June and will subsequently be released on Blu-ray with its companion film The Reptile a week later on Monday 18 June. Alongside their new remastered presentations both will feature brand new half-hour documentaries directed by official Hammer historian Marcus Hearn, featuring interviews with original cast and crew, critics and experts on the films.
Mark's full review of the Blu-ray release delves deeper into The Plague of the Zombies, a film he describes as "one of Hammer's most accomplished, most chilling, and most enjoyable productions, and one which has been least affected by the considerable ravages of time." You can find a full listing of screening locations for the Made in Britain film season on the Ico website. Studiocanal also have a Made in Britain Facebook page for you to check out. All TDF content on the season can be found using our handy Made in Britain tag page.
Sadly we don't have an interview to share with you for this film in the Made in Britain series, but we do have a clip showing the restored version of the film below, followed by a gallery of images of both the restored feature and some great behind-the-scenes photographs.