THE UNDEAD (1957) Reviews and overview

 

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The Undead is a 1957 American horror film directed by Roger Corman from a screenplay by Charles B. Griffith – which he originally wrote in iambic pentameter and says Corman loved at first but then got cold feet. The movie stars Pamela Duncan, Richard Garland, Allison Hayes, and Val Dufour.

The film was inspired by an interest in supposed reincarnation inspired by the best-selling book The Search for Bridey Murphy by Morey Bernstein was made into a film in 1956. This prompted The She-Creature in 1956. However, by the time The Undead was being made, the popularity of reincarnation was starting to dwindle. Therefore Corman decided that they needed to change it up a little and added the time travel elements of Quintis and a title change.

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The movie was filmed in a converted supermarket and was completed in just six days. Its original title was The Trance of Diana Love. The bats that the imp and witch continually change into were leftover from another Corman movie, It Conquered the World.

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Plot:

A psychic named Quintus Ratcliff (Val Dufour) sends prostitute Diana Love (Pamela Duncan) back in time to find out about her past-life experiences. She goes back as Helene, a woman from the Middle Ages who is to die at dawn under suspicion of being a witch. In an attempt to save Diana and keep all of the time from being distorted, Quintis goes back in time to convince Helene to let herself be killed. If she avoids her death, it will change history…

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Reviews:

“Incredibly cheap and lacking drive, The Undead nonetheless betrays the antic intelligence of Corman and his regular screenwriting collaborators Charles B. Griffith and Mark Hannah, in a film that feels something like a rough draft for The Twilight Zone, down to the blackly comic twist ending.” This Island Rod

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” …Dick Miller turns in a fine cameo as a leper who sells his soul to the Devil […] Monster-maker and Mon-star Paul Blaisdell also appears as a corpse in the hearse driven by Mel Welles. Fifties scream-queen Allison Hayes enjoys a meaty role in The Undead and plays evil and misunderstood in love equally well.” DVD Drive-In

“Minor league horror programmer. A retrogression theme and bosomy dames are used in this … horror subjects as ballyhooed pegs for quickie play dates … the pacing is slow and the thrills at a minimum” Variety

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Fun Facts:

Filmed as The Trance of Diana Love

Image credits: This Island Rod | Zombos’ Closet

Trailer:

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