The Living Dead At Manchester Morgue

(Non si deve profanare il sonno dei morti) (1974)

Director

Jorge Grau

Cast

visit the film locations

Derbyshire:

Drink at, or stay at: The Castle, Castle Street, Castleton, Hope Valley S33 8WG (tel: 01433.620578)

Visit: the Peak District

Peak District Tourism


in the area

Speedwell Cavern: At the foot of Winnats Pass, take an incredible underground boat journey. You descend 105 steps from the cave entrance to the landing stage of an underground canal, where you step on to a tour guide boat. From here you glide quietly through the workings of a 200 year old lead mine, toward the cathedral-like cavern containing the awesome Bottomless Pit – a huge subterranean lake.

The Living Dead At Manchester Morgue location: Hathersage Church, Hathersage, Derbyshire

The Living Dead At Manchester Morgue location: zombies in the crypt: Hathersage Church, Hathersage, Derbyshire

Jorge Grau’s cult undead movie, which comes with around a dozen different titles, is set in Cumbria’s Lake District, but makes use of striking locations around the Peak District in Derbyshire.

‘Antiques and Modern’, the art gallery store of George Meaning (Ray Lovelock) which was in central Manchester, giving a slight justification for the film’s most popular title, has fallen prey to redevelopment. It stood on Victoria Street at Fennel Street, just north of Manchester Cathedral – which you can see in the background.

It’s at the Cathedral – as George drives past – that a naked woman runs, for reasons best known to the director, through the traffic.

George is heading to Windermere in the Lake District and the film seems, at first, to be playing fair. The garage, where Edna (Cristina Galbo) knocks over George’s bike, was on the A5074 as it branches from the A590 at Gilpin Bridge near Levens, which is indeed almost at Windermere. A couple of houses now stand on the site.

The Living Dead At Manchester Morgue location: Hathersage Church, Hathersage, Derbyshire

The Living Dead At Manchester Morgue location: the entrance to ‘Southgate’ churchyard: Winnats Pass

But this is as close as we get to the real Lake District. The dramatic pass through which George and Edna drive can be found about 80 miles to the south, in Derbyshire’s Peak District. It’s the spectacular Winnats Pass, on Winnats Road, the A6187, about a mile west of Castleton.

There’s more trickery, too. Though ‘Southgate’ church appears to be up on the hill way above the road, it’s superimposed photographically (this was long before CGI). The churchyard entrance was no more than a bit of set dressing, added for the film.

Alongside the ‘churchyard’ entrance (which was no more than a bit of set dressing added for the film), there’s a car park, opposite which you’ll see the entrance to Speedwell Cavern. This former lead mine is just one of the District’s popular visitor attractions.

The Living Dead At Manchester Morgue location: Hathersage Church, Hathersage, Derbyshire

The Living Dead At Manchester Morgue location: the first attack by old Guthrie: Stepping Stones, Dovedale

Several miles to the south, you’ll find another famous local landmark. George and Edna find themselves lost alongside the Stepping Stones across the River Dove at Dovedale (the road really does end here), where Edna is attacked by the red-eyed zombie, Guthrie.

A beautiful three-mile long limestone ravine, now owned by the National Trust, you’ll find the entrance to Dovedale between the villages of Ilam and Thorpe. There’s the inevitable car park, from which it’ a few minutes’ walk along the dale to the stones. They’ve been a useful river crossing since Victorian times and – with health and safety in mind – were helpfully evened out with caps in 2010 to get rid of that ghastly old weathered look that tourists hate so much.

The Living Dead At Manchester Morgue location: Hathersage Church, Hathersage, Derbyshire

The Living Dead At Manchester Morgue location: the ‘Old Owl’ hotel: The Castle, Castleton, Derbyshire

It’s back to the village of Castleton itself, standing in for ‘Southgate’, to find the ‘Old Owl’ hotel, in which the pair stay. You don’t have to be too sharp-eyed to spot that this is The Castle, Castle Street. Although the ‘Old Owl’ sign was added to the pub, The Castle’s own sign is clearly visible. You’ll be pleased to know that the inn is steeped in spooky legends, telling of no fewer than four ghosts, including a jilted bride, haunting its grounds.

Many of the film’s interiors were filmed in Cinecitta in Rome and Cinearte, Madrid. This probably explains why the sign on the window, as George is interrogated by the cops, reads ‘The Old Olw Hotel’.

The Living Dead At Manchester Morgue location: Hathersage Church, Hathersage, Derbyshire

The Living Dead At Manchester Morgue location: the local store: The Old Barn, Castleton, Derbyshire

Only a few yards away from The Castle stands the grocery store where George gets photos developed, and recognises the picture of Guthrie in the local newspaper. It’s now part of The Old Barn, a gift shop alongside.

The Living Dead At Manchester Morgue location: Hathersage Church, Hathersage, Derbyshire

The Living Dead At Manchester Morgue location: the entrance to the crypt: Hathersage Church, Hathersage, Derbyshire

‘Southgate Church’ itself, where something nasty is discovered in the crypt, is the church at Hathersage, about six miles to the east. The ‘God’s little acre...’ sign is still there.

Alongside the church you can still see the door that supposedly led down to the crypt, but Hathersage Church, Church Bank, to the north of the village, is also famous as the last resting place of Little John. One of Robin Hood’s merrie men, and supposedly a local chap, you can find his grave under a yew tree to the south of the churchyard.

‘Southgate Hospital’, where the dead rise from the morgue, is the old Barnes Hospital, Kingsway (the A34), just south of the M60 in Cheadle, south of – guess where? – Manchester.




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