Plot: A sunken ship is loaded with treasure, a cargo full of precious diamonds to be exact. The diamonds have remained in the murky depths for decades, despite several skilled salvage teams being dispatched. This is because no matter how good the crews have been, no one has survived the expeditions to retrieve the diamonds. The local lore tells that the treasure is guarded by the living dead, as if the ship’s deceased crew still lurks in the waters to protect the cargo. But a new group is determined to finish the job and finally bring the diamonds back to the surface, despite several run-ins with the eerie zombies. As the mission proceeds, strange events unfold and the danger seems to grow with each passing minute. Can this crew do what no one else could and if so, what will become of the cursed living dead that patrol the waters?
Entertainment Value: Zombies of Mora Tau is about the old school living dead, back when zombies were created by curses or voodoo, not comets or virus outbreaks. I was drawn to the movie because of producer Sam Katzman’s involvement, as he was behind a good amount of goofy, but fun horror movies. This one spins a tale of a cursed shipwreck, but I think the real draw is the dialogue and performances. The drama level is high, especially from Allison Hayes, who is so fun to watch here. The melodrama runs deep and the overly serious tone just amplifies the camp value. This is a slow one though, with a deliberate pace that belies the film’s short duration. The zombie side of the story is decent, but this isn’t Dawn of the Dead, the living dead are just guys with seaweed on them. This film is going to be of interest to old school horror devotees mostly, as the slow pace and lack of bloodshed is sure to drive off some genre fans. But anyone who appreciates melodramatic, silly B movies could find some entertainment with Zombies of Mora Tau.
No nakedness. No blood. The dialogue is what makes the movie work for me, as there are a host of humorous lines delivered in overly dramatic fashion. Allison Hayes steals the show as the often mean Mona, even kissing another man in front of her husband. The cuckold subplot isn’t much screen time though. She chews up the script with enthusiasm and really adds a lot to the entertainment value. The rest of the cast is also way too serious, but no one manages to quite keep pace with Hayes. This is just a good example of when an overly serious tone enhances B movie fun. Not much insanity in this one besides Hayes’ performance and the wonders of seaweed zombies. In the end, I think you need to have that appreciation for “so serious its silly” B movie elements, as otherwise this one can be on the dull side.
Overall Insanity: 2/10
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