Wednesday, June 2, 2021

THE DEAD DON'T DIE - "Or Do They?" (1975)

Here's a pretty Wild and Wooly Wednesday presentation for you! It's a movie I never heard of until about last week, and I generally shy away from TV movies, because, you know, they're TV movies, but every once in a while they'll make an interesting one like "The Dead Don't Die."

To start with, "The Dead Don't Die" has got a great cast starting with George Hamilton as Don Drake, a man whose brother was just put to death in the electric chair! Who else in their careers played Hank Williams, Evil Knievel, and Count Dracula besides George Hamilton? I daresay nobody!

Marta Victoria Moya Peggo Burges aka Linda (The Fiend Who Walked The West) Cristal is Vera Lavalle, a dead lady! The Argentinean star reminds me a lot of Diana Rigg at times.

Joan Blondell is a mean woman named Levenia. Among 161 other things, Joan was in "The Twilight Zone" episode called "What's In The Box?"

It was when I was looking through Ralph Meeker's credits besides "The Night Strangler" that I discovered this strange film, and that's when I knew I had to try and see it.

Korean War veteran, Record Producer, Actor, Author, and filmmaker James McEachin has spent a good part of his life helping military veterans. During the same time period that this film was being made, James was the star of his own TV show called "Tenafly." Here he's Frankie Specht, a man up to his neck in Voodoo.

The mysterious Austrian actor with the scarred face Reggie Nalder is Perdido, one of the walking dead.
Before it was over, Reggie worked with Hitchcock in "The Man Who Knew Too Much," Dario Argento in "The Bird With The Crystal Plummage," Federico Fellini in  "Fellini's Casanova," and he was Shras in the "Star Trek" episode "Journey To Babel."

And if all that wasn't enough, the 'Special Guest Star" is Dungeon Super Hero Ray Milland as the mean and conniving liar Jim Moss.

Now why do I have such an aversion to movies made for TV? It's because growing up when they started making them, they were usually quite dry and sterile compared to the real thing, but at least they got better, and when you have a story written by Robert (Psycho) Bloch, you know it's going to be worth at least checking out!

So while Don Drake is investigating into his brother's life, he ends up killing Perdido, except for the fact that he's already dead!

Then Levenia conks him over the head!

When he regains consciousness he's in Vera LaValle's apartment, and she is nursing him back to health.

Vera drops Don off at the Mortuary where Perdido comes back to life, and tries to strangle him!

Police Lt. Reardon gets an earful from Don, and tries to help him to no avail. Nothing's adding up. The guy he killed is alive, and Levenia says she's never seen him before.

Jim Moss has a gig running dance marathons, which I assumed would be totally illegal today, since kids dance until they collapse, but lo and behold I found out that dance marathons are still held regularly today on campuses everywhere as fundraisers lasting from 12 to 40 hours. (At least they did before Covid.)

Don and Vera start getting a little cozy, especially by TV standards, but she stops him abruptly!

See the problem is that she is dead. At the end of her life, she had her head chopped off by a Guillotine, and she's got the scars to prove it!

This is the mark of the dead ones!

The Voodoo Boss gets pissed by this whole scene, and decides to melt Vera's Voodoo doll!

The results are predictable and freak Don out a bit!

I thought the movie ended up in this modern art gallery, but it turned out to be a meat locker instead, and you know what kind of stuff happens in meat lockers in the movies!


MindChatter said...

I love this TV movie! I caught it on a local station one afternoon in the early 1980s. I would love to have it in high quality but all I can find it in is VHS format. There's a lot of dark scenes that would benefit greatly by the better visual quality. I would say this and "Haunts of the Very Rich" are my two all time favorites TV movies. Thanks for the post!

EEGAH!! said...

Thanks! Yeah, this copy was pretty dark, but not too bad!

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