Opens with mournful music and slow pans across a seaside fishing town… you’d never know what you were in for, if not for the credits “screenplay by Dan O’Bannon” and “effects by Stan Winston.”
“Welcome to Potter’s Bluff,” say the townspeople as they trap and murder a vacationing photographer and, later on, a horribly comic-drunk fisherman. Sheriff Dan and his buddy Harry (Robert Englund!) investigate.
Harry puzzles over the murders with his loving wife (Melody Anderson, star of the previous year’s Flash Gordon, seen below pretending to be a zombie for the amusement of her grade-school class).
Killings continue, and why is Dan seeing the victims around town, alive and well? And what’s up with the coroner, who has a suspicious amount of screen time talking about the pride he takes in his work?
The big reveal (all big reveals should be accompanied by the madman, arms outstretched, displaying films of his crimes from hidden projectors all over his office) is that these townspeople were dead, lovingly touched-up and reanimated by the coroner to live happy undead lives – including Dan’s wife, whom Dan kills…
… and including Dan himself!
Wonder if the people who saw this felt that the following year’s Blade Runner was a ripoff. Sherman made a movie in the 70’s called Death Line that sounds awfully like Midnight Meat Train, a Rutger Hauer/Gene Simmons flick, and the ill-fated Poltergeist III.