Film #298: THE DEAD ARE ALIVE aka L'ETRUSCO UCCIDE ANCORA aka THE ETRUSCAN KILLS AGAIN
The Dead Are Alive aka L’Etrusco Uccide Ancora aka The Etruscan Kills Again
2.5 out of 5 stars
Despite the title implying something zombie-related, THE DEAD ALIVE is more of a giallo / murder mystery which centers around a series of murders that happen around a newly-found Etruscan mine… or something like that. Honestly, it’s kinda hard to tell. The cast - AIRWOLF’s Alex Cord as the drunk archeologist hero with the worst case of ‘wrong place / wrong time’ EVER, Samantha Eggar (THE BROOD) as the woman caught between and old love and a new, and the great John Marley (the guy who got the horse’s head in his bed in THE GODFATHER) as a Napoleonic music conductor, amongst others – is universally solid with Cord standing out as the sole detractor. Standout character actors are Enzo Tarascio (THE NIGHT EVELYN CAME OUT OF THE GRAVE) as the doubting detective and Horst Frank (EYE OF THE LABYRINTH) as the Marley’s gay son. There are some great locations used and the films looks great for 1973, but the audience has trouble connecting with any of the characters as they all pretty despicable (ok, well, maybe not Samantha Eggar). Another notable detractor from the film is this weird voice-over which comes on periodically to download some necessary exposition before moving on to the next scene. It's jarring and hampers any established mood or tension. Throughout the rest of the film, there’s lots of running around and angsty hand-wringing with folks wandering down hallways with flashlights and ultimately finding nothing, but… this is not a textbook giallo by any means. In the end, THE DEAD ARE ALIVE is a well-made, but inconsequential 'who-done-it' with some better than average production values, a great cast, and a notably wonky script. Worthwhile if you happen to run across it, but don’t go crazy searching it out.