The Dead One (also known as Blood of the Zombie) is a 1961 American independent horror film written, produced and directed by Barry Mahon. It stars John McKay, Linda Ormond, Monica Davis and Clyde Kelly. The narrative follows two cousins – one a businessman (McKay), the other a woman who practices voodoo (Davis) – who each seek control of their family’s Louisiana plantation.
The Dead One is a regional horror film, according to critic Brian Albright. He defines a regional film as one that is “(a) filmed outside of the general professional and geographical confines of Hollywood, (b) produced independently, and (c) made with a cast and crew made up primarily of residents of the states in which the film was shot.” The Dead One was filmed on location in New Orleans, Louisiana by the independent Mardi Gras Films, which produced only one other movie, Face of Fire (1959), made in association with AB Svensk Filmidustri. Little is known about the actors and production crew of The Dead One, other than that a number of them worked on one or more of the 60 films Mahon had directed by 1970.
The Dead One was shot in Eastmancolor and Ultrascope, a “form of Cinemascope from Germany” with an aspect ratio of 1.85:1. It is significantly one of the first two zombie movies to be filmed in color, the other being the British Doctor Blood’s Coffin. Both films were released in 1961, but it is “hard to know which one officially hit theaters [in the US] first. Before the era of simultaneous wide releases, a few prints would make their way across the country to unimpressed audiences, and which full color zombie you saw first would simply have depended on where you lived.”
In addition to being regionally-made, The Dead One was apparently shown at least stateside. In America, it is believed to have been exhibited only in the southern part of the country and most likely only at drive-in theaters, where it “served as a time filler” as the second feature on a double bill, when “the young people [in the audience] had more to do than watch some miserable collection of color and movement on the screen.”
The film was distributed to North American theaters by Mardi Gras Productions in 1961. Internationally, it was distributed theatrically in the UK during 1962 by Grand National Pictures. Mexican distribution was handled by Peliculas Agrasanchez S.A., although at an unknown date.
The Dead One was granted an X-certificate for theatrical exhibition in the UK by the British Board of Film Classification, which meant that the film was considered “more suitable for adults.”
color, widescreen, mono, 68 minutes. DVD-R comes packaged as shown in color DVD case, wrapped in plastic!