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House of the Living Dead

House of the Living Dead, also known as Doctor Maniac, is a British/South African international co-production Gothic horror and science fiction film made in 1974 under the title Skaduwees Oor Brugplaas (Shadows over Bridge Place) by director Ray Austin. Set on a plantation in Apartheid-era South Africa, it deals heavily with the occult. Its tagline is "It drives you mad before it kills!"

House of the Living Dead
"House of the Living Dead" (1973).jpg
Directed by Ray Austin
Produced by Matt Drucker
Phillip N. Krasne
Basil Rabin
Written by Marc Marais
Starring Mark Burns
Shirley Anne Field
David Oxley
Margaret Inglis
Music by Peter J. Elliott (as Peter Elliot)
Cinematography Lionel Friedberg (lighting cameraman)
Edited by Diana Friedberg (as Diana Ginsberg)
Associated Film Productions
Release date
Running time
86 min.
Country Great Britain
Language English



The storyline follows a white family running a plantation farm on the Cape Colony in South Africa. The family consists of a mother (Margaret Inglis) and her two sons, Michael and Breck (both played by Mark Burns). Michael runs the house while Breck spends his time alone in his room, deformed and insane, conducting experiments to try to prove the soul is an organic object able to live outside the human body. Michael's fiancée Mary (Shirley Anne Field) arrives to marry him, much to the mother's dismay as she wants the family to end so the long history of madness can stop. Meanwhile, strange things begin to happen at the plantation, such as voodoo, which is assumed to be the work of the local black neighbors, and murder.


Mark Burns was recognized as Best Actor at the 1974 Sitges Film Festival.


The film contains very little gore and no zombies at all, as would generally be expected of a title containing "Living Dead". It is sometimes confused with the substantially more popular video game series House of the Dead. It is 86 minutes long (85 in the UK cut version) and is rated Australia: R (and UK PG). It goes under various names – Doctor Maniac in the UK and US, Curse of the Dead also in the US, and Kill, Baby, Kill when released to video.


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