Tuesday, December 1, 2009

White Zombie (1932)

White Zombie

Written by Garnett Weston
Directed by Victor Halperin

Murder Legendre...Bela Lugosi
Madeline Short Parker...Madge Bellamy
Neil Parker...John Harron
Charles Beaumount...Robert Frazer

The movie, not the band.

Madeline and Neil, a young New York couple visiting the Indies on a business trip/wedding party, are accosted on the street by a group of dangerous men that the driver of their carriage swears are zombies. They think they have escaped their clutches—zombies or not—but that would have made a terribly short movie. Mr. Beaumont, the owner of the house they are staying at, has made a deal with the devil, so to speak, to win Madeline away from her beau. And before you can say “more human than a human,” said devil comes to collect his dues.

On the night of their wedding, Madeline (not so) mysteriously passes away. Neil is lost and desperate, but when her body disappears from the graveyard, he is once again faced with the legend of the zombie. Can Neil, with the help of a local priest, save Madeline from the clutches of her witchcraft-wielding captors? Or is it already too late?

This is obviously an early undead effort, not because of the black-and-white film and deceased actors, but because of how it deals with the subject matter. There are no signs of the modern era’s mindless flesh-eating zombies spawned from nuclear waste or atomic fallout. These are old school zombies, following the original myths of Haiti, people who never truly died but had their souls stolen through voodoo rituals and hoodoo potions, only to be enslaved by their mysterious masters and worked on sugarcane plantations.

That master here is played by the late, great Bela, who is magnificently creepy and refined with an expensive suit and hypnotic eyes. It’s hard not to look at them and say “show me the way to the sugarcane!”

A downright classic and introductory chapter to the “Zombie in Film 101” textbook.

View the trailer below!

Not Rated
69 Minutes
Black & White
United States

"I kissed her as she lay there in the coffin; and her lips were cold."

1 comment:

  1. Agreed, WZ is a lot of fun, and easily one of Lugosi's greatest roles!


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