King of the Zombies (1941)
My gracious me! Zombies aren't the most horrifying thing in this movie, racial stereotypes are. While this film is hailed by many, I found myself squirming in my seat for all the wrong reasons. Here's my take on it:
1) These are voodoo zombies, not Romero's gut munching variety so be warned. Yawn!
2) This film is more comedy than horror. In fact, I'd classify it as a comedy with elements of mystery in it.
3) Mantan Moreland as Jefferson Jackson [He also played Birmingham in the Charlie Chan movies] definitely steals the show. The white actors who surround him pale in comparison. I appreciate his comedic talent and timing. However, the film is also a product of its time and has been interpreted by many modern viewers as demeaning and offensive. To his credit, Moreland made a career out of acting during an era where it was difficult for black actors. He definitely broke a few barriers and opened doors for other black actors to follow. Therefore, I'm willing to cut him a little slack.
Racist elements aside, this is a decent movie as long as you're in the good for a comedy and not a horror movie. You can view it legally online and it can be appreciated as a solid effort that was done on a very limited budget.
Download a copy of the film from Archive.org
For more info check out the film's entry in IMDB.