Welcome, children of the night! This Blog is for fans of vintage horror films as well as those who are just beginning to discover the joy of these classic movies. I'd love to hear from you!

Thursday, October 21, 2010

I Walked With a Zombie (1943)

Take a literary classic such as Jane Eyre, change its location to the West Indies, add a few living dead and you have I Walked With a Zombie from legendary producer Val Lewton.  It's  actually hard to call this one a horror film.  Even calling it a thriller is a bit of a stretch.  However, as a drama it works rather well.
I Walked With a Zombie was directed by Jacques Tourneur who also did Cat People (1942).  This film may have had a limited budget, but it doesn't look like it.  Tourneur reminds me of Hitchcock in many ways, especially his effective use of light and shadow.  Furthermore, he has a knack of making his leading ladies look flawless.  Tourneur's job is also made easier by a nicely written screenplay by Curt Siodmak who also wrote such horror classics as The Wolfman and The Invisible Man Returns.
The star of this show is definitely Frances Dee [Little Women] who plays nurse Betsy Connell.  She is a self-confident, independent "career girl" who is also empathetic and empowered.  That's quite an accomplishment in 1940s cinema.  The rest of the cast does a fine job as well giving solid performances all around. 
As a side note, this may be the first time that we see a zombie shuffling [not quite a shamble!] with his hands in front of him.  He's not one of the gut munching zombies of George Romero, but he begins to point the way of things to come.  
For more info check out the film's entry in IMDB.

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