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!

Monday, November 8, 2010

White Zombie (1932)

As far as I'm concerned, this is the mother of all zombie movies, at least the Caribbean voodoo kind.  White Zombie set the standard for countless other films who followed its formula until George Romero changed everything with Night of the Living Dead.  White Zombie's zombies look really great.  Director Victor Halperin and make up legend Jack Pierce created ominously wonderful, mind-controlled zombie slaves who are under the spell of Murder Legendre, played by Bela Lugosi.  I've heard others say that this was one of Lugosi's favorite performances.  Personally, I think he was better in Dracula (1931) and Son of Frankenstein (1939).  Although Lugosi has delightfully ominous eyes, he is supposed to be French Creole yet he speaks with a Hungarian accent.  It's a bit of a disconnect for me.  
The basic plot involves Madeleine and Neil who are coaxed by a friend to get married on his Haitian plantation.  Their friend secretly has a crush on Madeleine and enlists the help of Lengendre to turn her into a zombie.  The plot unfolds from there in a way that if fairly predictable, offering no surprises.  I know that many critics rave about this film, but I've watched it twice and still have the same opinion.  It's just O.K.  If you're a zombie fan, this one is a must-see simply to have an appreciation for where it all began.  However, don't expect White Zombie to keep you on the edge of your seat.  Enjoy it for what it is and then move on to better films in the zombie genre.  You can view this one on YouTube.
For more info check out the film's entry in IMDB.

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