Gordon Douglas, who would go on to direct the horror classic Them! (1954), gives us a little gem of a film in Zombies on Broadway. This horror/comedy star Bela Lugosi as Dr. Renault who has developed a potion that turns people into zombies. These zombies are the West Indies type, however, they begin to exhibit a few characteristics that would show up in modern post-Romero Zombies: hands raised as they shuffle, big glossy eyes and an immunity to feeling pain. Lugosi is very good as Renault. However, we have seen him in this same kind of role time and time again. Sure, he does it well, but you'd like to see him bring something new to the table every now and then. [His role as Ygor in Son of Frankenstein comes to mind.]
The story of Zombies on Broadway starts when a soon to open night club called The Zombie Hut claims they will produce a real live zombie for their grand opening. Skeptics abound and so the club owner is forced to send two clueless press agents [the comedy team of Wally Brown and Alan Carney) to fetch him the real thing. Although much of the plot is predictable, it is an enjoyable ride nonetheless. I really like the look of the zombies, especially Darby Jones [I Walked With a Zombie] as Kolaaga. He totally rocks the house and gives off a really nice zombie vibe!
The cinematography is really nice and the film looks great. It reminds me of many of Val Lewton's films of the same era. The black and white is crisp and clear and each scene is composed with great care for maximum effect. This one is definitely a keeper and is a good example of classic 1940s horror. Don't miss it.
RATING: Very Good.
For more info check out the film's entry in IMDB.