A young Canadian nurse (Betsy) comes to the West Indies to care for Jessica, the wife of a plantation manager (Paul Holland). Jessica seems to be suffering from a kind of mental paralysis ... See full summary »
Young couple Madeleine and Neil are coaxed by acquaintance Monsieur Beaumont to get married on his Haitian plantation. Beaumont's motives are purely selfish as he makes every attempt to convince the beautiful young girl to run away with him. For help Beaumont turns to the devious Legendre, a man who runs his mill by mind controlling people he has turned into zombies. After Beaumont uses Legendre's zombie potion on Madeleine, he is dissatisfied with her emotionless being and wants her to be changed back. Legendre has no intention of doing this and he drugs Beaumont as well to add to his zombie collection. Meanwhile, grieving 'widower' Neil is convinced by a local priest that Madeleine may still be alive and he seeks her out. Written by
Gary Jackson <firstname.lastname@example.org>
The play "Zombie" opened in New York in February, 1932, and the author, Kenneth S. Webb, sued Edward Halperin and Victor Halperin, the film's producers, for the movie rights. The Halperins won the case. The play's star Pauline Starke, who was directed by husband George Sherwood, was disappointed in not getting the the part, but it is understandable given the ensuing litigation. The Halperins chose another former silent star, Madge Bellamy, as the lead. See more »
When Madeline is removed from the crypt, the pallbearer zombies carry her open casket head first. Cut to the procession going up the hill outside the crypt, she is now feet first. See more »
I'm a big Bela Lugosi fan, as well as a sucker for '30s and '40s horror chestnuts in general. But no matter how many times I watch WHITE ZOMBIE, I'm just always a bit short of considering it a "good" movie. Lugosi is delightfully weird and mysterious as Murder Legendre, a sinister zombie master who commands a legion of Walking Dead, and who grants a favor to a jealous man by helping him possess the woman he yearns for -- by turning her into a mindless zombie!
The surroundings are purely macabre and unsettling. But despite these assets, something goes astray in the snail-like pacing. Some of the acting is hopelessly dated and exaggerated, most notably by con man Robert Frazer and, to a lesser extent, hero John Harron. It's interesting that Lugosi - who's often lambasted by critics for overdoing it himself - is perfectly "on," however.
WHITE ZOMBIE is still a "pretty good" horror movie in its own right for such a minor production. But it's not a film I would recommend to those younger viewers who tend to feel bored by older classic films.
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