A young girl who lives on a tropical island loses her parents to a voodoo sacrifice, but although she manages to escape the island, a curse is put on her. Years later, as an adult, she ... See full summary »
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A young girl who lives on a tropical island loses her parents to a voodoo sacrifice, but although she manages to escape the island, a curse is put on her. Years later, as an adult, she feels a strong compulsion to return to the island to confront her past. Her husband, her daughter and her nanny go with her, but once back on the island, the woman finds herself elevated by the locals to the stature of a voodoo goddess, and she begins her inevitable descent into madness, with disastrous results for her family. Written by
This film proves that a decent retrospective of the films of Roy William Neill is long overdue. A forgotten horror movie of real merit, BLACK MOON is obscure enough not to be listed in Halliwell's Film Guide but of sufficient interest to have played in New York's Film Forum a couple of years back (where I first saw it on a double billed with ZOMBIES OF MORA TAU!) The plot is right out of "Conjure Wife" with a slight foreshadowing of I WALKED WITH A ZOMBIE. A New York socialite (Dorothy Burgess) is haunted by her childhood memories of being brought up by a voodoo priestess in Haiti. Her hope is to free herself from the past by confronting it outright but her plan proves disastrous. Returning to the island, she is promptly elevated to the status of a white goddess among the natives and is soon participating in human sacrifices, eventually plotting against her husband and infant daughter.
I have to admit my enthusiasm for this movie isn't shared by others in my immediate movie circle. The major flaw is that Burgess' transformation into a jungle high priestess is simply glossed over in the script. Indeed, she's off-screen for the better part of the movie. Instead the film focuses on the budding romance of Jack Holt as the harried husband and his secretary (that she's played by Fay Wray is at least a consolation). Still the film works up to an ominous mood, creating a palpable hothouse atmosphere as voodoo drums beat steadily on the soundtrack.
The film played on Turner Classic Movie many years back and is, presumably, in limited circulation. It's dated racial attitudes undoubtedly won't help it get the wider distribution it deserves. It's safe to say that a DVD release is unlikely but the film is worth tracking down.
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