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
The language spoken by the native characters, and by Juanita (Dorothy Burgess) when she addresses them directly, is Kreyol (also spelled Creole), the African-influenced dialect of French that is the common language of Haiti. See more »
"I Walked with a Zombie" may not have been the first Voodoo film adapted from Charlotte Bronte's "Jane Eyre," which is not surprising when you consider the West Indies was where Edward Rochester courted his mad wife. Perhaps it's a stretch, but "Black Moon" seems to contain several plot elements from Bronte's novel as Stephen Lanewhose West Indian born wife is drifting into madnessforms a close personal bond with his secretary.
When the wife (Dorothy Burgess), under the influence of a Voodoo curse, returns to her childhood home in the West Indies, Lane's secretary (Fay Wray) accompanies her. Lane (Jack Holt) soon follows. Here the secretary becomes a substitute mother for Stephen's child, recalling a similar relationship between Jane Eyre and Edward Rochester's ward Adele. Also, Stephen, like Edward Rochester, can finally have the woman he truly loves only when his wife dies as a result of her madness, in this case leading a native uprising.
Judging from other comments about this being a good example of pre-code horror, my expectations were high. But the director and writers never adequately explored the terror of situations. There are no build-ups of suspense. Things just happen. People are found dead after the fact. Killings and Voodoo sacrifices that happen on-screen are clumsily directed. Nevertheless, performances are uniformly good, the script is literate, and there are a few moments of cinematic art. The print I saw on Turner Classic Movies is very clean; and I was impressed by Joe August's cinematography in the scene in the tower as it filled with smoke from the burning tunnel. The interplay of light and smoke created an eerie atmosphere that I wish had been made more of.
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