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Revolt of the Zombies (1936)

Approved | | Horror | 4 June 1936 (USA)
An international expedition is sent into Cambodia to destroy an ancient formula that turns men into zombies.

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Cast

Credited cast:
Dorothy Stone ...
Claire Duval
...
...
Gen. Mazovia
Robert Noland ...
Clifford Grayson
...
Gen. Duval
E. Alyn Warren ...
Dr. Trevissant (as E. Alyn 'Fred' Warren)
...
Ignacio / Max MacDonald
...
Priest Tsiang
Teru Shimada ...
Buna
Adolph Milar ...
Gen. von Schelling (as Adolph Millard)
Sana Rayya ...
Dancer
Rest of cast listed alphabetically:
...
The Eyes (archive footage)
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Storyline

On the Franco-Austrian Frontier during WW I, an oriental priest, chaplain of a French colonial regiment, is condemned to life imprisonment because he possesses the power of turning men into zombies. As the priest,in his prison cell, is preparing to burn the parchment containing the location of the secret formula, Colonel Mazovia kills the priest and takes the partially-burned parchment. Fade to after the war to an expedition of representatives from all the Allied countries (only those with colonial interests it appears) being sent to Cambodia to find and destroy forever the Secret of the Zombies. The group includes Colonel Mazovia (somewhat akin to sending the fox to guard the hen house); a student of dead languages, Armand Louque; Englishman Clifford Grayson; and General Duval and his daughter Claire. Armand falls in love with Claire, who accepts his proposal of marriage in order to spite Clifford whom she really loves. Later, when Claire, following an accident, runs to Cliff for ... Written by Les Adams <longhorn1939@suddenlink.net>

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis

Taglines:

Weirdest story in 2000 years! See more »

Genres:

Horror

Certificate:

Approved | See all certifications »
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Details

Country:

Language:

Release Date:

4 June 1936 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Revolt of the Demons  »

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
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Did You Know?

Trivia

The eyes that are frequently superimposed on the screen are those of Bela Lugosi. They were taken from Victor Halperin's earlier film White Zombie (1932). See more »

Quotes

Ignacio MacDonald: You've done a terrible thing to her.
Armand Louque: Is it so terrible to fight for and to get the one thing in this world that you want?
Ignacio MacDonald: Not if you played a gentleman's game.
Armand Louque: I don't like sermons.
Ignacio MacDonald: Nor, perhaps, the truth?
See more »

Connections

Edited into Zombie Evolution (2008) See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

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User Reviews

 
An okay time-passer for "Golden Age" film fanatics
6 September 2006 | by (New York City) – See all my reviews

Well, first off, if you're checking out Revolt of the Zombies as some very early Night of the Living Dead (1968)-type film, forget it. This is about "zombies" in a more psychological sense, where that term merely denotes someone who is not in control of their will, but who must instead follow the will of another. The "zombies" here, as little as they are in the film, are largely metaphors for subservience to the state or authority in general, as in wartime. It is quite a stretch to call this a horror film.

The film is set during World War I. A "French Cambodian" contingent had heard strange stories about zombification--supposedly Angkor Wat was built by utilizing zombies--and there are tales of zombie armies easily overcoming foes. Armand Louque (Dean Jagger) brings back a priest who supposedly knows the secret of zombification, but he won't talk. So Louque and an international military contingent head to Angkor Wat on an archaeological expedition designed to discover the secret of zombification and destroy the information before zombies have a chance to "wipe out the white race".

One of the odd things about Revolt of the Zombies is that it seems like maybe writer/director Victor Halperin decided to change his game plan while shooting the script. The film begins as if it will explore the zombie/military metaphor, and maybe even have adventure elements, but after about 15 minutes, it changes gears and becomes more of a love triangle story.

Halperin does stick with a subtext about will and power (and a Nietzschean "will to power"). The film is interesting on that level, but the script and the editing are very choppy. This is yet another older film for which I wouldn't be surprised if there is missing footage, especially since some scenes even fade or cut while a character is uttering dialogue.

Amidst the contrived romance story, Halperin tries to keep referring to the zombie thread, but little of the zombie material makes much sense. Louque discovers the secret of zombification, but it doesn't mean much to the viewer. The mechanics of the zombie material are vague and confusing—Halperin even resorts to using superimposed footage of Bela Lugosi's googly-eyes from his 1932 film, White Zombie, but never explains what it has to do with anything. There are big gaps in the plot, including the love story. Promising, interesting characters from early reels disappear for long periods of time. One potential villain is disposed of unceremoniously before he gets to do much.

If you're a big fan of old, creaky B movies, Revolt of the Zombies may be worth watching at least once--the acting isn't all that bad, and if you've got a good imagination, you can piece together an interesting story in your mind to fill in all of the gaps. But this is the second time I've seen the film, with the first only being about five years ago, and I could barely recall anything about it--so it's not exactly memorable.


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