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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 <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Sure it's bad,...but it's unintentionally funny and watchable as well.
While this film certainly does possess the stench of a bad film, it's surprisingly watchable on several levels. First, for old movie fans, it's interesting to see the leading role played by Dean Jagger (no relation to Mick). While Jagger later went on to a very respectable role as a supporting actor (even garnering the Oscar in this category for 12 O'CLOCK HIGH), here his performance is truly unique since he actually has a full head of hair (I never saw him this way before) and because he was by far the worst actor in the film. This film just goes to show that if an actor cannot act in his earlier films doesn't mean he can't eventually learn to be a great actor. Another good example of this phenomenon is Paul Newman, whose first movie (THE SILVER CHALICE) is considered one of the worst films of the 1950s.
A second reason to watch the film is the shear cheesiness of it all. The writing is bad, the acting is bad and the special effects are bad. For example, when Jagger and an unnamed Cambodian are wading through the water, it's obvious they are really just walking in place and the background is poorly projected behind them. Plus, once they leave the water, their costumes are 100% dry!!! Horrid continuity and mindlessly bad dialog abounds throughout the film--so much so that it's hard to imagine why they didn't ask Bela Lugosi or George Zucco to star in the film--since both of them starred in many grade-z horror films. In many ways, this would be a perfect example for a film class on how NOT to make a film.
So, while giving it a 3 is probably a bit over-generous, it's fun to laugh at and short so it's worth a look for bad film fans.
4 of 6 people found this review helpful.
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