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King of the Zombies (1941)

 -  Comedy | Horror  -  14 May 1941 (USA)
5.3
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Ratings: 5.3/10 from 1,264 users  
Reviews: 70 user | 33 critic

On a spooky island, three stranded travelers find an evil doctor working with foreign spies and in control of zombies.

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Title: King of the Zombies (1941)

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Cast

Complete credited cast:
Dick Purcell ...
...
Mantan Moreland ...
Henry Victor ...
John Archer ...
Patricia Stacey ...
Guy Usher ...
Marguerite Whitten ...
Samantha, the Maid
Leigh Whipper ...
Momba, the Butler
Madame Sul-Te-Wan ...
Tahama, the Cook and High Priestess
James Davis ...
Lazarus, a Zombie (as Jimmy Davis)
Laurence Criner ...
Dr. Couillie (as Lawrence Criner)
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Storyline

During World War 2, a small plane off the south coast of America is low on fuel and blown off course by a storm. Guided by a faint radio signal, they crashland on an island. The passenger, his manservant and the pilot take refuge in a mansion owned by a doctor. The easily-spooked manservant soon becomes convinced the mansion is haunted by zombies and ghosts. Exploring, the 3 find a voodoo ritual in the cellar, where the doctor is trying to acquire war intelligence by transferring personalities into his zombies. But the interruption causes the zombies to turn on their creator. Written by Cynan Rees <cynanrees@hotmail.com>

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis

Plot Keywords:

island | mansion | doctor | pilot | admiral | See more »

Taglines:

Blood-chilling revelations of the weird cult that practices its black magic in the impenetrable jungles of Central America! See more »

Genres:

Comedy | Horror

Certificate:

Approved | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

 »
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Details

Country:

Language:

Release Date:

14 May 1941 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

El rey de los zombies  »

Company Credits

Production Co:

 »
Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

(Western Electric Mirrophonic Recording)

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
See  »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

The role of Dr. Victor Sangre was designed for Bela Lugosi. When he became unavailable, furious negotiations ensued to obtain Peter Lorre for the part, but a deal could not be reached. Veteran character actor Henry Victor was signed just prior to the date of filming. See more »

Goofs

When the servants and Jeff are gathered around the dining room table before midnight, the boom mic shadow can be seen on the table moving from speaking character to speaking character. See more »

Quotes

Jefferson 'Jeff' Jackson: [Squeezing between two hypnotized "zombies"] Move over boys, I'm one of the gang now.
See more »

Connections

Featured in Horrible Horror (1986) See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

See more (Spoiler Alert!) »

User Reviews

 
Voodoo zombies and racial stereotypes abound in this horror comedy; "It's feeding time and dey likes dark meat"
1 August 2006 | by (United States) – See all my reviews

This old school voodoo zombie film was made during Hollywood's horror spoof cycle, so the comedic elements take over instead of giving us a great horror movie. This actually had potential, but goofy Hollywood at that time dropped the ball on the horror genre for a good decade or two. This is even a decade before the Abbott and Costello ruin Universal Monsters series.

Mantan Moreland, with his reactions and comedic timing, steals the movie as a central character here, the colored servant in this film made in racist comedy times. Dey's lotsa racial stereotype humor here dat's sad looking back at Hollywood's historical treatment of da black man, but entertaining due to a great performance by a black man in a white man's film where the company Monogram gave him fairly high billing in the credits. I'm sure at the time it was thought to be hilarious, but it's hard to look at films of that time the same way in more recent enlightened times. Despite the political incorrectness, Moreland's comedic talent is evident and zombie fans will find there are some fun quotes here about the walking dead.

STORY: Government man's plane crash-lands on island while searching for a missing Admiral during WWII. They stay at the mansion of a 'doctor'; a house that the man's black servant thinks is crawling with voodoo zombies. They initially dismiss his superstitions while searching for a 2-way radio, but things with their host start getting mighty suspicious and they realize he might be right.

DE-ANIMATION METHODS: Apparently if a zombie eats salt they 'dries up and gets dead again', so zombies eat bland food.

There is some good atmosphere here and it could've made a credible horror film, but it still works as a good (if somewhat dated) comedy starring a great performer whom was later criticized for making a career out of playing up racial stereotypes. I recommend the movie mostly for his performance; just take it with a grain of salt… I also recommended this for voodoo zombie fans; just go in knowing it's a comedy.


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