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King of the Zombies (1941)

Approved  |   |  Comedy, Horror  |  14 May 1941 (USA)
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Ratings: 5.3/10 from 1,375 users  
Reviews: 71 user | 35 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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Nominated for 1 Oscar. See more awards »



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Complete credited cast:
Dick Purcell ...
Barbara Winslow
John Archer ...
Patricia Stacey ...
Guy Usher ...
Marguerite Whitten ...
Leigh Whipper ...
Madame Sul-Te-Wan ...
James Davis ...
Lazarus (as Jimmy Davis)
Laurence Criner ...
Dr. Couillie (as Lawrence Criner)


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 <>

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis

Plot Keywords:

island | mansion | doctor | pilot | admiral | See All (57) »




Comedy | Horror


Approved | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:





Release Date:

14 May 1941 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

El rey de los zombies  »

Company Credits

Production Co:

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:

(Western Electric Mirrophonic Recording)

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
See  »

Did You Know?


Initial press releases had Howard Bretherton directing, but he was replaced before production began. See more »


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 »


Jefferson 'Jeff' Jackson: [Eating the food set out for the zombies] This being a zombie sure is a drawback. Where's the salt?
Samantha, the Maid: You eats that the way it is and likes it. Zombies ain't supposed to use salt.
Jefferson 'Jeff' Jackson: [Samantha brings Jeff the salt] I thought you said!
Samantha, the Maid: I changed my mind.
Jefferson 'Jeff' Jackson: [Samantha continues to pour the salt] That's more like it. Take it easy there woman, I ain't no herring!
Samantha, the Maid: Now eat.
Jefferson 'Jeff' Jackson: [Samantha keeps pouring the salt] Whew! What is you trying to do? Poison me?
See more »


Featured in Bamboozled (2000) See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

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User Reviews

A Terrific film!
15 July 2003 | by (S. Bound Brook, NJ.) – See all my reviews

This film (along with "Dr. X" & "Night Monster") rank as my all-time fave Top Three! (I own over 1k films)!

Why? That "Master of Scared-Reaction Comedy", Mantan Moreland takes an (other-wise) dull film & adds a lot of "zip" into it! I think this was his finest role! He does MUCH to improve a cast who's acting (especially the two "heros") is as "wooden" as the zombies themselves!

My favorite line is when the "hero" & Mantan are walking through a dark secret passage, holding a torch. Voodoo drums begin to sound. "What's that?", says the Hero. "I dunno", answers Mantan, "...but it ain't GENE KRUPA!". A scream!

This film WILL offend the "Politically Correct" as "degrading Negro stereotypes", but these people have to realise that Morelan was a Comic GENIUS who also played these "scared reaction" comedy roles for BLACK directors, and the Black Movie-Going Community of the 30's and 40's.

You MUST SEE this film, if only for Mantan's marvellous comedy!

28 of 32 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

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