Young couple Madeleine and Neil are coaxed by acquaintance Monsieur Beaumont to get married on his Haitian plantation. Beaumont's motives are purely selfish as he makes every attempt to convince the beautiful young girl to run away with him. For help Beaumont turns to the devious Legendre, a man who runs his mill by mind controlling people he has turned into zombies. After Beaumont uses Legendre's zombie potion on Madeleine, he is dissatisfied with her emotionless being and wants her to be changed back. Legendre has no intention of doing this and he drugs Beaumont as well to add to his zombie collection. Meanwhile, grieving 'widower' Neil is convinced by a local priest that Madeleine may still be alive and he seeks her out.Written by
Gary Jackson <firstname.lastname@example.org>
The play "Zombie" opened in New York in February, 1932, and the author, Kenneth S. Webb, sued Edward Halperin and Victor Halperin, the film's producers, for the movie rights. The Halperins won the case. The play's star Pauline Starke, who was directed by husband George Sherwood, was disappointed in not getting the the part, but it is understandable given the ensuing litigation. The Halperins chose another former silent star, Madge Bellamy, as the lead. See more »
When Madeline sees Legendre's face in her wine, she begins to set the glass down with both hands, mostly using her left. In the next shot, her right hand holds the cup and her left is on the table. Also, the position of her head changes between shots, from looking slightly up to looking directly ahead. See more »
A terrific Lugosi performance helps make this creepy zombie pioneer a must see for any horror buff!
There's something about 1930s horror movies that makes them really special and haunting. It's probably got a lot to do with the talkies being new and directors being free to experiment with tricks learned from German expressionism. Whatever the explanation the best movies from the early 30s (James Whale's 'Frankenstein', 'Bride Of Frankenstein' and 'The Invisible Man', Todd Browning's 'Dracula' and 'Freaks') have a dreamlike quality that sticks in your brain and just won't leave. Bela Lugosi is one of the icons of horror movies. He made 'White Zombie' not long after 'Dracula', his definitive role, and gives another great performance. 'Island Of Lost Souls' is a better movie than 'White Zombie' but Lugosi on has a small role in that so I'd say this is his best movie after 'Dracula'. It's easy to forget just how quickly his career died. His two mid-30s teamings with Boris Karloff ('The Black Cat' and 'The Raven') were basically the beginning of the end for him as a major star, and by the time he played Ygor in the underrated 'Son Of Frankenstein' at the end of the decade he was almost a has been. Oh well Lugosi is just terrific in this movie as the sinister 'Murder' Legrende, Haitian mill owner and zombie master. Robert Fraser plays Charles Beaumont, a local plantation owner who becomes obsessed with a young woman (Madge Bellamy) about to be married. He invites her and her fiance (John Harron) to his estate to have their wedding all the while planning some way to win her. An hour before the wedding he becomes desperate and reluctantly approaches his sinister neighbour Legrende. Legrende's solution has dire consequences for all involved. The movie was obviously made a shoe string budget but there are plenty of striking visual images, especially those involving Bellamy after Lugosi gets to her. The zombies are very creepy and are the precursors to zombie classics later made by Tourneur, Romero, Fulci and Raimi. For this and for Lugosi 'White Zombie' is a must see for any horror buff!
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