Tuesday, April 26, 2011

White Zombie

So I've been lax. I watched this movie a over a week ago with the intention of writing a review that night. Instead I headed to a friends and played risk late into the night. I have no excuse, so lets review this thing

Film: White Zombie

Director:  Halperin Bros

Cast: Bela Lugosi, Madge Bellamy, John Harron, Robert W. Frazer

I love that poster, it's got everything you could want on it, scantily clad women, over the top headlines, and Bela Lugosi's classic wide eyed face at the top. White Zombie was filmed in 1932 using the sets left over from   Frankenstein and Dracula. It was filmed in 11 days and many of the actors used had never been in a talky before. Most people also consider it to be the first Zombie flick, which is a pretty big deal considering the popularity of the genre these days.
The movie starts out with a young woman named Madeleine reuniting with her fiance Neil in Haiti, while the two are on their way to a friends plantation they pass a rather creepy looking Bela Lugosi who shows interest in them. After arriving at the home we meet Charles Beaumont, a wealthy plantation owner who is secretly in love with Madeleine. Without the lovers knowledge he has been plotting with Murder (Lugosi)  to use an ancient Haitian ritual to turn Madeleine into a zombie. You can see where this goes. I really liked the cinematography in this movie, grainy black and white can be a beautiful thing. The overall mood is pretty great too, creepy and atmospheric, almost like a dream. Sadly for most of the actors, this was not they're best performance. Lugosi, who is usually larger than life and horrifying just seems over the top, and the rest of the cast follows the same pattern. Overall I like this movie, it's certainly not my favorite Lugosi film but it's a solid creep fest and needs to be seen even if just for it's historical significance.

The Goods: Creepy dreamlike mood, great for halloween.

The Bads:  Questionable acting and not so linear plot.

Next time we'll try a more contemporary piece, and hopefully I wont procrastinate myself into the ground.

Tuesday, March 22, 2011


Up until now I'd never thought about blogging, I'd never read any blogs or considered blogging as a genuine way to spend my time. But recently I've noticed through the all powerful facebook that many of my friends have blogs, and they are doing interesting things with them. I began perusing a few and after finding them interesting and entertaining I decided I'd write one myself. After all I've got valid ideas on religion, philosophy, art, and morality...right?  Not entirely. I think about these thing of course, in fact I do quite often. But it's not my forte.

So what to blog about? I don't think I could do a "my life" style blog very well. I imagine my life is just as interesting as everyone else's, I play bass in many a band, I've got great friends, and I can touch my tongue to my nose. But who wants to hear about how good I am at Street Fighter? Thats what I'd inevitably start writing about. I considered it for a while and finally decided on something strange, scary, and wonderful.

When I was nine or ten (the age eludes me) I found an old video cassette in my grandmothers den. It was dusty and dirty and part of the cardboard covering had ripped off, but you could just make out the words. It was called Monsters Crash the Pajama Party, and it looked wonderful. After some begging my grandmother popped it in the vcr...and I was taken away.  Taken to a creepy old house where some college girls had decided to spend the night, a house with a mad scientist in the basement, and skeletons in every closet. Sounds frightening right? Not so much, but it was a ton of fun.  More importantly it got me interested in old horror films and eventually horror in general.

The plot isn't important, its your basic co-eds trapped with mad scientist and hilarity ensues story. But the atmosphere is where it shines. Skeletons, ghosts, cobwebs, men in gorilla suits, and werewolves fill this movie, and the black and white makes it all the more glorious. I've shown this to a few friends and they just dont get it. They tell me they how cheesy and grainy it looks,and  how not scary it is. It isn't about being scared or special effects. This movie is FUN, it's ridiculous and charming and it represents childhood to me. A time when I didn't worry about effects, continuity, or themes, when I didn't worry about anything. I just sat back and let the atmosphere take me away. I want to regain that feeling, the feeling of nothing but the atmosphere. No school, no life, no problems, hopefully this blog will help.

So thats my goal, to review horror films both old and new, local and foreign, and to be in my room, alone,in the dark while I watch them. Hopefully I keep up with it, I've got tons of horror films from the 30's to the present that sit unwatched. For the first I think we'll start with a classic, the 1932 zombie thriller with Bela Lugosi "White Zombie". Review will be up soon