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.


  1. In my colonial lit class last semester we read a book that took place in the Caribbean and dealt with zombies quite a bit--it's an African idea that got transplanted to the Caribbean during the slave trade and became more popular there. People were forced to work in the fields under the scorching sun all day and they often felt that their bodies and minds were operating separately from exhaustion. So the idea of the zombie was born. I'm glad you finally got around to posting, we've been on the edge of our seats for weeks.

  2. scantily clad? she is barely clad at all.