Friday, October 24, 2014

Movie Review: "White Zombie" (1932)

Image Source
Movie"White Zombie"
Director: Victor Halperin
Year: 1932
Rating: G/Passed
Running Time: 1 hour, 9 minutes

Neil Parker (John Harron) and his fiancĂ© Madeline Short (Madge Bellamy) travel to Haiti, where Neil is to work at the sugar plantation of a man named Charles Beaumont (Robert W. Frazer). Beaumont becomes infatuated with Madeline and gets the help of a witch doctor named Murder Legendre (Bela Lugosi) to turn Madeline into a zombie under Beaumont's control. On the day of Madeline's wedding to Parker, Beaumont puts his plan into action, turning the bride into a white zombie. 

The moral of the story is: never trust a man named Murder! #DUH

It's actually sort of difficult to review movies as old as "White Zombie" because there isn't a whole lot to review in the first place. Many of the technical and stylistic elements of today were obviously not present in these older films, and many people disregard them altogether because of this, which is a shame because many old-school monster movies are actually quite good. The zombies in this movie are not the same you would find in a George A Romero film or in "The Walking Dead." They are zombies of the more traditional definition that came from places like Haiti and other island nations and were often tied to voodoo. A human is drugged, which makes them appear dead. After they are buried, they wake back up and are then dug up by the person who is often the one who drugged them in the first place. The digger-upper claims to be the witch doctor that revived them, and they are often left in a zombie-like state. Our main point with this is don't expect hoards of the undead slowly chasing down people in this movie. What you get is a film that relies heavily on an extremely creepy Bela Lugosi using drugs and voodoo to make his own servants that will do his bidding. Just a close-up shot of Lugosi's eyes are enough to elicit a serious creepy factor, but this in and of itself is pretty much the only thing scary about this movie, other than the concept itself. There are some loud noises that consist of hefty screams and birds shrieking, and this is what the film uses to evoke "fear," well, that and few people falling to their death, but that's about it. It's also hard to say very much about a film that is only 69 minutes long. Beyond Lugosi just being his normal, bushy-browed, wide and fiery-eyed self, there's not that much else to go on here. We say just watch the original "Dracula" instead and skip this movie.

My Rating: 5/10
BigJ's Rating: 5/10
IMDB's Rating: 6.5/10
Rotten Tomatoes Rating: 89%
Do we recommend this movie: Meh.
One year ago, we were watching: "Manos: Hands of Fate"

No comments:

Post a Comment