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White Zombie (1932)

Updated: May 13, 2022

"Corpses taken from their graves and made to work in the sugar mill and the fields at night."

Manscaping gone wrong.

1932 was a good year for horror with the release of this, Freaks and The Old House. This film is the early zombie lore, before George Romero's ravenous flesh eating zombies, they were simply used for slave labor. Mostly harmless and slow, they would only kill if commanded to. This film looks very old but can be seen pretty clearly for a low budget film from the thirties. The plot is easy to understand, a man turns a woman that he has a crush on into a zombie for his own selfish lustful needs. Kind of a dick move, and I doubt he considered how that would affect everybody else involved. It predictably does not go happily ever after in this dark exploration of death, love and institution of marriage. There is not much for violence or gore but plenty of suggestive camera work and creepy voodoo. This film stars Bela Lugosi and his crazy facial hair (hipsters take notice). Madge Bellamy who was a very busy actress in the twenties and is very convincing in this role as the hypnotizing Madeline Parker. She later becomes the inspiration for a dated rock band. The zombies are effectively creepy with minimal make up and effects. Not all the films I have seen from this era are good, this is one of the good ones. Obviously this film is not perfect. It can feel a little slow. However, this is one of the great classics, so if you're in the mood for an old black and white this would be a good choice. A seasoned horror fan would really appreciate this film. I give it a 7 out of 10 as it's a solid creepy old film to watch any night of the week.

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