Wednesday, September 16, 2009

White Zombie (1932)

White Zombie (1932)

Director: Victor Halperin
Writer(s): Garnett Weston
Genre: Horror, Zombies
Rating: 4

Inspiration: Weekly Zombies - check out September Zombies for more zombie posts and if you have a zombie post for the week please comment below with your links

Description from imdb:
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.

Tagline: The Dead Walk Among Us!

Amusing quote:
Madeline: Driver, who were those men we saw?
Coach Driver: They are not men, madame. They are dead bodies!

Interesting tidbits from wikipedia:
-- It is the first film dealing with zombies, a popular horror film subject of the last forty years.

-- Its use of sophisticated camera, lighting, and sound techniques was pioneering for the genre.

-- It contains a multitude of singularly-memorable moments, including:

A frightful scene showing zombies working in the sugar mill owned by Lugosi's character.

The foot-to-head introductory pan of the zombie played by Frederick Peters, one of the genre’s scariest-looking characters.

The famous "flub" of horror-favorite Brandon Hurst holding his nose as he’s being thrown to a watery death.

Actor-musician Clarence Muse’s description of zombies, a rare instance in early films, especially horror films, in which an African-American was provided an opportunity to deliver lines in a non-stereotypical manner.

The early close-up of Lugosi’s eyes that travels across a wide shot and settles on the head of the actor.

Zombie speed: slow

Zombification: black magic powder

Zombie mode: low functioning and controlled by master

My thoughts:
In-a-word(s): evil eyes

I first learned about White Zombie after reading the Zombie Origin II post by Heather of Gofita's Pages. She found that "zombie had no general meaning in the English language and that not one person in a hundred knew what it meant before White Zombie" from the book White Zombie: Anatomy of a Horror Film by Gary Rhodes. So, of course, I had to check out this flick being the origin of zombie movies and the word.

The description above says it all. Classic love triangle with zombies. This is a great historical zombie film with the voodoo influence. Hey, there's even a zombie piano playing scene.

Ewww moment: none really, movie-making of the 30's was not as sophisticated as today to create the special effects of gore

Amusing moment: as zombies shuffle along working in the mill, one of the zombies just plops and falls headlong into the mill but the operation continues and the zombies continue working per usual.

Imagination Designs
Images from: Lovelytocu