Tuesday, October 13, 2009

King of the Zombies (1941)

Three people on a plane over the Caribbean are blown off course and land when they hear a radio broadcast. They become the guests of the mysterious Dr. Sangre. The passengers manservant, played by old friend Mantan Moreland, becomes convinced the mansion is crawling with zombies.

Mostly predictable story. Not too funny, not very original, not at all scary, it would seem this film has little going for it. The one thing it does is Mantan. He has quickly become my favorite racial stereotype. Another good point is Marguerite Whitten, who plays a maid who feeds Mantan zombie stories and pie. The whities in the story, mostly forgettable. The poster doesn't show the darker actors, so I have to include a photo of the people that made this thing work.

Here is what sticks in my memory: Dr. Sangre requiring Mantan to sleep in the servants quarters. It seems that the movie makers wanted to take half a stand against racism. A forgettable film if it weren't for the black actors. Shockingly enough, this movie was nominated for an Oscar. So, where do I put it? 2.5? 3? I'm a bonafide fan of Mantan now. AMRU 3.


  1. This is perhaps the most racist film I have ever seen, but I was intrigued enough to do further research into Mantan's work on the film, only to find out that this was supposed to bridge the gap and become an opening into suburban cinema within the genre. It didnt make the film any better in my eyes, but did make the horribly stereotypical dialogue (a little) more acceptable in my eyes.

  2. Oh, there are worse, but I won't be looking for them. And it's probably not too far off from how blacks, especially servents, were treated in the day.