Friday, November 26, 2010

White Zombie (1932)

Shortly before I started this Blog, I watched White Zombie. The video quality was poor but it was good. Halloween was supposed to be the end of exclusive horror movies, but something happened. That something was AMC's The Walking Dead.

My 14 year old plays Zombie games and watches zombie movies when he goes over his friends house, I'm sure. We're a little strict. I decided that he should be allowed to see The Walking Dead, and we are enjoying it very much. So, what happened was the inevitable conversation about Zombies, their history in cinema and folklore, and even though he hates the 'crappy old movies' I always watch, he thought it a good idea to see all of the old zombie movies in chronological order. White Zombie comes first.

Charles Beaumont (Robert Frazer) is a rich plantation owner in Haiti. He invites the hot Madeline Short (Madge Bellamy) and her fiancee (John Harron) to get married in his lush mansion. His true motives come clear when he starts making a play for the bride to be. Bad form, dude.

He is rebuffed, so he resorts to Plan B: have an evil scientist turn her into a zombie. Now THAT is hot. Evil scientist in question is our very own Bela Lugosi, fresh from his stint as Dracula. He overacts most evilly. I don't want to give anything away, but I'll say this: never trust anyone named 'Murder'.

The sets are lush (freshly rented from Universal), the acting good enough, the heroine hot, and the story nicely creepy. Also, at 69 minutes, wonderfully brief. I understand some five or six minutes were cut from the original, which is interesting because there were a few scenes that dragged. Those scenes must have been painful. I give some films credit for using white space effectively, here it was more like dead air. Still, a good creepy movie. And reasonably "historically" accurate. I've seen it twice now and I doubt I'll see it again, unless I get the opportunity to see a fully restored version on the big screen. Sadly, the Netflix streaming version was no better than the public domain copy. AMRU 3.5.

Now, here is a question I haven't seen addressed on other blogs: why is she a WHITE zombie? Is it because our virginal ingenue is adorned in white for her wedding? Or is it because she's a white chick? I'll try not to read too much into that.

How did the movie fare with my teenager? Not so well. He decided it would be ok if he doesn't see ALL of the zombie movies in order. Still, I'll give him the opportunity, but he may be unavailable. Next up would be the impossible to find (and pronounce) Ouanga, so it'll be White Zombie's sequel, the tragic Revolt of the Zombies. The things I do for this blog...

"Before we are through with this thing we may uncover sins that even the devil would be ashamed of."

No comments:

Post a Comment