Neil and Madeline, a young couple in love, head off on an exotic
cruise to Haiti they run into more than they bargained for. Meeting
a rich man on the boat by the name of Charles Beaumont, the two
decide to visit his mansion on the island. It is here where we
learn that Beaumont has himself fallen in love with the beautiful
Madeline and will do anything to steal her from Neil. By making
a deal with a mysterious man by the name of Legendre, Beaumont
is assured he will have the object of his desires, the only catch
is that Legendre turns Madeline into a zombie. As Neil and Beaumont
fight for Madeline, Legendre reveals that he has his own plans
in mind for all of those involved in the bizarre love triangle.
Made in 1932, White Zombie is hailed as the first zombie movie,
and has become a cult classic.
Starring Bela Lugosi as the very evil and eerie Legendre, Lugosi
gives and incredible performance, almost as good as his role in
Dracula. Full of classic Lugosi stares and close ups, White Zombie
showcases the looks that made him famous a year earlier in the
role of the count.
For it's time period White Zombie has quite a few creepy
scenes and some pretty dark undertones. There is a scene where
Legendre has a bunch of zombie slaves working in his sugar mill
and there is also quite a sinister chant at the beginning of the
film as local residents are preparing a body for the after life.
The film also touches on some of the zombie lore and law that
actually existed in Haiti at the time. The best example of this
is when families begin to bury their dead in the center of the
streets in order to keep people from stealing the fresh corpses.
White Zombie has a lot of dark images, a stellar cast and is directed
by Edward Halperin, who would go on to direct Revolt of the Zombies
in 1936 and Buried Alive in 1939. Called White Zombie due to the
fate of the female lead played by Madge Bellamy, White Zombie
is a true cult classic and for it's time quite a dark film.
And yes it was also the inspiration for the Name of Rob Zombie's
band and if you pay attention to Legendre's top enforcer
zombie Chauvin, ya might even get a glimpse at Rob's fashion
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