Tuesday, October 11, 2016
31 Days of Horror #9 White Zombie *** (1932)
The moody and atmospheric White Zombie is often credited as one of the first zombie films. Set in the Voodoo milieu of post-colonial Haiti where the residual effects of slavery and imperialism are heavy in the subtext, the film imagines an army of zombies controlled by the witch doctor Legendre portrayed by the eternally creepy Bela Lugosi. The zombies, in a metaphor for slavery, work at the sugar plantation. When newlyweds arrive for their honeymoon, the owner of the plantation Beaumont falls in love with the bride and enlists Legendre to turn her into a zombie so she will be his slave. So we enter into a surreal world of magic and servitude of all varieties. The zombies are not of The Walking Dead variety either, they wander around like ghosts from the past- unsettling. A unique cinematic experience that feels as if it emanates from a completely different time and place subversive to our modern sensibility.