WHITE ZOMBIE, an ancient 1932 chiller, is kinda fun, especially after the proper amount of partying. Bela Lugosi is ‘Murder Legendre’, the overseer of a sugar cane mill in mysterious Haiti. He turns various unlucky folk into zombies, when not staring into the camera, looking like an ad for Benzedrine. When a plantation owners visiting guests show up, and one of them is pretty, guess who wants to get her undead.
“Before we get through with this thing we may uncover sins that even the devil would be ashamed of.”
Some eerie moments, with atmospheric backdrops, mostly re-used sets and props from the previous years Dracula and Frankenstein and the silent nuggets The Hunchback Of Notre Dame and The Cat And The Canary. Mainly you get comically dated over-acting by all concerned. Lugosi is in his element. Best appreciated by vintage horror buffs, who will excuse the sluggish pace, quaintly creaking script and hokey performing.
Well, the movie zombie craze that walks among us had to start somewhere, and history owes that distinction to these brief 69 minutes, directed by Victor Halperin, with Madge Bellamy, John Harron, Joseph Cawthorn, and Brandon Hurst. It was successful at the box office.