Friday, March 5, 2010

The MARCH of Death, Day 5: White Zombie Review

REMINDER: These reviews will be brief, as there are 31 in total to write this month. The purpose is to give a few brief thoughts about each film and consequently open the door to discussion.

It often frustrates me when I think about this generation's horror fans. Due to the fact that so many films are being remade; many of these young people have no idea that there actually were original genre films that predated these reboots. They either don't know about or don't care to bother with Carpenter's Halloween or Romero's Dawn of the Dead. However, horror fans of my generation are guilty of something as well: not taking the time to seek out and watch the true origins of the genre. It seems ridiculous to me. With many of these early works in the public domain, one can get 100 on a DVD for ten or twenty bucks. Now granted, most of them will truly suck; but there is still tremendous relevance to these films. If one watches them through a historical lens, as a student, some of them can be quite enjoyable and informative. Case in point, White Zombie. Filmed in just 11 days back in 1932 this film is one of the earlier portrayals of zombies in cinema. These are the voodoo type zombies. The one's that existed far before Romero turned them into uncontrollable flesh munching machines. These are the undead creatures that can be controlled and willed against others. Using the sets left over from Universal's Frankenstein and Dracula, costing just $50,000, and showcasing Bela Lugosi's considerable presence; White Zombie is a minimally spoken work of true dread. Yes, if you don't give into it you may find it corny; but just like your dear old granddad in the plaid pants and stripped shirt, it's far more rewarding to spend time with your predecessors than avoid them because they're simply not flashy.

White Zombie
Director: Victor Halperin
Starring: Bela Lugosi

7/10 Farmhouses ~ Chris Conduit

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