White Zombie (1932 United Artists Film)
The very first zombie film. Sorry guys, it’s not Night of the Living Dead, though a legendary cinematic masterpiece of horror, was not the first to voyage into the land of the living dead. White Zombie (not the band) was an independent film directed and produced by Victor and Edward Halperin. Also the film stars legendary actor Bela Lugosi who portrays an evil voodoo master, who transforms a beautiful young woman into a zombie, played by Madge Bellamy. Lugosi would own the role as voodoo king and with this creepy glowing eyes he becomes master of people’s wills through black magic and indomitable will power.
Most of the other actors in the film were actors who were big in the silent film era. You can sense this through the cast as they speak with more body language and actions rather than dialogue. The film would be less popular compared to other horror films that Universal was pumping out.
The film is crisp, dark, and down right spooky once Lugosi appears onto the film. When you see him grip control of people’s minds and even raise them from the dead you understand why it is that Lugosi is THE ZOMBIE MASTER! His black suit, this peering gaze, his statuesque posture of power all radiates “I am the Master, and you will obey ME!” Okay that’s from Doctor Who but you can almost see where they got the template for The Master.
Bela Lugosi. Zombies. Creepy eyebrows.
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