Trompé Setsuled (setsuled) wrote,
Trompé Setsuled

The Zombie Ceiling

I've never fantasised about making love to a zombie. But some people might think it's a good idea to have a completely obedient, voiceless and mindless lover around. To these people I recommend for edification1932's White Zombie, the film from which Rob Zombie's band took its name. It's an enjoyable, atmospheric little horror film, though a lot of that atmosphere is nicked wholesale from the Universal lot, notable Dracula's castle.

Only here it's a gothic monument somehow in Haiti, perhaps built by Hospitallar knights who got really lost during the Crusades. And who should be living in Dracula's castle but Dracula himself, Bela Lugosi, here actually playing a wealthy gentleman with the unassuming name of Murder Legendre.

He's a voodoo master--it wasn't until the 60s that zombies in movies took the form of mobs of brain eating, rotting corpses. In White Zombie they're basically what Haitian folklore says they are, people brought back to life as thralls of the voodoo master. Murder uses them to work his sugar mill, really cheap slave labour, basically. Satisfying, too, since a lot of his zombies are his former enemies.

When an attractive young man and woman, lovers, come to stay with Murder's neighbour Charles (Robert Frazer), Charles falls in love with the woman, Madeleine (Madge Bellamy). He enters into a scheme with Murder to kill Madeleine and make her Charles' zombie bride. Which, as paths to true love go, may be rockier than most, I don't know, I won't spoil it for you.

Madeleine's white, which is less special than the title suggests since several of Murder's zombies are also white. Since the production code expressly forbade depictions of white slavery I suppose this movie couldn't have been made after 1934.

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Tags: bela lugosi, horror, movies, white zombie, zombie
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