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3.3
262 Ratings

White Zombie

Directed by Victor Halperin
United States, 1932
Horror, Romance

Synopsis

Young couple Madeleine and Neil are coaxed by acquaintance Monsieur Beaumont to get married on his Haitian plantation. Beaumont’s motives are purely selfish as he makes every attempt to convince the beautiful young girl to run away with him…

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White Zombie Directed by Victor Halperin
Really a handsome film, and I’m sure the new restoration looks a thousand times better. The set design is atmospheric, the photography moody, and the music score enervating but innovative. The real frissons come from the sound effects, which deliver some striking moans and screams.
October 28, 2017
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White Zombie also has a distinct aesthetic: the dopey split screens and zigzagging scene transitions only add to its charm. These rudimentary special effects were achieved with then-nascent optical printing technology that had clearly seized Halperin’s imagination and enlarged his visual vocabulary. Halperin’s daft editing choices, harnessed to a proven box office formula, resulted in a surprisingly experimental feat of exploitation cinema.
October 30, 2015
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Certain aspects of Victor Halperin’s 1932 film—the alternately trancelike and hysterical performances, the willful lack of shot-to-shot continuity, the curled eyebrows and forked goatee of Bela Lugosi’s witch doctor—threaten to reduce the film to camp but end up contributing to its dreamlike, dread-soaked atmosphere.
March 12, 2013
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What are people saying?

  • josé neves's rating of the film White Zombie

    35mm, UCLA restoration. An extraordinary initial link of a chain that came to be decisive in contemporary fiction, albeit here more political: a zombie is an individual who works for free for a criminal mind. We could name him as a slave and call the criminal a boss. But more than a Marxist work, it's a surrealistic delusion about the "amour fou," which was only echoed before in Borzage's "Seventh Heaven" ...

  • Duncan Gray's rating of the film White Zombie

    Cinema's first zombie movie! How old is it? So old that it predates when zombie meant Romero's flesh-eaters, and instead was rooted in Haitian voodoo. The best and worst pre-Code tendencies: stiff writing and acting, but frequently an inventive shot or an eerie bit of sound design, and always a perverse undercurrent from this story about killing your crush so you can make them a reanimated slave. Fun time had by all.

  • Matthew_Lucas's rating of the film White Zombie

    Bela Lugosi stars in the very first zombie movie, which introduced the Haitian legend to the world in 1932. When a young couple travels to Haiti to get married, a jealous benefactor brings Lugosi's creepy zombie slave driver in to curse the woman so he can keep her as his own. A bit stiff in places, but there are some interesting visual things going on here, as well as a terrifically edited, nail biting finale.

  • Christopher R. Smith's rating of the film White Zombie

    It's horribly dated and excruciatingly slow-paced by modern standards - this is one film that has not aged well. But the lavish stage-bound sets and overwrought performances sometimes reach a strange almost surreal quality that makes for some very memorable gothic imagery. Maybe more interesting as a historical relic than as entertainment, but those with a taste for classic horror will find a lot to savor here.

  • mjgildea's rating of the film White Zombie

    2 1/2 out of 5 stars. A tough watch with brutal story pacing which is a classic example of why I'm not a fan of movies from the early 30s. On the plus side some of the imagery is fantastic. It kind of felt like Fritz Lang making Dracula. White Zombie is more of a museum piece than a work of art but still worth a look.

  • Matthew Horvath's rating of the film White Zombie

    "For you, my friend, they are the angels of death!" Lugosi kicks serious ass in this flick! For what should have been some Grade-Z-Talkie, the Halperin Bros. were pretty damned groundbreaking. There's some truly creepy shots in this. Good commentary on what it means to possess someone; "I thought that beauty alone would satisfy. But the soul is gone. I can't bear those empty, staring eyes."

  • Kyle Chiba's rating of the film White Zombie

    Worth a watch but offers little rewatchability for me. Theres some good atmosphere at times and I liked the creepy extreme close ups of Bela Lugosi's eyes as well as the set design. The finale was quite memorable.

  • markdeniz's rating of the film White Zombie

    I know it's a classic and I know it's Lugosi but it's actually quite hard to watch in 2010 and has aged much worse than 'I Walked with a Zombie', some of the dramatic pauses are a little too long and a little too dramatic but it does have charm, it does have character and for its time it must have been a hell of a film!

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