6.4/10
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171 user 87 critic

White Zombie (1932)

Passed | | Horror | 4 August 1932 (USA)
A young man turns to a witch doctor to lure the woman he loves away from her fiancé, but instead turns her into a zombie slave.

Director:

Victor Halperin

Writers:

Garnett Weston (story by), Garnett Weston (dialogue by)
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Cast

Complete credited cast:
Bela Lugosi ... 'Murder' Legendre
Madge Bellamy ... Madeline Short Parker
Joseph Cawthorn ... Dr. Bruner
Robert Frazer ... Charles Beaumont
John Harron ... Neil Parker
Brandon Hurst ... Silver
George Burr Macannan ... Von Gelder - Zombie (as George Burr MacAnnan)
Frederick Peters ... Chauvin - Zombie
Annette Stone ... Maid
John T. Prince ... Ledot - Zombie (as John Printz)
Dan Crimmins ... Pierre - Witch Doctor
Claude Morgan Claude Morgan ... Zombie
John Fergusson John Fergusson ... Zombie
Velma Gresham ... Tall Maid
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Storyline

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. For help Beaumont turns to the devious Legendre, a man who runs his mill by mind controlling people he has turned into zombies. After Beaumont uses Legendre's zombie potion on Madeleine, he is dissatisfied with her emotionless being and wants her to be changed back. Legendre has no intention of doing this and he drugs Beaumont as well to add to his zombie collection. Meanwhile, grieving 'widower' Neil is convinced by a local priest that Madeleine may still be alive and he seeks her out. Written by Gary Jackson <garyjack5@cogeco.ca>

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis

Taglines:

Stranger things are happening than you ever dreamed of! See more »

Genres:

Horror

Certificate:

Passed | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
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Details

Country:

USA

Language:

English

Release Date:

4 August 1932 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Im Bann des weissen Zombies See more »

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Box Office

Budget:

$50,000 (estimated)
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

| (Roan restoration) | (Ontario)

Sound Mix:

Mono (RCA Photophone Noiseless Recording)

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Bela Lugosi pronounced here a few words in flawless French, curiously enough, without a trace of his trademark Hungarian accent but sounding instead like a true France native. It is unclear whether Bela was fluent in the language. See more »

Goofs

When Madeline sees Legendre's face in her wine, she begins to set the glass down with both hands, mostly using her left. In the next shot, her right hand holds the cup and her left is on the table. Also, the position of her head changes between shots, from looking slightly up to looking directly ahead. See more »

Quotes

[first lines]
Neil Parker: Looks like a burial.
Madeline: In the road?
See more »

Crazy Credits

A huge percentage of this film's credited crew have their names simply listed under the heading "Art and Technical" with no further identification of job. See more »

Alternate Versions

Also available in a computer colorized version. See more »

Connections

Spoofed in When the Shadows Lay Darkest (1997) See more »

Soundtracks

S.O.S.
(uncredited)
Music by Nem Herkan
See more »

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User Reviews

 
Voodoo & Zombies & Lugosi, Too
23 June 2001 | by Ron OliverSee all my reviews

A diabolical voodoo master plots to turn a beautiful young American into a WHITE ZOMBIE, a slave of his perverted passions...

Here is one of the great unheralded horror classics of the 1930's. Almost forgotten today, it is an excellent example of what can be accomplished by an obscure film company (in this case Halperin Productions) working with a tiny budget, but using enormous flair & imagination. Some of the visuals - the opening scene of the burial on the road, the sugar mill worked by zombies - remain in the imagination for an uncomfortable amount of time, one sure sign of true success for a horror film. Certain of the settings - the hillside graveyard, the villain's towering fortress - are as good as you'll find anywhere. Additionally, the moody music of Xavier Cugat & the make-up wizardry of Jack Pierce help tremendously.

But it's the performance of Bela Lugosi, looking utterly satanic, which is truly memorable. Released the year following his celebrated Dracula, WHITE ZOMBIE gives him another character which, in measures of pure menace, is easily the equal of the Count. With his mesmeric eyes, expressive, spider-like hands & wonderfully eerie voice, Lugosi radiates absolute evil. This talented Austro-Hungarian actor (born Béla Ferenc Dezsõ Blaskó, 1882-1956) would fritter away much of his career in low-budget dregs, but here he must have realized he was in competent hands and he is obviously having a wonderful time. To see his imposing, cloaked figure stalk about the screen, closely followed by his Living Dead slaves, is to enjoy one of cinema's most deliciously spooky moments.

Madge Bellamy & John Harron are both impressive as Lugosi's victims. Robert Frazer is very good indeed as the plantation owner whose obsession for Miss Bellamy throws him right into Lugosi's clutches. Elderly Joseph Cawthorn scores as the aged missionary who may be the only person wise enough to thwart the zombie master. Movie mavens will recognize an uncredited Clarence Muse as the frightened coach driver in the opening sequence.


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