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White Zombie

Movie Information

In Brief: Victor Halperin’s White Zombie is a film outside the realm of normal filmmaking. It was odd in 1932, with reviewers at odds over whether it was some kind of art film or a horror film — and in both cases either loving it or absolutely hating it. Most independent productions of its era are pretty terrible. This one verges on the amazing and sometimes crosses that line. It’s also something of a shameful picture in that its star, Bela Lugosi, received the sum of $500 (a few sources say $800) for his services. (Lugosi was a bad businessman and had an even worse agent.) And the film is not only unthinkable without him, there’s a certain amount of evidence — based on things said by Lugosi’s friend Clarene Muse, who played the coachman at the beginning of the movie — that Lugosi may have directed parts of it. The fact that nothing else Halperin directed — apart from fleeting moments in Supernatural (1933) — is even remotely on par with White Zombie certainly suggests other input was involved. This excerpt was taken from a review by Ken Hanke published on Aug. 24, 2010.
Score:

Genre: Horror
Director: Victor Halperin
Starring: Bela Lugosi, Madge Bellamy, Robert Frazer
Rated: NR

The Thursday Horror Picture Show will screen White Zombie on Thursday, March 16, at 9:15 p.m. at The Grail Moviehouse, hosted by Xpress movie critic Scott Douglas.

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About Ken Hanke
Head film critic for Mountain Xpress from December 2000 until his death in June 2016. Author of books "Ken Russell's Films," "Charlie Chan at the Movies," "A Critical Guide to Horror Film Series," "Tim Burton: An Unauthorized Biography of the Filmmaker."

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