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White Zombie (1932)

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No Reviews Yet...

Release Date: Jan 1, 1932 Wide

audience

59

liked it
Average Rating: 3.4/5
User Ratings: 6,657

My Rating

Movie Info

In this haunting low-budgeter, Bela Lugosi stars as Murder Legendre, a shadowy character who exercises supernatural powers over the natives in his Haitian domain. Coveting Madge Bellamy as his bride, wealthy Robert Frazier enters into an unholy agreement with Lugosi, whereby Madge will die, then be resurrected as a zombie. ~ Iotis Erlewine, Rovi

G,

Classics, Horror

Garnett Weston

Jun 29, 1999

United Artists - Official Site External Icon

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All Critics (22) | Top Critics (2) | Fresh (16) | Rotten (2) | DVD (7)

It leads the viewer inside a fairy tale, not a slaughterhouse; it's expressionistic, not extreme. It affirms the power of the gesture, the shadow, the shudder. In other words: Who needs blood-red cannibalism when you've got a black-and-white Bela Lugosi?

March 29, 2013 Full Review Source: Commercial Appeal (Memphis, TN)
Commercial Appeal (Memphis, TN)

The divinely satanic-looking Bela Lugosi sinks his teeth into his best role since Dracula, a languorous hypnotist and voodoo master who dominates the film with his assured bearing and cruel control.

March 24, 2013 Full Review Source: Parallax View
Parallax View

The supporting cast is awful and the low budget dictates a few moments worthy of MST3K ribbing. But the atmosphere of dread is pungent, the use of sound is inspired, and the makeup by the great Jack Pierce and Carl Axcelle is minimal but effective.

February 23, 2013 Full Review Source: Creative Loafing
Creative Loafing

Occasional Ed Wood-like campiness notwithstanding, it established a genre that would rise from the grave whenever the economic state of the cinema age might summon it.

February 13, 2013 Full Review Source: Boston Phoenix
Boston Phoenix

Shines through its own failings; but how much better it would be if it didn't have to, if this minor horror classic were instead an all-time genre masterpiece.

April 18, 2011 Full Review Source: Antagony & Ecstasy
Antagony & Ecstasy

Through its own ravishing simplicity, the film achieves the near-operatic.

October 15, 2007 Full Review Source: Projection Booth
Projection Booth

I believe it's the first Hollywood production to feature zombies.

October 27, 2006 Full Review Source: Ozus' World Movie Reviews
Ozus' World Movie Reviews

Eerie horror classic features Lugosi as zombie leader.

June 12, 2005
Video-Reviewmaster.com

In the end, though, it's Lugosi's zombie master that pulls it altogether and makes it work.

April 24, 2003 Full Review Source: Mountain Xpress (Asheville, NC)
Mountain Xpress (Asheville, NC)

It's Bela. It's a classic. Unfortunately, it's also a dreadful little flick.

January 6, 2003
Needcoffee.com

An entrancing and spooky masterpiece of sorts.

December 8, 2002 Full Review Source: Goatdog's Movies
Goatdog's Movies

Audience Reviews for White Zombie

Shortly after his iconic turn as Dracula, Bela Lugosi made this-the first ever zombie film. It's worth noting that this is also an independent film, not made by Universal or some other major studio. That's perhaps why this one seems to be overlooked more often than not. This is a zombie picture nothing like the kind made by Romero, and others following in his footsteps. Because of this, some viewers may find the film disappointing. I kinda liked it. Despite a short running time, it is rather slow, but the pace just adds to the atmosphere-which is done really well. Given the age of the film, it's surprising that there's some ambition here-especially with the camera work, which features cool and unique dissolves/transitions, framing through objects, and a long take (lasting several minutes) during a conversation that reveals important plot info. Despite its obscureness, the film does have an interesting legacy. Rob Zombie's band (before he went solo) took their name from this movies, which I think is just fine.
October 28, 2013
cosmo313
Chris Weber

Super Reviewer

White Zombie is another early Bela Lugosi vehicle, this time he plays an evil voodoo witch doctor who's creating an army of zombies to do his bidding. A young couple recently arrives in Haiti to get married at their friend's estate. But their friend has ulterior motives for inviting them. He's determined to steal her away from the groom. With the help of the evil Legendre (Lugosi), he slips her the zombie potion on her wedding day. However, he has her as a zombie, and where's the fun in that?

Lugosi as Dracula and as Legendre does the hypnotic stare and also does a lot of things with his hands. In fact, he might be doing much the same character, just different make-up. The rest of the cast is pretty undistinguished, and apart from it's notoriety as the first "zombie movie" there isn't much reason to watch this. It's rather dull and uninteresting by today's standards.
April 10, 2013
Mr Awesome
Devon Bott

Super Reviewer

A great Lugosi movie, if you're a fan you should see this. He has zombies at his command. Fantastic movie!
September 25, 2012
ajv2688

Super Reviewer

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