White Zombie [1932] – Conceptual Review

So – there is an almost complete List Of Zombie Movies on Wikipedia that shows us a number of good films with zombie themes – that should be watched. And I started with the first on the list – White Zombie.

I do not recall seeing the movie before – but since I watched lots of movies – I might not remember correctly – but anyways – I am watching the movie and I will present aspects of the story / characters / villains – how zombies are portrayed here.

The movie was directed by Victor Halperin, written by Garnett Weston and it stars among others – Bela Lugosi, Madge Bellamy, Joseph Cawthorn and Rober Frazer. It was released in august 1932.

The review will contain spoilers to a certain point. I will not describe the movie but some scenes that are essential for the development of the story.

A notable thing about the movie is the simplicity of it – that makes old movies special – no tons of special effects to take you into surreal planes – just simple montage – with basic editing techniques that describe the actions and situations.

The first scene in which we see the zombies – it is a quiet and simple scene – the creepiness of it is stated by the fact that these creatures stay fixed and focused without making any sounds – they look as a whisper from beyond the grave is making them move towards certain destinations.

This is the story of a couple invited over to Monsieur Charles Beaumont – whose real plan is to seduce and flee with the girl. For this – he ends up to some local’s farm – who uses his powers to create a mass of mindless zombies who work for him. He promises Beaumont a potion that will make the girl all his.


He is taken to the farm by one the the zombies. We assist to a scene in which basic movement is involved. The zombies are depicted as being harmful and slow – the standard way that they were shown in the earliest zombie productions.

As a result of an ritual – the girl will vanish from existence. The ones she leaves behind will be filled with regret and illusion. Her fiancee for example will see her image in shadows upon walls and watery surfaces.

Beaumont will end up stealing her body and taking it home. His human happiness is depicted here in a grotesque manner – it shows how individuals can be attached to something that they desire even if it doesn’t really suit their benefits. It is a metaphor for everything with vague consistency and signification – pointless and cruelly constructed – only to be perceived as a means for happiness in one’s life – funny how we dwell into things we find joy in – and which have nothing to do with it…


Some scenes are very well depicted in a dark Victorian atmosphere – all the mystery and the action make the plot whole. The curse of the undead takes its toll – and a turn of events will lead to an unexpected development of the plot.


So… next article will feature a full Left 4 Dead campaign that I played recently.. and tomorrow I want to listen some zombie podcasts and write about them.

Today I worked like 7 hours on my project and didn’t get much time to enjoy other zombie media. But probably tomorrow I will.







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