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White Zombie

White Zombie

1932
Horror
1h 9m
A young man turns to a witch doctor to lure the woman he loves away from her fiance, but instead turns her into a zombie slave. (imdb)
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White Zombie

1932
Horror
1h 9m
Your probable score
Avg Percentile 40.62% from 432 total ratings

Ratings & Reviews

(432)
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Rated 26 Oct 2019
52
41st
*Stares deeply into Bela Lugosi's hypnotic eyes* "Let me live 'neath your spell, Do do, that voodoo, that you do, so well" So well in fact, that it's easy to get lost and ignore the lack of script or characters other than voodoo Lugosi in this eerie atmospheric zombie classic.
Rated 16 Jan 2016
55
32nd
Very slow paced zombie version of Dracula, with Bela Lugosi once again playing the mesmerizing foreigner using his monstrous powers to seduce an innocent woman. Not much in the way of a proper script here, but some of the shots and wipe transitions are very imaginative. Lugosi mostly carries the picture with an intense, menacing glare (in extreme closeup).
Rated 04 Jun 2008
73
44th
Not the kind of zombie movie modern film goers want to see. It is extremely dated, and rather boring. Few eventful scenes and uninteresting dialog.
Rated 16 May 2011
84
93rd
Gorgeous cinematography and sound design decades ahead of its time (maybe the first audio jump=scares?) elevate this one above its inauspicious origins. Lugosi is better in this than in Dracula.
Rated 10 Apr 2019
63
34th
The first real zombie film (voodoo zombies, that is), and while it has its fair share of interesting images and nice framing, the hokeyness detracts from any horror therein. It's also hard to listen to at times, though that may be due to low-quality prints and not the filmmakers deciding to use newly-created sound film for evil.
Rated 24 Oct 2015
78
42nd
"White Zombie" is a mixed bag. Much of the film seems a bit uneven and disjointed, but one must keep in mind that this is an indie movie from the 30s and that many prints were lost. The sound mixing makes it difficult to hear, again attesting to its age. The hypnotic tone and the performance from Bela Lugosi make it worthwhile, and nearly 10 years before "Citizen Kane" it has a wealth of inventive camera tricks and angles. It shows its age but also stands as an important film for cinematography.
Rated 11 Jun 2016
65
51st
It would have worked better as a silent, as the dialogue is sluggish and generally limply delivered. Visually though, it's a treat - there are plenty of neat camera effects, Lugosi's stare is mesmerising and the climactic sequence is surprisingly exciting.
Rated 06 Nov 2021
74
36th
The romantic angle was unexpected, but some interesting shots ("curtaining" 2 parts of the screen from each other), can't hide that this story barely fills the hour (who were the guys on horseback who filled time 2/3rds in?) Despite being mostly a string of plot points, scenes go on too long. Story-wise the hero & heroine are useless - the hero finds her by luck(?) & she doesn't even love him enough to not stab him - the missionary stops her & then leaves, only to show up & help out again later
Rated 04 Nov 2018
69
50th
It's as I always say never trust a witch doctor
Rated 31 May 2020
58
27th
I'm guessing either that Bela Lugosi loved for movies to include lots of closeups of his eyes, or directors in general at this time loved it, because BOY do we get treated to a lot of hypnotic Bela Lugosi gazes in this movie.
Rated 15 Dec 2013
71
70th
Bela Lugosi probably really could control people with his eyes. Like Mario Bava's Black Sabbath, this is one of those movies that inspired the name of a heavy metal band: A Chemical Romance.
Rated 27 Feb 2010
2
33rd
Dull, dull, dull, dull, dull. Unless this was some kind of incredible experiment in hypnotizing the audience and turning them into zombies, it's a fucking failure.
Rated 16 Apr 2021
45
20th
While there are certainly some impressive and memorable scenes, unfortunately as a whole this film does not hang together as well as it should. What is most appealing to me is the potential impact this film had on those to follow. Most interestingly, I have a strong suspicion that Orson Welles saw this as a young man, as there are elements of his stage production 'Voodoo Macbeth' as well as his films 'Citizen Kane', 'Macbeth' and 'Othello' evident in the set design and overall style.
Rated 14 Aug 2007
73
38th
Excellent Bela Lugosi and some imaginative camera work. This does blow Dracula away though. Plus Madge Bellamy gets down to her lingerie! I love it when they do that in old school Hollywood.
Rated 19 May 2011
75
67th
A movie of haunting images, with Bela Lugosi redefining schadenfreude.
Rated 03 Oct 2017
45
26th
The ideas and story were better than the finished product that is pretty lackluster. I also really like the backdrop paintings and sets. Bela Lugosi is fun in an off shoot of his "Dracula" role. Voodoo Zombies are just as cool to me as the undead kind but they depend more on story than their flesh-eating brethren.
Rated 07 Sep 2020
65
60th
With a better script, this could have been a classic. Halperin directs the hell out of it, and Lugosi chews scenery like a pro. The quality of the camerawork and lighting belies its budget deficit, there are a few creepy moments that stay with you, and the subtext is somewhat comparable to I Walked With a Zombie, which was released a decade later. Recommended for its strong 'otherwordly' atmosphere and visual skill.
Rated 17 Mar 2008
92
61st
Beautifully photographed; much better than its name may suggest.
Rated 19 May 2007
70
55th
Heavily corny horror film with a lot of problems that somehow still works. They just don't make movies with atmosphere like this anymore
Rated 06 Mar 2010
70
64th
Bela Lugosi's unibrow is pretty scary.
Rated 23 Sep 2013
70
68th
I think I've gotta catch the restoration of this one. Great use of background music, a haunting atmosphere, and Bela Lugosi's eyes make this a horror movie to remember. The sluggish first half is turned around at the end with some true perversity hiding under all the gothic arches.
Rated 14 May 2013
85
89th
Was not expecting to love this as much as I did. Right from the get-go it has this wonderfully eerie feeling, a great if typical performance from Lugosi, and a beautiful visual style. Deserves way more recognition than it gets.
Rated 10 Jun 2012
20
30th
Silly as hell, but good fun.
Rated 29 Mar 2012
60
41st
I wasn't expecting to be as genuinely creeped out as I ended up being by this one. The film is certainly crude for much of its running time - whenever they need to dump exposition the movie just stops - but there's also a real sense of atmosphere here, with scenes such as the grave robbery standing out as especially powerful. Lugosi is also fairly fantastic in this- while his line readings are often awkward he's able to express so much so well through his face and gestures.
Rated 25 Apr 2010
5
81st
It does have a way about it.
Rated 01 Nov 2013
80
51st
Great to see such an accurate on-zombie perspective, so modern - even if so old.
Rated 26 Sep 2020
35
27th
Similar to Dracula in that it doesn't have much going for it besides Lugosi's stare and some cool looking sets.
Rated 21 May 2011
73
36th
Fun little early horror film. The plot is kind of ridiculous, even taking into account the supernatural elements, but it works well enough.
Rated 01 Jan 2016
91
70th
A moody and inventive horror movie which is shot more like a silent film than the stagy early talkies of its time.
Rated 14 Aug 2022
50
26th
It's been a half hour and I am already struggling to remember what I just watched. Maybe the power of Lugosi's eyes were too much for me.
Rated 05 Jun 2011
20
2nd
Boring, uninteresting and completely terrible in almost every way. Lugosi was ok and the music did set a certain spooky atmosphere, other than that though, it's completely awful. What film are you people watching?
Rated 10 Feb 2019
75
60th
It was probably good that I didn't go in this expecting something on scare/suspense level of later zombie movies, because the zombies themselves are pretty tame. But it is Bela Lugosi's voodoo doctor that is the real menace and biggest plus of this movie.
Rated 10 Oct 2013
63
60th
"the high executioner ... who almost executed ME!" oh bela, you rascal
Rated 25 Mar 2014
80
64th
79.500
Rated 25 Jan 2013
63
54th
Halperin does the easy job of bringing Lugosi's close-ups to his zombie flick, but this film serves a good prelude to the greatest pre-Romero film, I walked with a zombie: while Lugosi reprises his role as a patriarchal, oppressive spiritual and social authority -- voodoo master, slave owner, business man --, the living dead woman presents an extreme metaphor for men's fear and desire of the opposite sex. The finale -- everyone going downhill -- is one of the most hilarious of horror cinema.
Rated 06 Mar 2010
20
12th
Pretty boring. Don't really like the idea about zombie slaves.
Rated 20 Mar 2023
40
16th
As a fan of both the genre and Bela Lugosi, I wanted to like this film. But it just has too many issues. First and foremost, it's an anachronism; it's filmed, acted, and produced in the style of a 1920 silent picture, despite being made in 1932. Lugosi steals every scene he's in, but cannot save the preposterous and plot-hole ridden script. Also, John Harron is simply atrocious, even allowing for the era. This is interesting as a piece of film history, but is otherwise a write-off.
Rated 14 Jan 2010
80
62nd
Some great sets, and atmosphere to spare. Lugosi is good here as expected. It's interesting to see what early zombie films were like, before Romero made them his own. The main problems with this film, though, is the general hokiness of the whole thing. It's just a little hard to take seriously most of the time. But that's okay, because it's so much fun.
Rated 18 Jun 2008
90
89th
Eerie and dreamlike. Top notch early talkie horror.
Rated 16 May 2013
82
62nd
Lugosi's great, and it's endearingly overacted, in a manner that fits the atmosphere. The cinematography is great, and the sound composition is well done too. That damn vulture's screech was haunting as heck.
Rated 09 Jan 2013
40
57th
Promising title and with Bela Lugosi in the creepy part. And this did have a lot of cool gothic imagery carrying it. However the plot and acting was for the most part poor and it became a dull experience. Even Lugosi seemed to get lost under the direction of this Victor Halperin, who with this movie was on a horror path in his directing career. Probable the one being used to most effect was the girl Madge Bellamy getting enough light and focus to create some tension in her zombie modus.
Rated 23 Nov 2014
35
44th
Meant to watch this a few weeks ago, but it's cool, cos Every Day Is Hallowe'en.
Rated 12 Jun 2012
75
44th
This early zombie film delivers some genuine chills, touching on the metaphysical concept of not being in control of one's body/destiny. However, as White Zombie reaches its finale, it becomes more slight, ending in a milquetoast climax of "so what" that's as ludicrous as it is predictable.

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