White Zombie: Kino Classics' Remastered Edition [Blu-ray]
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Along a desolate road in the Haitian mountains, a carriage bearing Neil Parker and Madeleine Short encounters a funeral in which the body is being buried in the road. Further down the road, the coach stops at the sight of a man of satanic appearance: six human shapes step forth, and the horrified driver shouts ''Zombies!'', signaling the first appearance of the living dead in American cinema. When first released, WHITE ZOMBIE occupies a deserved place beside DRACULA and FRANKENSTEIN as one of the most eerie and interesting horror films of the 1930's and remains a horror classic. Remastered in HD for the first time from Kino Classics!
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Top customer reviews
For those of you who haven't seen this and are curios about this movie and other classic horrors - definitely check this out. This is very well done horror not titled Frankenstein or Dracula. It is roughly about an hour or so long & is great to watch on a nice cold foggy day or when in the mood to watch an old gritty black and white horror film
If you want to buy it or see it, I recommend the DVD from the Roan group as the transfer is as sharp as I have ever seen. It is a public domain film so many companies like Alpha have released it, but the Roan Group is the one to get..plus is has a few cool bonus features..
The movie might not hold up well compared to today's zombie movie standards, but film historians and others who want to see movies that are ground breakers in their time certainly should not pass this little gem up...
Lugosi is "Murder" Legendre, a satanic practitioner of voodoo in Haiti who agrees to help a plantation owner (Frank Frazer) get possession of his agent's (John Harron) young bride (Madge Bellamy), only to betray him by turning the girl into a zombie to serve his own evil ends. Along with his signature role as Count Dracula, Lugosi's Legendre is one of the actor's most memorable characterizations. With a pointed widow's peak, bushy eyebrows, split moustache and goatee (courtesy makeup master Jack Pierce), Lugosi is the very personification of all that is sinister. It's a terrific performance, conveyed through expression, gesture, and vocal cadence.
The first true zombie film, WHITE ZOMBIE is sometimes criticized for its melodramatic acting style, but this is actually one of the reasons why the movie works so well. Everything about it seems dreamlike and other worldly, and this includes the stylized performances which blend right into the marvelous gothic atmosphere of the piece. The long stretches without dialog evokes the eloquence of silent cinema. There's a poetic quality to WHITE ZOMBIE that makes it unique among other horror films of the time.
Kino/Lorber's Blu-ray of WHITE ZOMBIE offers us a brand new, restored version transferred from a 35mm fine grain print with a few brief scenes taken off 16mm elements. Included also is an unenhanced version that retains the natural film grain. While the digitally restored version does give the illusion of pristine quality, the image is compromised by burned out whites and a slightly smeary look. However, this is more noticeable close up and not as much from a comfortable viewing distance. Also, the film is brighter and cleaner, minus all the white specks and scratches. On the other hand, the downside of DNR is apparent when you watch the raw version which, by comparison, has more visible detail and whites don't burn out. The soundtrack's hiss and pop isn't as obtrusive on the restored version as it is on the raw version. Even though it's not perfect, this release of WHITE ZOMBIE blows away anything we've seen before on this title.
Extra features include an enlightening commentary by film historian Frank Thompson, a 1932 interview with Bela Lugosi, the 1951 re-issue trailer and a stills gallery.