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The Bela Lugosi voodoo zombie horror flick is demented as ever on this Blu-ray edition....
Kino / 67 Minutes / 1932 / Unrated / Street Date: January 29, 2013
White Zombie is a seriously creepy movie. I don't think it's entirely fair to lodge it among Dracula (1931) or Frankenstein (1931) as a full-fledged horror classic, but there's a mood and a feel that the movie continues to broadcast eighty years after its initial release that keeps horror buffs talking about it.
In the movie, we meet a young newlywed (Madge Bellamy) who gets forcibly pulled away from her wedding party only to find herself a guest at the strange altar of a voodoo figurehead (Bela Lugosi), who is obsessed about amassing himself a zombie army. Once this innocent young thing gets thrust into the hell of White Zombie's narrative, things get feverish and dream-like: as the horror unfolds before us, it's never entirely clear whether these actions are actually occurring or if it's all just a terrifying vision quest.
As a narrative, White Zombie is all over the map, and aside from Lugosi chewing scenery with thrilling abandon, the on-screen performances here are static and unconvincing, but Edward and Victor Halperin bring such a hideously rich tone to their Gothic tale that it all but forgives the movie's shortcomings. To call it a must-see is a bit overreaching, but horror fans have been waiting for a high-def edition of the movie for years, so this new Kino release will no doubt prove to be of strong interest.