Based on The Magic Island by William Seabrook
Produced by Edward Halperin
Directed by Victor Halperin
Plot: Madelaine Short is reunited with her fiancée in Haiti for their wedding. However, voodoo master Murder Legendre has eyes for her and uses his magic to murder and revive her as a zombie. Murder has a history of eliminating his rivals and turning them into voodoo zombies for his factory. Can Neill and Madelaine be reunited despite the unholy alliance between Murder Legendre and Charles Beaumont?
Personal Thoughts: This is one of my personal favorites from Lugosi. I remember discovering it on VHS circa 1990 and being mesmerized by the close-up shots of Lugosi’s hypnotic eyes. His features almost make him appear to be Lucifer himself. I also think it is one of the best of the traditional voodoo zombie flicks despite some less than stellar acting from the supporting cast. Get past that and you’ll definitely enjoy it. While I still have the creaky Alpha Video DVD version, the Blu-ray editions are clearly the way to go. Just do your research before buying as some people have complained that the Kino version restoration was too much, resulting in an unnatural look to the film. The Cary Roan version generally gets the better reviews.
- After being shopped around various film studios, United Artists finally bought the rights.
- Original print was some five minutes longer (74 minutes).
- Poor box office results for a mainstream film but successful for independent films at the time.
- Critically panned upon release but now considered one of Lugosi’s best films.
- Considered the first full-length zombie film.
- Revolt of the Zombies (1936) is a very loosely connected sequel.
- Rob Zombie’s love of all things horror was the catalyst for naming his band White Zombie.
- Catch the trailer and film on YouTube
- Kino Classics and Cary Roan Blu-ray editions
- As a bonus, listen to episode 132 of the B Movie Cast
- Check out the novel adaptation written by Stephen D. Sullivan