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Directed by Victor Halperin

United States 1932 68 mins.

I Walked With A Zombie, Night of the Living Dead, and countless other films trace their lineage back to White Zombie, widely regarded as the first zombie movie. The film is dominated by Bela Lugosi’s compelling performance as a Haitian voodoo master who uses a combination of magic potions and mind control to turn natives into docile slave workers for his sugar mill…and to impose his will upon a comely visitor (Madge Bellamy). A low-budget independent production, White Zombie cannily transcends its financial restraints with sets recycled from Dracula and Frankenstein as well as a robust soundtrack of chanting natives, screeching buzzards, and, above all, the creaking, groaning machinery of the sugar mill.

Preservation funding provided by the Packard Humanities Institute.