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White Zombie: Excerpt


After his success in Tod Browning's "Dracula," Hungarian actor Bela Lugosi (1882-1956) refused the role of the monster in "Frankenstein" because he believed all the grunting required of him would be beneath his dignity as an actor. Ironically, however, Lugosi tended to accept any script offered to him in which there was plenty of dialog. The result was a string of low-grade Z pictures that were basically parodies of his great success as Count Dracula. "White Zombie," however, WAS an exception. Directed by Victor Halperin (1895-1983), "White Zombie" was a stylish, moody and atmospheric piece about voodoo and zombies, and fully satisfied Lugosi's penchant for "chewing up the scenery." "White Zombie" was cast with former silent actors which, at least in part, explains the stilted acting -- outdated for even 1932. In this clip Lugosi, as master of the zombies, prepares a wax doll with which he will cast a spell over Madge Bellamy (1899-1990), making her one of the living dead. She has just married John Harron (1903-1939). Their host, Robert Frazier (1891-1944), proposes a toast to the bride. After drinking to her health, Harron hands his empty glass to Madge and jokingly asks her to read the "tea leaves." What will you do with this clip? Will you use it as an example of movie voodoo in a documentary about the real thing? Will you use it as an example of Bela Lugosi's work in a video about him? Or how about incorporating it as an example in a video on the horror film. How about in a video blog explaining why you think black and white horror movies are better than color? Or old is better than new? Let your imagination be your guide. If you need more, the entire movie can be found here:

Edward Halperin Productions

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