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Tuesday, November 11, 2008

I WALKED WITH A ZOMBIE (1943)



The three films Jacques Tourneur directed on the cheap to start up Val Lewton’s brief independent run @ RKO are among the most memorable of all B pics. ZOMBIE came second and it may be the most original of the lot as it’s so far removed from the well established horror tropes so effectively refreshed in CAT PEOPLE/’42 and THE LEOPARD MAN/’43. Instead, it’s a Gothic Romance with a calypso beat, a bit of a knock-off of JANE EYRE, but here the looney wife isn’t hidden away, she’s the zombie! Working with a stronger cast than Lewton had in his later pics, Tourneur lets the plot run in straightforward fashion while ladling on the tropical isle atmosphere, the triangular romance (two brothers, one nurse) and the voodoo theatrics, all abstracted by financial necessity to bare minimums . . and all the more effective for it.

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