In White Zombie, a young couple are persuaded by a friend to hold their wedding on his Haitian estate. The couples 'friend', however attempts to the young girl to run away with him and get married. After being rejected many times, he turns to a witch doctor, Legendre, who has discovered how to use mind control to put people into a zombie like state, where they have no control over their actions. After he turns the girl into a zombie, he regrets his decision but he his soon turned into a zombie himself. Their only chance at survival is the young girls fiancé, who attempts to release the two from there zombie like state.
White Zombie was released in 1932. It was produced by Edward Halperin and filmed under the direction of Victor Halperin. The film was made on an estimated $50,000 budget. It was filmed in just eleven days, shot mostly at Bronson Canyon and the Universal Studios lot. In its opening week, it only grossed $6,500. Compared to other horror movies of the time, this was relatively poor. Dracula, for example grossed over $14,000 in its first week in 1931.
When White Zombie was released, it received poor reviews. Critics cited the subpar acting and over-the-top writing as the main issues. Modern film critics often give the film mixed reviews. Many praise the mysterious atmosphere, but believe that the acting holds the film back. Although it may not be the best horror film ever made, it holds a special place in history of the genre. It is thought of as the first feature length zombie film ever made. It set the stage for many other zombie films that came after it. Many zombie films borrow characteristics of the zombies, but most do not follow the Haitian origins plot. The sequel, Revolt of the Zombies, was released in 1936 to generally negative reviews. It could not match the originality or the atmosphere of the original.
Because White Zombie's copyright was not renewed, is became public domain. This means that it is legal to watch online. There are several versions of the movie that were released. A 65-minute version was released in the USA and an 85-minute version was relapsed in Canada, but the only version that is available online is the 65-minute cut. The 85-minute version is only available on DVD. Please Enjoy!