King Of The Zombies

  • 1941
  • Movie
  • NR
  • Horror

Some of the strangest genre hybrids ever attempted were the horror-WW II propaganda films that began popping up in the 1940s. This lame effort is a fairly typical result. When an important American admiral flying a mission goes down somewhere over the Caribbean, the government dispatches special agent Bill Summers (Dick Purcell), his valet, Jeff (Mantan...read more

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Some of the strangest genre hybrids ever attempted were the horror-WW II propaganda films that began popping up in the 1940s. This lame effort is a fairly typical result. When an important American admiral flying a mission goes down somewhere over the Caribbean, the government dispatches

special agent Bill Summers (Dick Purcell), his valet, Jeff (Mantan Moreland), and pilot Mac to try and find him. Their plane crash-lands on a tiny island and they are taken in by a mysterious German doctor (Henry Victor) who claims to be trying to find a cure for his wife's trancelike state. Soon

after their arrival, Jeff learns that the place is overrun by zombies. Their host scoffs at such a notion, but soon both Jeff and Mac become zombified. Achieved through hypnosis, the trick doesn't really work on Jeff, who believes he is a zombie but does not behave as one. When the maid informs

him, "You ain't no zombie! Zombies can't talk," Jeff responds, "Can I hep it cause I'm loquacious?" As it turns out, the doctor is a Nazi agent who was sent to lure the American admiral to the island and capture him, using hypnosis and voodoo to obtain information on American plans to defend the

canal zone. Luckily, Bill catches on to the scheme and, together with Jeff, keeps the world safe for democracy. Although pretty tedious overall, this film is livened up considerably by the comedic presence of Moreland, who is on screen more than any of his costars. Although the humor is slightly

racist, it is not nearly as bad as what one comes to expect from films of the period, and Moreland is quite funny. Victor, who plays the Nazi agent, was featured in Tod Browning's FREAKS (1932) as Hercules the strongman. A virtually identical sequel, REVENGE OF THE ZOMBIES (1943), shifted the

locale from the Caribbean to the Louisiana bayous and had the bonus of better direction and an excellent performance from John Carradine. Moreland was again on hand for laughs. The film earned an Oscar nomination for Best Score.

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  • Rating: NR
  • Review: Some of the strangest genre hybrids ever attempted were the horror-WW II propaganda films that began popping up in the 1940s. This lame effort is a fairly typical result. When an important American admiral flying a mission goes down somewhere over the Cari… (more)

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