Monday, January 8, 2007

I Walked with a Zombie

I Walked with a Zombie (1943)

Directed by: Jacques Tourneur
Written by: Curt Siodmak and Ardel Wray, based on a newspaper article by Inez Wallace and Jane Eyre by Charlotte Bronte
Starring: Frances Dee, Tom Conway, James Ellison, Edith Barrett, Christine Gordon, James Bell, Teresa Harris, Darby Jones

Righto. So there's this nurse (who happens to be from Canada. Yay) who goes to this island in the West Indies to look after this guy's mental wife. While there, she get's caught up in this feud between her employer and his half-brother. Apparently the brother was totally in love with the guy's wife and blames him for her insanity. She also gets involved with all of this voodoo stuff going on in this jungle in an attempt to cure the crazy lady, who would be the zombie referred to in the title.

It's interesting to see a zombie movie created prior to Night of the Living Dead. It's really a whole differant kettle of pie. The zombie is a zombie in the 'true' sense of the word. She's under a spell or something that makes her all catatonic and stuff, rather than being a raging, flesh eating member of the undead. She is called (un)dead several times, but apparently she had a pulse and she breaths, so technically I guess she's alive.

The film is quite atmospheric, and the voodoo stuff is freaky enough (particularly Darby Jones playing a freakishly tall and skinny zombie with weird eyeballs), although it sort of suffers from the same problem as all horror flicks from that era. I'm not entirely sure what this problem is exactly. It just feels like there isn't enough. I don't know. It's weird.

But there's some pretty creepy stuff in there. For example, that weird dude who assaults Betsy (her name's Betsy. I thought that was really sick. I mean, who would fall in love with a woman named Betsy? Really? Elizabeth is old and respectable, but Betsy is just ugly. Nothing personal to all the Betsys of the world, if there really are any. Just to their parents) with his creepy song was really creepy. Man, that sentence was redundant. The zombie walk itself was pretty good too.

I didn't like Frances Dee too much. First offence was that her character's name was Betsy. Then she was a nurse. Yeah, okay, she's from Canada, but who cares. Canada kind of sucks anyway. She wasn't especially gorgeous either. Normally this wouldn't bother me, but she didn't even have an interesting face. Christine Gordon wasn't traditionally pretty either, but she had a really great face. Same goes for Edith Barrett.

If I'm going to talk about people's faces, I might as well mention Tom Conway's moustache. It made him look like a cat, I'm sorry. Tom Conway is the kind of name you'd give a cat anyway, so he really shouldn't wear a cat moustache. Moustaches are really disgusting, though, so it isn't really his fault.

And after saying some nasty things about his wussy facial hair, I'll say that I kind of liked him. He wasn't a very cheerful or friendly person, and he kept his wife in a tower, but he was kind of cool, in a British sort of way. More appealing than his American brother, anyway.

All of that being taken into consideration, all data being compiled and analyzed, I've decided not to condemn this movie for not having Enough. It still had plenty. Besides, it's kind of classic and I really don't want to go there.

Man, am I yellow.


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