List of Zombie
In going through some files I happened upon this paper by one of my students from a few years back. It is an interesting catalogue of "Zombie" movies. Certainly Hollywood has played a role in creating a popular image in the U.S. which haunts the words "Voodoo" and "Zombie," a haunting that leads some scholars to abandon those words all together and use different spellings. I've avoided those solutions and prefer to simply confront the misconceptions.
Regarding the whole notion of misperceptions of Haiti in our culture, in case you don't know of Robert Lawless' book, Haiti's Bad Press, it is a book you might well want to read. He tells a sad tale of misinformation, much of it deliberate, much of it just bad journalism and scholarship.
At any rate: Zombie films:
One addition, I noted in today's St. Louis Post-Dispatch that a film is playing in town called DEMON KNIGHT, which is billed by a local reviewer as "A lame zombie tale with pretty good special effects."
Lisa's notes are at the end of the paper.
17 December 1991
Guide to Zombie Movies
- Astro Zombies -Director: Ted Z. Mikels, 1967. This movie has a
running time of 83 min., and is on video. There was not much said about
this movie, except that John Carradine plays the monster.
- Carnival of Souls - Director: Detkliarvey, 1962. This is on video. A
girl is haunted by a menacing figure, after almost drowning. The movie
has wonderful Photography.
(1, p. 170; 2, p. 659)
- Dawn of the Dead - Director: George Romeo, 1968. This movie is on
video, with a running time of 140 min. Four people barricade themselves
in a shopping mall to get away from man-eating zombies. This movie is
packed with hard core blood and gore and is the sequel to Night of the
Living Dead. (1, p.261; 2, p. 270)
- Day of the Dead - Director: George Romero, 1985. This movie is on
video, with a running time of 100 min. A female scientist is trapped in
an army bunker with sexists. She tries to study the zombies, but the men
want them destroyed. (1, p. 262)
- Dead Men Walk - Director: Sam Newfield, 1943. This movie is on video
and has a running time of 67 min. Two brothers, one good, one evil,
battle in this flick. Includes Vampires and zombies as well. It is in
black and white. (2, p. 671)
- The Fog - Director: John Carpenter, 1980. This movie is on video and
has a running time of 91 min.
Eighteenth Century pirates come back from the dead to terrorize a fishing
village. As the fog moves in, the people roll out dead. (2, p.686) I have
seen this one for myself, and it is not too bad.
- White Zombie - Director: Victor Halperin, 1932. This movie is on video
and has a running time of 73 min. " Now we understand each other a little
better", says Bela Lugosi, as he turns his rival into one of his eerie
slaves. This, by no means, is one of his more well-known lines from a
movie; but after seeing this film, I am convinced that it has to be one
of his most sinister quotes. Lugosi plays the evil overseer of a
sugarmill, who turns his workers into zombies to do his dirty work.
White Zombie is a wonderful low-budget flick, with wonderful background
settings that add to the eeriness of the film. For the most part, the
zombies are mindless creatures that would not have hurt anybody, if it
had not been for Lugosi. So, they really do not add to any of the
misconceptions that Americans have about Voodoo. The few Haitians we do
see in the film are burying one of their dead. None of them ate depicted
as being evil. The real big "misconception" in the film is a carved
Voodoo doll. Iam under the impression that they do not exist. As one last
note on the film; the way that Lugosi turned his victims into zombies,
was to give them a special powder that would feign death. He would then go
and get the body, giving it another concoction. Perhaps Victor Halperin was
Wade Davis' "secret society." (Willey)
- King of the Zombies - Director: Jean Yarborough, 194 1. This movie is
on video and has a running time of 67 min. This is one of those mad
scientist movies, only this time it adds Nazis on a tropical island. (2,
- Night of the Demons - 1983. This movie, unfortunately, is on video.
Teenagers party in the wrong cemetery. (1, p.816)
- Night of the Living Dead - Director: George Romeo, 1968. This movie
is on video. "Praying for church", says Johnny. Immediately you think to
yourself, "you better pray." Johnny and Barbara, in the opening scene,
are in the family cemetery putting flowers on the grave of their deceased
father. Johnny's next line, "They're coming for you Barbara", is his
last. He is intending to be teasing his sister about being in the
graveyard, but what he does not realize, is that they really are coming
to get her. After her brother gets killed by the Zombie, the girl runs
off to an abandoned farm house, thus beginning her fight with the
As the movie progresses, six other people enter the farmhouse to get away
from, what the news reports call, "unidentified assassins." This movie is
jam-packed with stiff walking dead and the stereotypical screaming woman.
The ending of the movie, I think, was supposed to be a social statement
by George Romeo. (Willey)
"A government made chemical somehow gets into the air and brings the dead
back to life. The effects are horrible, and unless you are a connoisseur
it is hard to even sit through the whole hour and a half." Brook Turner.
- Night of the Zombies - Director: Vincent Dawn, ?. This movie is on
video. A very trashy movie with one long cannibal feast after another.
- Plague of the Zombies - Director: John Gilling, 1966. It is on video.
This is a fairly intense story about a Voodoo cult in a Cornish village.
Contains beautiful photography. (1, p.947)
- Return of the Living Dead - Director: Dan O'Bannon, 1985. This movie
is on video and has a running time of 91 min. A spoof on George Romero's
classic that consists of the dead rising after a chemical leak. These
morbid creatures are after one thing: Brains! (1, p. 1008)
"This was basically the same idea (as the return of the living dead)
except in a more modern setting. The tanks containing some of the bodies
of the living dead are now in a medical supply warehouse. The foreman is
telling the story behind the living dead and asks if the boy wants to see
the tanks. To make a long story short, the man hits the tank and it
begins to leak the gas. Suddenly things begin to come alive in the
warehouse including a cadaver. The gas leaks out into the graveyard and
all of a sudden there is an angry mob of the living wanting "brains."
- Return of the Living Dead II - Director: Ken Wiederhom, 1988. This
movie is on video and has a running time of 89 min. The walking dead are
once again in control and they want more brains!
- Revenge of the Zombies - Director: Steve Sekely, 1943. This is not on
video. The running time is 61 min.
- Revolt of the Zombies - Director: Victor Halpetin, 1936. This film is
on video, with a running time 65 min. This project lacks the style of
White Zombie. Cambodian troops are turned into zombies.
- The Serpent and the Rainbow - Director: Wes Craven, 1988. This
project is on video, with a running time of 98 min. "In the legends of
Voodoo, the serpent is a symbol of Earth, the rainbow is a symbol of
heaven. Between the two, all creatures live and die. But because he has a
goal, man can be trapped in a terrible place, where death is only the
I thought it pertinent to add this quote in my review, because from what
I have learned, the concept was distorted. Distortion is probably the
best word to describe the whole movie that this quote was taken from. The
Serpent and The Rainbow is based on the Wade Davis book of the same
title. From what I understand of what was taught to me, his account of
Haiti is somewhat distorted as well. Hollywood, as everyone knows, has
it's own little problem with distortion. So, the movie version is even
less credible than Davis' book. Let's return to the quote, after all
it's the first problem I saw in the movie. The serpent is probably a
reference to the loa, Dumballah. He is, if anything, more of a father
figure than an Earth figure. The Earth is a cruel place, and Dumballah is
thought of as a protector. The Rainbow is probably a reference to Ayida,
his wife. She is not the symbol of heaven, because the Haitians do not
believe in Heaven, but the spirit world. Together they are the forces of
Basically, the movie is about an American scientist who goes to Haiti to
find the powders that create zombies. For the most part, if one knows
nothing about Haiti, this film would be rather hard. One should have some
knowledge of the Duvaliers, the Ton Ton Macoute, and Houngans. (Willey)
- Shock waves - Director: Ken Wiederhorn, 1975. Peter Cushing leads a
brigade of Nazi zombies to power the 3 rd Reich's submarines. Watch it if
you have to. Apparently, this movie is good for comic relief (1, p. 1095;
- Dr. Terrors House of Horrors - Director: Freddie Francis, 1965. A
fortune-teller tells some terrible
secrets. May or may not have zombies. This is on video, with a running
time of 98 min.
- Voodoo Dawn - Director: Steven Tierberg, 1990. Two college buddies
visit a friend who is being turned into a zombie. (2, p.823)
"In this movie a bokor name Makoute goes around killing the Haitian
migrant workers in a southern town. He then makes them into zombies and
has them work in his fields. He then gets this idea to make a zombie
man. He begins to gather bits and pieces of people to make up the man.
When all is finally complete, Makoute slashes his wrist and lets the
blood drip into the zombie man's mouth. In the meantime, the migrant
workers, led by a mambo, decide to kill Makoute. They surround his house
and when he comes out they attack him and get a piece of his clothing and
use it for a Voodoo doll. With this doll, the Mambo kills Makoute and
they burn his body. All seems to be well except for by this time the
Voodoo man had come to life and was not very happy to see his master a
clump of ashes. After a long battle between the Voodoo man and the hero,
the Voodoo man loses his head, literally, and dies. However, for the
grand finale, this demon thing looking like it came straight out of
"Aliens" bursts out of the Voodoo man's stomach and tries to eat the
hero. But the hero kills the demon thing too. So the hero and the
pretty girl live happily ever after." Brooke Turner.
- Voodoo Island - Director: Reginald LeBorg, 1957. Boris Karloff is a
business man who goes to investigate strange happenings in Haiti. Very
boring. This is not on video. It does have a running time of 76 min.
- Voodoo Man - Director: William Beaudine, 1944. Lugosi has a zombie
wife who he tries to cure, by experimenting on other women. This is not
on video. Running time is 62 min. (1, p. 1325)
- Voodoo Woman - Director: Edward L. Cahn, 1957. Englishmen are turned
into monsters. This little dud is not on video. The running time is 77
min. (1, p. 1325)
- I Walked With A Zombie - Director: Jacques Toumeur, 1943. A doctor is
sent to a Caribbean Island to treat someone's zombie wife. This movie,
believe it or not, is adapted from Jane Eyre. This movie is on video,
with a running time of 69 min. (2, p. 603)
- The Walking Dead - Director: Michael Curtiz, 1936. Not on video.
- Zombie - Director: Lucio Fulci, 1979. This little beauty is rated X
for gore and nudity. The tale is about a mad scientist who creates
zombies that can only be killed with a bullet through the brain. It is on
video, with a running time of 91 min. (1, p. 1400; 2, p. 827)
- Zombies on Broadway - Director: Gordon Douglas, 1945. This movie is
on video, with a running time of 68 min. Two men search for a zombie act
to use in their nightclub. (1, p. 1400)
- Zombie High - 1987. This dud is on video, with a running time of 93
min. An administration of a school lobotomizes it's students to keep
themselves young. In England, this film is known as The School that Ate
My Brain. (2, p.827)
"It takes place in a boarding school where the students are given a sort
of lobotomy to turn the students into zombies. The professors, who are
behind the operations, are taking tissue from the students' brains and
replacing them with quartz crystals. With the tissue that is taken from
the brain, the professors make a serum that will give them everlasting
life, while the students remain zombies in a cheesy B rated flick."
- Zombie Island Massacre - 1984. This film is on video, with a running
time of 95 min- Corpses come alive on a Caribbean island.
"Strait to video. Never in theaters. In this movie you do not even see
the zombies, they do all the killing behind the scenes. The plot is a
group of tourists who go to the islands and watch a Voodoo service.
During the service a lamb is sacrificed and the tourists are disgusted.
When they reach the tour bus to leave it is broken down, what a
coincidence. The tourists then decide to walk through a jungle towards a
house they had seen earlier. Much to their surprise, they end up being
picked off one by one by the zombies that you never see. It had horrible
acting and special effects." Brooke Turner.
- The Zombies of Mora Tau - Director: Edward L Cahn, 1957. This film is
on video, with a running time of 70 min. All this does is show how dull
movies were before Night of the Living Dead. (2, p.827)
- Zombies of the Stratosphere - 1958. It is not on video, but has a
running time of 70 min. Leonard Nimoy plays a Martian who saves the day.
( 1, p. 1400)
- The Zombies of Sugar Hill - 1974. This film is not on video, but has
a running time of 91 min. A woman tries to avenge her lover's death by
conjuring black zombies. (2, p. 827)
- Maltin, Leonard. Leonard Maltin's T.V. Movies and Video Guide. Ed.
Leonard Maltin. NY, New York: Signet, 1991.
- Martin, Mick and Porter, Marsha. Video Movie Guide. Ed. Ed Remitz. NY,
New York: Ballantine Books, 1991.
Zombie Nightmare. A man is killed by some teenagers while trying to
prevent a rape after a baseball game. His widow, while in deep mourning,
calls for a houngan to reanimate her husband (whose name happens to be
Thor) so that he may avenge his death. After Thor is brought back to
life as a zombie, he goes around killing people with a baseball bat.
This went directly to video, and never to the theaters.
Later addition the internet:
Everyone has left out Bob Hope and Paulette Goddard's film "The Ghost Breakers" based on a play by Dickey & Goddard (no relation) early in the century. It was made twice as a silent film and remade by Martin & Lewis as "Scared Stiff". The plot involved
zombies, but in Cuba, rather than Haiti.
There is also a movie called "The Golden Mistress", made in 1954, directed
by Abner Biberman, using the name Joel Judge, starring John Agar. It's
about a guy who goes to Haiti to help his girfriend find out who killed
her father & gets mixed up with voodoo & zombies. Saw it years ago, don't
remember all that much about it (shows you how good it must have been!),
but it was shot in Haiti and according to John Agar, they had some
problems with a lot of the locals who were into voodoo and didn't want the
movie made (death threats, sabotage, etc.). Don't know if it's out on
MAIN HAITI PAGE