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Thursday, May 29, 2014

I Walked With A Zombie (1943)

A nurse (Frances Dee) is hired to take care of the wife (Christine Gordon) of a sugar plantation owner (Tom Conway) in the West Indies. Once there, she finds the relationship between the husband and his brother (James Ellison) strained. It seems there's more behind the wife's illness than just mental inertia. Using Charlotte Bronte's JANE EYRE as a template, producer Val Lewton and director Jacques Tourneur have created an idyllic and lyrical horror film. Romantic horror films are very rare. Some of the film versions of DRACULA, like Werner Herzog's and Francis Ford Coppola's, would count I suppose but I WALKED WITH A ZOMBIE with its lush but supernatural Caribbean atmosphere as the background heightens the love story. Everything is just right here, it's about as flawless a piece of dream horror as has ever been made. The film is smart enough to not to give a definitive explanation of the circumstances that drive the narrative forward. Natural explanation or voodoo? You decide! With Theresa Harris, Edith Barrett, James Bell, Jeni Le Gon and Sir Lancelot.

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