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King of the Zombies

USA 1941
produced by
Lindsley Parsons for Monogram
directed by Jean Yarbrough
starring Mantan Moreland, John Archer, Dick Purcell, Henry Victor, Joan Woodbury, Marguerite Whitten, Patricia Stacey, Guy Usher, Leigh Whipper, Madame Sul-Te-Wan, Laurence Criner
written by Edmond Kelso, music by Edward J.Kay

review by
Mike Haberfelner

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Agent Bill Summers (John Archer), is on a special mission to find admiral Wainwright (Guy Usher), who holds important military information (it is World War 2 after all) and who has disappeared somewhere in the Caribbean sea. Then though, Summer's plane has to make an emergency landing on some island on the Caribbean sea as well, and soon he, his butler Jefferson (Mantan Moreland) and his pilot Mac (Dick Purcell) find themselves in a spooky old house that belongs to Doctor Sangre (Henry Victor), a German fugitive, who seems to be the perfect host, ... to Summers and Mac at least, Jefferson he has removed to the servant quarters ... where Jefferson learns from lovely servant girl Samantha (Marguerite Whitten) about the zombies the doctor likes to keep - but when Jefferson tries to tell that to Summers and Mac, twice, the Doctor denies everything and ridicules his story ... and the others are likely to believe Sanre - until a ghostly woman (who later turns out to be Sangre's wife Alice [Patricia Stacey]) - pays them a visit at night, after which our heroes go inestigating, and find out quite a few things: that there are secret pasageways all over the hozuse, that there really are zombies, and that Sangre has possibly hypnotized his wife into submission.

and in Sangre's young, lovely niece Barbara (Joan Woodbury), they find an unexpected ally.

The next day, our three heroes continue their investigations, but soon Mac is lost in the jungle and eventually turns up dead, and Jefferson is zombified as well (even if that doesn't seem to really work). It also turns out that Sangre really is a German spy and the admiral is his prisoner. and as soon as Jefferson is dezonmbified, he and Summers crash a weird voodoo ritual during which Sangre tries to transfer the admiral's mind into Barbara. Sangre tries to order his zombies, led by now zombified Mac, to kill Summers, but Summers can persuade his friend to attack (and eentually kill) Sangre instead.

In the end, the admiral is saved, Summers and Barbara are a couple, and even Mac got better from having died  turned into a zombie and all ...

 

A blend of old dark house thriller, all-out-zombie horror, and farce peppered with an espionage plot .... and somehow this mix doesn't work all that well, as the story seems to be too confused (and confusing) and the horror seems to be never really taking off. Most of the actors, too, are rather uninteresting, only black comedian Mantan Moreland is great as usual, and in some scenes Marguerite Whitten as servant girl Samantha gives him able support - which does make the movie watchable after all (best Mantan-line: after he has been zombified, he addresses the other zombies "move over boys, I'm one of the gang now").

For some weird reason, the music of this film was nominated for an Oscar.

 

 

 

For those inclined, also check out the video review of King of the Zombies I did with filmmaker Sean Weathers, with the movie in its entirety playing afterwards.

 

 

review © by Mike Haberfelner

 

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Robots and rats,
demons and potholes,
cuddly toys and
shopping mall Santas,
love and death and everything in between,
Tales to Chill
Your Bones to

is all of that.

 

Tales to Chill
Your Bones to
-
a collection of short stories and mini-plays
ranging from the horrific to the darkly humourous,
from the post-apocalyptic
to the weirdly romantic,
tales that will give you a chill and maybe a chuckle, all thought up by
the twisted mind of
screenwriter and film reviewer
Michael Haberfelner.

 

Tales to Chill
Your Bones to

the new anthology by
Michael Haberfelner

 

Out now from
Amazon!!!

 

 

 

On the same day
a Burglar wants to kill you
and your Ex wants
to make up ...
... and for the life of it,
you can't decide
WHICH IS WORSE!!!

 

A Killer Conversation

produced by and starring
Melanie Denholme
directed by
David V.G. Davies
written by
Michael Haberfelner
starring
Ryan Hunter and
Rudy Barrow

out now on DVD