Sunday, May 22, 2011

#289. White Zombie (1932)

Directed By: Victor Halperin

Starring: Bela Lugosi, Madge Bellamy, Joseph Cawthorn

Tag line: "The Dead Walk Among Us!"

Trivia: Rob Zombie named his first Heavy Metal band after this film.

Considered the first feature-length zombie film ever made, White Zombie is also one of the best, boasting yet another top-notch performance by the legendary Bela Lugosi. 

Set in Haiti, White Zombie opens with Madeline Short (Madge Bellamy) and Neil Parker (John Harron), who are engaged to be married, traveling by horse-drawn carriage to the home of wealthy plantation owner Charles Beaumont (Robert Frazer). Beaumont has invited Neil and Madeline to hold their wedding ceremony at his enormous estate, but what the young couple doesn't realize is that Beaumont himself is in love with the bride-to-be, and plans to prevent the wedding from taking place. To this end, he enlists the help of Murder Legendre (Lugosi), a voodoo master who's developed a potion that transforms normal people into mindless zombies. Legendre agrees to help, and gives Beaumont a sample of his concoction to use on Madeline. The potion works as promised, but Beaumont comes to regret turning the love of his life into an emotionless zombie, and asks Legendre to change her back. When Legendre refuses to do so, it kicks off a battle of wills between the two men, one that takes a horrifying turn once Legendre summons his “associates” to join in the fracas. 

Fresh off his star-making role in Dracula, White Zombie provided Bela Lugosi with yet another opportunity to perfect his patented “hypnotic stare” (when he first meets Madeline, Legendre gazes directly into her eyes, mesmerizing the young girl so completely that he's able to snatch a scarf from around her neck with perfect ease). Of course, the real stars of White Zombie are the zombies themselves, and for a film made almost 80 years ago, these creatures are really quite alarming. When we first lay eyes on the undead, they're creeping down the side of a hill towards the carriage carrying Madeline and Neil to Beaumont's estate. Their faces are hidden by the shadows, but as they slowly make their way forward, the driver of the coach, a native Haitian, realizes who (or should I say 'what') they are, and speeds away. We see even more of them at Legendre's “factory”, where, to save money on labor, the evil voodoo expert has put his mindless guinea pigs to work. At one point, an unfortunate zombie falls into the equipment and is instantly killed, yet the others pay no mind whatsoever, carrying on with their work as if nothing happened.With scenes such as these, White Zombie remains a work of horror that, even today, will send a chill racing up your spine; just imagine how it played to an audience in 1932. 

Aside from being the first of its kind, White Zombie is also a bona-fide classic, a film that, like many of the great Universal horror movies, has withstood the test of time.


Anonymous said...

fooie i coudnt even finish the pod with that greg host i wanted hear zombie also :--( sergey

Anonymous said...

Frackin-No More PM-That Sux-I am going to miss this podcast-The best in the business-I missed the main guy Bill-The Creepure is lame I ditched that awhile ago-So long------------

Anonymous said...

Say it isn't so Doctor, I sent a message to the feedback line and leaving a comment for you.

This final episode sure didn't flow like a normal Planet Macabre episode. The chemistry and dissension between you, Chetie and Hunter was a good mix.

The guest sounded like a butch girl and annoying, I can't believe Mortis didn't stop her on the sickening rant of Stink of Flesh. The vulgarity beepings really showed the character.

Oh well all good things come to an end I guess.


Anonymous said...

god dam the mortis guy should give it up. he laughs at himself and is unbearable. sorry for not jumping over to the other podcast but it isnt entertaining. if anyhting changes with macabre let me know drshock. i will continue to read your blog. t.d.

Anonymous said...

99 cents for white zombie at oldies now that is a deal i can not wait to see it sir.

Anonymous said...

I AGREE with you recent commentors, what a bummer,it is gonna be missed. What if I sign a petition to keep Planet rolling,lol,I wanted it weekly now it ceases.
Bye Planet+Dr,Ida Snow

Anonymous said...

It was so ObViOus that Hellhunter and the guest are not zombie fans they really were pointless in the arguments. Someone not into zombies don't "GeT" the genre.

Gregamortis sucking up as a zombie lover, the reason I hate the CrEepTurE FeaTuRe, the dude is such a suckup.

Anonymous said...






Klaus said...

This is a fun movie. Almost as good as Lugosi's stare are those clenched hands of his.

I've only seen poor copies of this film - which had a very badly distorted soundtrack. I was wondering if you had seen the Roan Group DVD version which you have linked - and what you think of it?

Anonymous said...

Docter Shock,

Sad; sad; day for our entire family. We heard the news from the podcast a little ago about the change. We all (8 of us in total) looked forward to each and every episode for all of our horror movie needs. Hopefully Billchete is OK and comes back soon. We are all going to really miss this podcast, no other horror podcast even compares.

Anonymous said...

Hello Dr.Shock are all the zombie movies are really as bad as everyone claimed? You are the zombie expert so I trust your opinion.

I already watched White Zombie on Youtube for free. A link for you.

It was very good thank you I favorited the webpage and will send it off to my friends per your recommendetion.

I will be waiting on this "monumental" new horror website.

Buddy J.

Anonymous said...

Where are you at Doctor Shock?

- You always respond after each comment I have noticed.

- I am disheartened also that there is no more PM.

- #14 felt weird and unlike any other episode.

- Is there any way for me to support the podcast to bring it back?

A loyal follower of PM

Dave Becker said...

Hello, and thank you all for the comments.

Planet Macabre has been an incredible experience for me. Being brand new to podcasting when it launched back in December, I learned so much from Billchete, and enjoyed the experience immensely. I am also sad to see it end. However, Billchete was presented with a wonderful opportunity, one that he simply couldn't pass up, which will leave him with zero spare time in the foreseeable future. As he said in his opening, he'll be back, though at this point he has no definite podcasting plans.

As for the Creepture Feature Horror Show, I have also felt privileged to be a part of that podcast, and am happy it will continue. Gregamortis is a true horror fan, whose love of the genre is immensely strong. I understand there have been issues with the show in the past (audio troubles, etc), but Gregamortis has worked diligently to correct these.

There are also exciting plans in the work that will undoubtedly please all horror fans, a brand new site (and podcast) that is shaping up to be something special. Kenny (aka The Pumpkin King from the Creepture Feature Horror Show) has been hard at work putting this new site together (and it's looking phenomenal). You'll definitely want to 'stay tuned'.

Again, thanks to everyone who made Planet Macabre so special. Your dedication to the show, and the kindness you've shown all of us over the past several months, has been overwhelming. I appreciate it more than you can know, and certainly more than I can ever express here.

Thanks again, and I hope to continue corresponding with you here, and on the Creepture Feature Horror Show.

Have a great day, and thanks to everyone for listening.

Anonymous said...

what a double dose of news not only is billchete gone but omfg that gregimortis mouth thru 2+ hours of garbage that guy wavers more than a surfboard heck no more planet macubre that stinks

Dave Becker said...

@Klaus: I'll be honest with you, I haven't seen the version of WHITE ZOMBIE that I linked to, but the DVD I own has such atrocious sound that I figured any other copy will be just as good, and hopefully better, than the one I'm saddled with.

Not only that, but I paid MORE for my rotten copy than the DVD I linked to on Amazon!

Thanks for the comment, and if you come across a better version of the film than the one I have here, please let me know. I'm DYING to see a truly remastered version of this classic!

Anonymous said...

I've read through the comments and I see I am not alone in saying that the pod was phenomenal and came to an abrupt end sadly.

I read your response Shock and while I understand your point on Gregamortis, just because he is a huge horror fan don't make him even remotely good at hosting a podcast. Hell I am just as much a huge horror fan but I know I don't have the skills for a talk podcast definitely not hosting a group of people. And while he is a devout fan he is so untrustworthy with his ratings. He is one man that I would never listen to when it comes to buying horror movies.

Sorry for my opinion but it is the truth.

Thank you for providing us fans a podcast we valued immensely, you will be missed.

P.S. I wrote to each critic to let them know how much I will miss them.


Anonymous said...

Oh boy u brought bak memories my main man doc - I remember when the Twilight Zone went off the air and this feels like the same now that my favorite horror show has ended - I will keep a faithful eye on your website here for horror movie reviews - If I could ask a favor post some more current horror along with the oldies - I like them all - btw great horror choice this wk White Zombie is truly a classic

Dave Becker said...

Again, thanks to everyone for the comments. I truly value each and every one of them, and I greatly respect your opinions, even if they may differ from my own.

I will make a concerted effort to present more modern horror films on the blog in the coming weeks. I appreciate that suggestion, and feel it's a good one.

My apologies. I know that, in the past, I've responded to each comment personally. Unfortunately, I had a busy morning, and the comments, which have been coming in strong and steady (which is understandable, considering the circumstances), kinda got the best of me!

Anonymous said...

cast DL was slow going this mornin' took me an hour the cast must be getting hit hard being the finale' news spreads like wildfire across the net. i hate to see planet cast go but good luck on your future endeavours w/horror podcasting. hopefully you will pick up a host with a strong voice like billchete. i am going to grab each episode of the cast and put it on cd just in case the website goes byebye. i still havent got rhough all the horror movies i wanted too maybe i can now. asta la vista. yurgen

Dave Becker said...

Yurgen: I also had a difficult time downloading the show. Like you said, news travels fast!

Thanks so much for the kind words, and your continued support of Planet Macabre. Hopefully, you'll enjoy the movies we've recommended that you haven't yet seen!

Thanks again!

Anonymous said...

Doc Shock;

This was a tremendous podcast while it lasted. Kudos on the ###1 spot. I am sure you gained the respect of alot of horror fans while it lasted.

I was disappointed with the final episode but hey things happen I don't want want to speculate. Great job during your 6 months run;


Dave Becker said...

SlyFox: Thanks so much. I definitely appreciate it, and am humbled by the outpouring of kindness I've received from horror fans over the past 6 months. Planet Macabre has been a dream come true, and I, like everyone else, am sorry to see it end. But as they say, things do happen for a reason.

One thing I do want to say, mainly because I've heard from Billchete, who says he's received thousands of e-mails since this morning asking if he's OK, is that Billchete is in perfect health. He conveyed to me that having to leave podcasting and Planet Macabre behind was an extremely difficult thing to do. So please, don't worry! Billchete's departure is due to a very wonderful opportunity he's been presented with, but for the time being, he's not permitted to discuss it. All of the hosts of Planet Macabre have become close friends over the past 6 months, and none of that has changed. We will miss Billchete tremendously, but understand completely why he's made this decision. In truth, and as much as I would like it to be otherwise, it would have been the WRONG decision not to leave.

That said, I cannot thank you and all the other Planet Macabre fans enough. YOU are the reason the show was #1, and I am truly grateful for it.

Anonymous said...

teh doctor i want to convey my support to the pod also all the talking heads had a great repoire with one another and I could sure feel that.

thx for updating the comments section throughout the day and keeping us informed.

gabby, a "true" horror fan of the "oldtime era"

Dave Becker said...

Gabby: Thanks so much for the kind words. I'm very happy you enjoyed the show.

And it's always nice to meet another fan of old-time horror!

Thanks for the support, and for listening to Planet Macabre.

Anonymous said...

:(((( whut iwill mist most is thut apprently the movies reviewd this week wore trash sou stil give dvd movies that are gud to buy that is rare and awesom

Anonymous said...

1st Great new red curtain wallpaper suits the blog

2nd The 2500 challenge is pure dedication nice to see

3rd DONT CLOSE SHOP ON PM it is too good a podcast and definitely dont shuffle us fans off to CFHS shit podcast

4th Thanks for all the hard work reviewing horror movies


Anonymous said...

Got home from Church and couldn't wait for zombie time and was hit with the announcement.
I love the podcast so much to be honest I am not even that fond of horror movies in general but I like zombies because they are 100% entertaning. I really love all the personalities and it is a shocker (Mr. Shock) that my Sunday nights will be empty now.
Well good luck to you and all the hosts.

Anonymous said...

Russ from Tennessee and this is the first time visiting your web site Dr. Shock.

Scouring through the comments left I felt I needed to let you know that I too am miffed at the ending of the podcast. The bestest and greatest horror podcast ever devised. It was the most intelligent, pleasurable and a treat for fans.

I would of like to see the podcast go out with a bang with a huge episode, it was actually the weakest episode of the bunch. By your reponsess it sounded like a sudden thing which is understandeable.

I hope Bill Chete comes back soon and starts it back up after this hiatus.

Please know that I will be checking out the podcast web site on a regular basis to see if any thign changes.

Anonymous said...

that $#@! gregomortass is such bush league what a ruined episode of a zombie show and that dike guest with all her groans and oh mans turned my stomach good thing the pod cast is ending if it would go on like that

Anonymous said...

The original zombie film is White Zombie:I didn't know that Doctor:Will watch it and let you know what I think:I like your new link color it stands out:Could you move the post a comment link up further up on the page:I almost missed it:Drats on the end of Planet macabre horror podcast it was a fun show:Lieza

Dave Becker said...

Thanks to everyone for the comments.

@Anonymous: Thanks for the kind words regarding the podcast. And you're right...even when we don't like the movies we're reviewing, there's always the recommendations to fall back on! Thanks again.

@Drew: I appreciate the kind words regarding the blog. As for Planet Macabre, I would have liked to continue it for years, but it wasn't in the cards!

@Anonymous: Sorry to bring a damper to your Sunday nights. Thanks so much for being a fan of the show, and for the good-luck wishes.

@Russ: It is a sad day, to be sure. I know Billchete is just as down about it as we hosts, not to mention all the fans. Sorry you didn't enjoy the Zombie podcast as much as the others (I'm sure the bad news at the beginning didn't help any). Thanks for being a fan of the show. It really means a lot to us.

@Leiza: Thanks for the compliment regarding the 'new look' of the blog. I appreciate it. Also, WHITE ZOMBIE is definitely a classic. Please do stop back and let me know what you think once you've had a chance to view it. As for the "post a comment" link, I have tried to move it closer to the top, but it just doesn't want to stay there! I'll keep on it, though.

Thanks to everyone for the comments, and the support over the past 6 months. Planet Macabre fans are the greatest!

Anonymous said...

DrShock, Chaz here I haven't heard the latest episode yet, I always listen at work on Monday's as you probably know by now. While reading through this week's pick comments it is startling to find out about no more horror podcast. Wow, still can't believe it, I guess I better really listen to the last episode slowly and sink it all in. I guess I won't ask any questions if I have some after I listen in.

Your friend,

Orlando, FL
Home of Walt Disney World

Anonymous said...


Dave Becker said...

Thanks for the comments, everyone.

@Chaz: Sorry to have been the bearer of that bad news! It is unfortunate, and I was thinking about you and all the other listeners who check out the show on Mondays. If you're a fan, it's not the best way to kick off a work week! Thanks for all the support over the past few months, both with the show and my blog. I appreciate it immensely, and I look forward to chatting with you much more in the coming months and years. Have a good one, and talk to you soon.

@Anonymous: So sorry! But please know I (as well as all the Planet Macabre hosts) appreciate the support you and all the other fans have shown us this past 1/2 year. It has been invaluable.

Thanks again for the comment, and for listening to Planet Macabre.

Anonymous said...

The red background is sweet {blog is sweet also}. #14 was a surprise {can't believe the pod is coming to an end} seemed just like yesterday when I started listening. That was a fast 6 months. The pod became part of my daily life {I guess I shouldn't of expected it to last forever} Since bill said he was coming back in the future how bout a seasonal horror pod {like a tv show} that would be sweet. Keep us informed dr. as this is the only public place I found to comment. {Vic}

Anonymous said...


---going 2 MISS this podcast to no end---horror movie community will be hurt because of this---kirk

Dave Becker said...

Thanks for the comments.

@Vic: I appreciate the kind words regarding the blog. Thanks so much. And I agree with you: 6 months has flown by! I, too, am sorry to see Planet Macabre end, and I thank you for your support over the run of the show (I will also pass your suggestion on to Billchete).

@Kirk: I'm going to miss it as well. Thanks for being such a loyal listener of the show. I, as well as the other hosts, greatly appreciate it.

Thanks again for the comments, and for listening to Planet Macabre.

Anonymous said...

WTF backwoods smack hosting thee final ep that shiffizzle is weke wear is that creeppod rated at it mus be on the bottum probs galore overthere i willnot be subbing that pod i got all my old and new horrer from macob now iam lost

Anonymous said...

holy smokes you been a busy little beaver here shocker & it took me 15 min just to read'um all.

it is sad that the most anticipated show of planet macabre dealing with zombies was left up to gregor and produced a dud would of never expected that even the audio quality suffered.

i like others will miss you & ladyphantom & billchete.

stay safe & what ever you do keep horror on the forefront.


Dave Becker said...

@quiggly: Thanks for the stopping by!

It sure has been busy around here lately, but in all honesty, I did anticipate a jump in the number of comments. Planet Macabre had so many loyal listeners that I was sure they'd chime in with their thoughts (and in truth, this blog is the ONLY forum to do so, other than e-mail).

I'm sorry you didn't enjoy the final episode, especially seeing as it was one you (and many, many others) were looking forward to. The selection of films wasn't a great one (though, in Billchete's defense, he hadn't seen any of these films himself prior to choosing them. He was looking for obscure zombie films, which is exactly what he found. Unfortunately, most were "obscure" for a reason! But kudos to him for taking that chance).

Thanks for the good wishes. I will, in turn, miss the wonderful listeners of Planet Macabre (not that I'm going anywhere. I'll still be posting horror movies on the blog, three a week as promised, and will continue podcasting on the Creepture Feature Horror Show).

Thanks again for the comment, and for listening to Planet Macabre.

Anonymous said...

Congratulations on the top dog spot Doctor Shock and a fantastic run of Planet Macabre.

I am not going to be harsh like others, as us (horror fans), received a free horror podcast for six months, the best I have heard might I add.

It sounds like there are bigger and brighter things down the road and I will be looking forward to that.

White Zombie is definitely a movie that interests me, I am going to use that commenter's link and watch it on Youtube.

Catch you and the team on the next horror website.

Dave Becker said...

Thanks so much for stopping by, and for the comment.

I appreciate the kind words regarding Planet Macabre, and am thankful to you for listening so faithfully. As for what lies ahead, I think you, and the other Planet Macabre fans, will be truly pleased! It's shaping up to be something special! STAY TUNED!

Please enjoy WHITE ZOMBIE (It's pretty awesome that it's available on Youtube), and be sure to let me know what you think once you've had a chance to view it.

Thanks again for the comment, and for listening to Planet Macabre.

Anonymous said...

Ashame Billchete had to withdraw from the podcast it was a one of a kind horror experience. I will miss the tons of movie reviews and dvd segements. Just wanted to leave a thank you to the podcast producers and critics.

Balfour .

Dave Becker said...

Balfour: Thanks so much for stopping by, and for the comment.

It is a shame Billchete is withdrawing from Podcasting for the foreseeable future. That said, let me, in turn, thank you for being such a dedicated listener. Putting the show together was our pleasure, and knowing there were fans like yourself is what made it special.

Take care, and thanks for listening!

Anonymous said...

wondering 'bout this grandeous horror website+i do not know where i am going to get good horror picks w/o planet macabre

Anonymous said...

hiya shock does white zombie hold up the test of time? your podcast review was quite short this time. is it something you suggest for current zombie fans? will miss whole heartedly planet macabre. fyugode

Dave Becker said...

Thanks for the comments!

@Anonymous: We'll have more news on the new website shortly. Stay tuned! And all us hosts appreciate the kind words regarding Planet Macabre. It is, indeed, sad to see it end. Thanks so much for listening.

@fyugode: I suppose whether White Zombie holds up for you depends on how you react to older films in general. The film has a wonderfully creepy atmosphere, but obviously there's no blood or gore. If you've enjoyed Universal's classic horror films from the 1930's, then WHITE ZOMBIE is a must-see.

And thanks so much for the kind words about Planet Macabre. I will miss it as well, but am also excited about the new opportunity coming soon. Thanks also for being such a loyal listener. It is greatly appreciated.

Anonymous said...

Excellent zombie DVD pick this week, I just seen it and it was good. Only cost me $3.99. I was getting gas and at the counter they have spindle racks with movies and this was in there! I had just heard the podcast less than a hour ago!

The DVD segments and music clips were my favorites. The podcast ran at a perfect pace and was never boring. Even though a movie might have been bad you knew that in 15 minutes a DVD segment is coming with a great horror movie.

I will sorely miss Planet Macabre. It was fun sitting back lounging and listening on my Home Stereo rig.

Hopefully the other hosts will see this comment as I am leaving a little note.

DrShock, excellent job with the old style era horror, a natural at reviews.

BillChete good luck on your future you were excellent. The best horror host in the business.

LadyPhantom, endearing host had me laughing with the random statements all the time.

GregaMortis, the dedication of being on 2 podcasts is impressive, a horror lover by all accounts, work on the audio sir please.

HellHunter, a little shy and timid but I valued your ratings, I am about your age and we have similar tastes in horror.

Yours truly,
Kip W. Perleau

Dave Becker said...

@Kip: Thanks for the comment!

First off, it's pretty amazing that you were able to find a copy of WHITE ZOMBIE so readily! I am truly jealous. My DVD is a supposedly "remastered" one that I paid quite a bit for at the time, and the quality is atrocious. I guarantee your copy is AT LEAST as good as mine, if not better, and to pay so little for it is excellent! I'm glad you enjoyed the film.

Thanks so much for the kind words (and I will make sure the other hosts see them as well). I'm personally flattered: it truly means a lot to all of us to see how much people enjoyed the show, and that reception is what made it so much fun in the first place.

Thanks so much, and all the best.

Anonymous said...

i was a devout macabiet since the beginning i loved this show and will miss all the horror reviews

Dave Becker said...

Thanks for the comment! We certainly appreciate your support for the past 6 months. Thanks so much for listening, and have a great day..