HOME |  CULT MOVIES | COMPETITIONS | ADVERTISE |  CONTACT US |  ABOUT US
 
 
 
Newest Reviews
Boys from County Hell
All Hands On Deck
Teddy
Beasts Clawing at Straws
Summer of Soul (...Or, When the Revolution Could Not Be Televised)
Windom's Way
True Don Quixote, The
Babymother
Mitchells vs. the Machines, The
Dora and the Lost City of Gold
Unholy, The
How to Deter a Robber
Antebellum
Offering, The
Enola Holmes
Big Calamity, The
Man Under Table
Freedom Fields
Settlers
Boy Behind the Door, The
Swords of the Space Ark
I Still See You
Most Beautiful Boy in the World, The
Luz: The Flower of Evil
Human Voice, The
Guns Akimbo
Being a Human Person
Giants and Toys
Millionaires Express
Bringing Up Baby
World to Come, The
Air Conditioner
Fear and Loathing in Aspen
Kandisha
Riders of Justice
Happiest Day in the Life of Olli Maki, The
For Those Who Think Young
Justice League: War
Fuzzy Pink Nightgown, The
Plurality
   
 
Newest Articles
Truth Kills: Blow Out on Blu-ray
A Monument to All the Bullshit in the World: 1970s Disaster Movies
Take Care with Peanuts: Interview with Melissa Menta (SVP of Marketing)
Silent is Golden: Futtocks End... and Other Short Stories on Blu-ray
Winner on Losers: West 11 on Blu-ray
Freewheelin' - Bob Dylan: Odds and Ends on Digital
Never Sleep: The Night of the Hunter on Blu-ray
Sherlock vs Ripper: Murder by Decree on Blu-ray
That Ol' Black Magic: Encounter of the Spooky Kind on Blu-ray
She's Evil! She's Brilliant! Basic Instinct on Blu-ray
Hong Kong Dreamin': World of Wong Kar Wai on Blu-ray
Buckle Your Swash: The Devil-Ship Pirates on Blu-ray
Way of the Exploding Fist: One Armed Boxer on Blu-ray
A Lot of Growing Up to Do: Fast Times at Ridgemont High on Blu-ray
Oh My Godard: Masculin Feminin on Blu-ray
Let Us Play: Play for Today Volume 2 on Blu-ray
Before The Matrix, There was Johnny Mnemonic: on Digital
More Than Mad Science: Karloff at Columbia on Blu-ray
Indian Summer: The Darjeeling Limited on Blu-ray
3 from 1950s Hollyweird: Dr. T, Mankind and Plan 9
Meiko Kaji's Girl Gangs: Stray Cat Rock on Arrow
Having a Wild Weekend: Catch Us If You Can on Blu-ray
The Drifters: Star Lucie Bourdeu Interview
Meiko Kaji Behind Bars: Female Prisoner Scorpion on Arrow
The Horror of the Soviets: Viy on Blu-ray
   
 
  King of the Zombies Isle Of The Dead
Year: 1941
Director: Jean Yarbrough
Stars: Dick Purcell, John Archer, Mantan Moreland, Henry Victor, Joan Woodbury, Patricia Stacey, Margueritte Whitten, Guy Usher, Leigh Whipper, Madame Sul-Te-Wan
Genre: Horror, ComedyBuy from Amazon
Rating:  3 (from 1 vote)
Review: Bill Summers (John Archer), his valet Jefferson Jackson (Mantan Moreland) and the pilot James "Mac" McCarthy (Dick Purcell) are flying to the Bahamas on a top secret government mission when their plane gets into trouble over a remote Carribean island. They are forced to crash land, but not before picking up a mysterious transmission over the radio. The island is apparently deserted until the party discover a mansion in the jungle, and ring the doorbell; there's no reply, so they enter the darkened building, only to be greeted by a gaunt figure walking down the stairs towards them...

King of the Zombies is basically one spooky scene like that after another, and was scripted by Edmond Kelso. It was inspired as a cash in on the then-popular run of horror comedies, and as such prominently features Moreland as the comic relief, doing his accustomed frightened manservant act. And it's to the film's benefit that he does, as it would be a sepulchrally dry experience otherwise - Archer and Purcell are wooden heroes, and when they meet the villain of the piece, the monotonous Doctor Mikhail Sangre, played by Henry Victor, you'll wish the first choice for the role, Bela Lugosi, had been available.

The action moves at a snail's pace when Moreland is offscreen, and as he's smarter than his companions, it can be frustrating to watch them dismiss his warnings and be one step behind Jeff, who twigs right away that the Doctor is up to no good and that the house and its surroundings are inhabited by zombies. The movie zombies of the thirties and forties were not the flesh-eating animated corpses of the George A. Romero efforts, but people under the spell of voodoo. Here, the Doctor is obsessed with hypnotism, and has a somnambulistic wife who he is trying to revive - which doesn't have anything to do with the rest of the plot.

Jeff may be smart, but he's treated like one of the servants by the Doctor: when he pours a brandy for his newly arrived guests, he doesn't pour one for Jeff, and expects him to sleep in the servants' quarters instead of with Bill and Mac. This gives Moreland more opportunities to play off the staff of the house, in particular the maid, Samantha (Margueritte Whitten), who says she is from Alabama, and acts as a straight woman for his routines. In truth, although his manful efforts go some way to brightening up a lifeless chiller, Moreland doesn't enjoy enough funny lines, and relies too much on looking scared for laughs.

King of the Zombies has a reputation for being one of the better Monogram horrors, but it doesn't really deserve it. The plot stumbles like the undead from fright scene to comedy set up, and the villain's plans are fuzzily thought out. One interesting aspect is that he's not concentrating on voodoo for his zombies, he's using a Druid version of it, from Mac's native Ireland, and he even turns Mac into an Irish zombie. Eventually a story about a kidnapped admiral arises, and the Doctor, who claims to be a refugee from Austria, is revealed as a spy. Not funny enough and not creepy enough, the film is a mere shadow of its influences, with a thrown together appearance. Music by Edward Kay (which, oddly, was nominated for an Oscar).
Reviewer: Graeme Clark

 

This review has been viewed 4897 time(s).

As a member you could Rate this film

 
Review Comments (0)


Untitled 1

Login
  Username:
 
  Password:
 
   
 
Forgotten your details? Enter email address in Username box and click Reminder. Your details will be emailed to you.
   

Latest Poll
Which star probably has psychic powers?
Laurence Fishburne
Nicolas Cage
Anya Taylor-Joy
Patrick Stewart
Sissy Spacek
Michelle Yeoh
Aubrey Plaza
Tom Cruise
Beatrice Dalle
Michael Ironside
   
 
   

Recent Visitors
Graeme Clark
Andrew Pragasam
Darren Jones
Enoch Sneed
  Desbris M
  Paul Tuersley
  Chris Garbutt
  Sdfadf Rtfgsdf
   

 

Last Updated: