So we start off in Haiti, cause all Zombies have to start in Haiti if we are going for realism, and nothing wrong with that. Madeleine and Neil are going to be married, and are on the way to marry at . . .Charles’ house- because he’s rich and Madeleine’s ex-boyfriend- I guess? There are no other guests, but its the 30s I guess they were all wiped out by the Great War or something. Now for fun, they pass by Bela Lougosi, playing Bela Lougosi. His name is – seriously – Murder Legendre, but he’s Bela Lougosi.
He stares at Madeleine (get used to the closeup of Bela) and takes her scarf. The Driver sees the Zombies coming, and the coach take off. Arriving at the house, and its a HUGE house- almost like it might be 4 or 5 houses stuck together . . .hint hint, we sit around and talk. Charles goes to Bela’s Sugar Plantation- run by Zombies, for help, Bela says he can help him, but for some reason, they start whispering in each others ear- even though they are in an enclosed room, on a Zombie-Filled plantation, miles away from everyone else . . .but the audience.
Bela gives Charles a potion, where if Madeleine or anyone else drinks it, they turn into Zombies that Bela can control. Charles, after being blown-off by Madeleine for the last time ON THE WAY TO THE ALTER, decides to give her the potion, and does at the post-wedding dinner.
Madeleine passes out and seems like she’s dead. After time passes, Charles and Bela go to get the body, and Bela introduces his Zombie horde. Charles asks what would happen if they got their mind back, Bela says they would rip him apart. I’m sure that won’t come about. Neil is drinking his life away at a bar, but keeps seeing Madeleine everywhere, so he goes to the cemetery, just missing Charles, Bela and the Horde taking her casket away. The Horde, being born in a barn, leave the crypt door open, and Neil sees the coffin gone and screams.
Neil goes to find a local priest, who knows of Bela, and what he’s been doing, and offers to help. They go to the cliff-side castle of Bela Lougosi. The Priest goes to scout it out, while Neil . . .sleeps it off? Rests? For some reason.
In the Castle, Charles has discovered that Zombies are kinda dull companions, since all she does is stare into space and play the piano. No idea why he didn’t think of that. He begs Bela to change her back and he says he has plans for her himself (Ewwww) and gives Charles the potion, and he slowly begins turning into a Zombie. I guess if you don’t drink the whole thing, its a slow burn.
Neil sees Madeleine in the castle, and takes off after her, but for some reason passes out on a couch. Bela sees this and sends Madeleine up there with a knife to kill him. She tries to resist the . . secret handshake that Bela uses to control the Zombies, and an extra grabs her wrist. I’m guessing that’s supposed to be the priest?
We go to another set, er part of the house, and we push the go home button.
Neil screams at Madeleine, she starts to come around, Bela does his secret handshake and sends the Horde at Neil, who sidesteps all 5 of them and they fall off a cliff to the sea below. Neil screams at Madeleine- who stares off into space, Bela does his secret handshake and stares at her, then Bela gets KO’ed by the priest. Neil screams at Madeleine, she starts to come around. Bela wakes up, stares at Madeleine, who starts to fade, and Charles pushes Bela- who has floated 15 feet toward the cliff, over the side, before tumbling after him, (Charles does regain the ability to speak long enough to scream) With the death of Bela, Madeleine is back to normal, and everyone is happy.
Forget what Romero thinks, this is the movie that brought Zombies into the public mind.
Its only 69 minutes, but it feels like 2 hours.
We spend WAAAAAY too much time looking at Bela, yes this was right after his iconic Dracula performance, but holy shit, the director must have been in love with that stare of his, since if there is a chance to see it, you see it, and you will see it forever. Bela must spend a third of his time either just staring or doing that stupid-hand grip thing. Neither are as effective as the director must think it is. You almost think Bela is a Zombie, since he has the same stare they do. If I ever watch this movie, and I might, I’m going to keep a count of how many times we see the Bela-stare and if I really get bored, a stopwatch.
The Movie is SLOW, and again, could come in under an hour and be a solid movie. I get tired of staring at Bela’s stare, and lets just be honest, very little about Neil and Madeleine make me care. To be honest, the most gripping scene is when Bela and Charles are “talking” when Charles is becoming a Zombie.
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