Monday, 18 October 2010

I Walked with a Zombie (1943)

Another great film shown on BBC Four. This one tells the story of a young Canadian nurse Betsy Connell (Frances Dee) who accepts a job in the West Indies caring for Jessica Holland (Christine Gordon), the wife of a plantation owner Paul Holland (Tom Conway). Jessica appears to be suffering from the effects of a fever. Betsy falls in love with Paul and determines to cure Jessica of her malaise even if it means attending a voodoo ceremony. Directed by Jacques Tourneur and produced by Val Lewton I Walked with a Zombie (1943) is apparently typical of Lawton’s horror movies, he was given the title and, with the aid of credited writers, he created the story around the title, on this occasion borrowing from Jane Eyre.

Not the blood and gore we have come to expect from our horror genre, a far more civilised and believable tale of the supernatural and certainly not your typical zombie movie but one that depicts Caribbean culture and voodoo rites and beliefs. The question remands is Jessica a zombie or has she suffered a voodoo curse?

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