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White Zombie (1932) DVD [2007]

Bela Lugosi , Madge Bellamy , Victor Halperin    Universal, suitable for all   DVD
3.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (17 customer reviews)

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Product details

  • Actors: Bela Lugosi, Madge Bellamy, John Harron
  • Directors: Victor Halperin
  • Format: Colour, DVD-Video, PAL
  • Language: English
  • Region: Region 2 (This DVD may not be viewable outside Europe. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Aspect Ratio: 4:3 - 1.33:1
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Classification: U
  • Studio: www.a2zcds.com
  • DVD Release Date: 1 July 2007
  • Run Time: 73 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 3.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (17 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B000853QN0
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 350,500 in DVD & Blu-ray (See Top 100 in DVD & Blu-ray)

Reviews

Product Description

"In an age when thrilling westerns ruled the silver screen, director Victor Helparin decided to move on to another form and level of cinematic entertainment. What prompted him to so is not clear, but the results of the decision are pretty evident from the scores of horror movies that followed his pioneering venture "White Zombie!" The movie both thrilled and horrified audiences unaccustomed to such themes. It is difficult to portray themes that are fascinating, terrifying, captivating and innovative all at once, but in this timeless classic Victor Helparin has done just this and earned himself a place of honor in the world of entertainment. His disconcerting use of sound and dreamy images, which paved the way for later horror movies, is proof of his exceptional insight and skills as director. Of course, this is amply supplemented by the genius of people like Harold Anderson, whose special effects are stunningly imaginative, and Bela Lugosi, whose portrayal of an! ! evil sorcerer is truly chilling. The rest of the cast, too, deserves mention for their great effort in portraying various characters from dehumanized zombies to helpless lovers.

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
By Trevor Willsmer HALL OF FAME TOP 100 REVIEWER
Format:Blu-ray
NB: As is Amazon's Wont, they've very unhelpfully bundled all the reviews for various editions and formats together. This review refers to Kino's 2013 Blu-ray release and also refers to the Roan Group's NTSC DVD.

At times superbly directed by Victor Halperin with imaginative use of shadows and light and blessed with what may well be Bela Lugosi's best screen performance as the wonderfully named Murder Legendre, White Zombie, although a bit creaky in places, is still one of the very best of the Thirties cycle of horror films that followed Universal's success with Lugosi's Dracula and Frankenstein the previous year. While most of the supporting players are a bit insipid, to put it generously, Bela has more than enough personality to make up for them as the sorcerer who turns his worst enemies into mindless zombies to serve his whims and who hires out his expertise to lovesick plantation owner and Harry Houdini-lookalike Robert Frazer to steal Madge Bellamy from her true love John Harron, only to decide he'd rather like to add her to his own collection.

It's a film full of wonderfully atmospheric moments, from its opening with a midnight burial at a crossroads which sets the eerie tone for the rest of the film to its climax in a gothic cliff top mansion inhabited solely by Lugosi and his living dead slaves.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Roan is the best available print. 29 Oct 2012
By Adrian Drew TOP 500 REVIEWER
Format:DVD|Verified Purchase
Amazon have done it again, they have lumped together all the reviews for the different versions of this film! However, the one presently on offer from Roan is the best image although the sound is very problematic. Still, with so many bad prints available of this little classic it's good to have this "restoration" from a few years back of this imaginative and atmospheric period shocker. ironically though, the recent blu ray compilation of 18 horror movies in SD format on one disc, has a clearer soundtrack than this. To be frank my favourite Lugosi is "Dark Eyes of London" but this and Dracula ( in the new blu ray transfer) rank high on my list of his "finest moments".
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Like hearing it for the first time! 15 Jan 2012
By Gene B
Format:DVD|Verified Purchase
There's something weird about 'White Zombie' (1932),...it seems to exert a strange fascination on some people. And having now bought four different WZ DVD's, and also the rather expensive, 360 page hardcover, trivia filled book 'White Zombie: Anatomy of a Horror Film' I think I can safely say I'm most definitely one of them! I wanted this one (the 'Screen Edge') because I really like the cover artwork, but I was fully expecting it to be yet another barely watchable 'public domain' print, like most of the other WZ DVD's released to date. However, on comparing the 'Screen Edge' with the 'Roan' release (which is the benchmark 'restored' version), the SE compares really quite favourably....And in some respects it's actually superior:

The 'Screen Edge' DVD features an on-screen menu with a nine chapter scene selection and a three page (six paragraphs) WZ film synopsis and short history. There are also three movie stills.

Picture quality:
The print is quite soft, and this 'Vaseline smeared on the lens effect' seems more apparent in the movie's long distance shots. However, I wouldn't say it was overly excessive or too blurry: for instance, the copyright 'small print' text that appears at the bottom of the opening credits screen is quite legible, which is more than you can say for some WZ transfers. Film damage, dirt, marks and scratches are evident in certain sections of the movie, but again, not too excessive or distracting. It has decent contrast too; not too dark, which is a criticism sometimes levelled at the 'Roan' transfer. All in all, a very watchable print, which, image-wise kinda reminds me of Carl Dreyer's Vampyr. I'd score it a '6' or maybe '6.5' out of '10' (I'd give the 'Roan' an '8.5').
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars One of a kind! 7 July 2007
Format:DVD|Verified Purchase
Within a year of becoming the screen's first and still-best Dracula, Bela Lugosi was starring in this "epic" for The Halperin Brothers. Don't ask who they were-long ago forgotten!!

So is this film, and that's one mistake you can swiftly rectify by buying it. You won't find another quite like it.

Only 5 years after sound films had started I know, but there are some fairly wobbly bits of recording. As for the soundtrack, that is even scratchier, off 78's!

But this only adds to the atmosphere. The eerie, low-lit photography is quite astounding and completely at one with the studio backdrops. God knows where Haiti was actually recreated, but it's convincingly chilling even if it was Poverty Row, LA!

The soundtrack is actually parts of Schubert's Unfinished symphony, parts of other half-recognisable classical pieces, plus a bit of refrains or variations based on what's gone before. In any other context, you'd probably rush to sell it on e-bay or here, but it really is compelling stuff alongside Bela!

And it is Mr Lugosi who makes it, finally. All I will say is that the hero is daft enough to put into Port-au-Prince with his fiancee to stay with another single bloke they met on the boat to New York, and his fiancee is daft enough to stand around in her underwear by the shuttered window listening to native drums!

That is quite enough encouragement for Murder Legendre,sugar-mill owner and interesting second occupation, to run amok. And Bela Lugosi was never better than when he did that.

Well, this film really is an one-off. It's stood repeated viewings on VHS and is now doing the same on DVD. It's a real treasure, and a compelling entertainment.

All I can finally do, to encourage a purchase(I'm not selling it, by the way!)is to quote Mr Lugosi's final words:-

"For you, my frend, they are the Angels of Death"

So now you know where that came from,too!
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Classic!
The print is a bit ropey in places and one is always aware this is unimproved film from the 30's. Especially liked the creepy atmosphere and almost omnipresent voodoo drums. Read more
Published 5 months ago by j edgar lloyd
4.0 out of 5 stars Restored classic given new lease of life!...
The Region 1 Roan Archival Collection, Horror Classic 1 dvd..
Having attempted/dared to watch many public domain prints of obscurer old films, it is always a pleasure when... Read more
Published 7 months ago by Zaroff
5.0 out of 5 stars LOOK! HERE THEY COME!
This movie hails from the era when Haiti had cornered the market on zombies. No raising from the dead, no alien induced zombie, no foot dragging or brain eating fun zombies. Read more
Published 11 months ago by The Movie Guy
3.0 out of 5 stars the film is a good one. this dvd transfer is not.
i think the previous reviewer was exaggerating slightly when he said that the picture and sound quality of this film is an improvement. Read more
Published on 2 Jun 2012 by jeremiah harbottle
1.0 out of 5 stars Avoid this release! (a2zcds.com)
This is not a review of the movie, which has been well reviewed already elsewhere, but a review of this particular release by a2zcds[]

Avoid. At. All. Costs. Read more
Published on 20 Aug 2009 by Mr. T. Berriman
4.0 out of 5 stars The best White Zombie you can get.
The Roan Group's White Zombie... probably the best White Zombie in the world.
That about sums it up. This is as good as it gets when it comes to picture and sound quality. Read more
Published on 9 July 2009 by dialogX5
2.0 out of 5 stars Barely watchable
This does have some interesting photography, and the lighting and make-up (for the time) is well done. However do not be tempted by this. Read more
Published on 24 Mar 2009 by S J Buck
1.0 out of 5 stars Truly Horrific !
Firstly , I would agree with the two previous reviews with regard to the film , Bela Lugosi on top form & should be seen by any fan of horror movies . Read more
Published on 11 Dec 2008 by adam3835
5.0 out of 5 stars The one that started it all
The great-grandfather of zombie films. Thanks to this we have Night of the Living Dead and Dawn of the Dead. To all you Zombie lovers this is a film you must have.
Published on 9 Aug 2008 by R. Baker
5.0 out of 5 stars Horror classic
I love this film, I would even go so far as to say I prefer White Zombie over Bela Lugosi's Dracula. Read more
Published on 29 Dec 2007 by Mr. K. Richardson
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