In Haiti, a wealthy landowner convinces a sorcerer to lure the American woman he has fallen for away from her fiance, only to have the madman decide to keep the woman for himself, as a zombie.
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Young couple Madeleine and Neil are coaxed by acquaintance Monsieur Beaumont to get married on his Haitian plantation. Beaumont's motives are purely selfish as he makes every attempt to convince the beautiful young girl to run away with him. For help Beaumont turns to the devious Legendre, a man who runs his mill by mind controlling people he has turned into zombies. After Beaumont uses Legendre's zombie potion on Madeleine, he is dissatisfied with her emotionless being and wants her to be changed back. Legendre has no intention of doing this and he drugs Beaumont as well to add to his zombie collection. Meanwhile, grieving 'widower' Neil is convinced by a local priest that Madeleine may still be alive and he seeks her out.
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I'm not entirely sure why this film is considered a horror classic. But having seen many other horror films from the 1930s, I would have to agree it's definitely one of the better ones.nnThe plot: a Frenchman in Haiti makes a deal with Bela Lugosi to turn a beautiful young woman (Madge Bellamy, the finest 1930s woman by far) into a zombie. But then he becomes disillusioned and Bela Lugosi strikes back at the Frenchman. Oh ,and there are other zombies, an absent-minded professor and a really annoying screeching vulture.nnThis film has some of the strangest transitions between scenes. I forget the word for when the screen slides over, but it does it a number of times in short succession in some strange shapes (like curtains, or diagonally). And there is a weird fascination with showing Bela Lugosi' eyes and his hand gestures repeatedly. The eyes reveal what seems to me some of the fakest eyebrows ever glued to a forehead.nnBut if you like Lugosi or classic horror, or Madge Bellamy... yeah, you should see this film. So much crap is pumped out of theaters and studios these days in the horror genre, why not see the roots that inspired all this before it went bad?
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