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Revenge of the Zombies (1943) - Film Review

If ever I had any misgivings about how the horror genre had progressed over the years Steve Sekley’s 1943 flick REVENGE OF THE ZOMBIES laid all of my doubts to rest. Made as a follow up to KING OF THE ZOMBIES, I knew not to expect too much. Not only is it not scary but the zombies don’t actually do anything throughout the entire film! They don’t look frightening and they don’t bite (in fact they make polite conversation with guests!) This film had moments of hilarity that made me so glad I’d watched it. But as far as horror films go, well all I can say is that the folk in 1943 must have been nervous wrecks if this made their pulses race, had they ever seen an episode of Scooby Doo, then I fear they may have needed the smelling salts. At only 61 mins long I didn’t mind that I’d sat through the most scare-less film ever made because in places it was so entertaining.

Dr Van Altermann (John Carradine, more famous for playing early Dracula) is up to some really weird stuff, namely bringing the dead back to life. His experiment is to create an army of invincible soldiers for the Third Reich. When Dr Van Altermann’s Wife dies,
his brother-in-law Scott Warrington (Mauritz Hugo) turns up with his hired detective Larry Adams (Robert Lowery) to investigate Lila Van Altermann’s untimely death. For some reason Lila (Veda Ann Borg) decides not to be a cooperative Zombie and the Dr’s plans start to go awry.

John Carradine acts with his eyes like in the old silent movies and this coupled with the superb comedy acting of Manton Moreland as the servant Jeff made the film fun and kept me watching. The character of Jeff was so politically incorrect that they wouldn’t get away with it now, but it’s funny regardless.

The over dramatic music score was insane and the Zombie Lazarus played by James Baskett looks like a young Don King! When he came out with the line ‘I used to drive a car for masta….when I’s alive’ it was just plain funny. For me though, it was Manton Moreland who carried this film, his wide -eyed comedy genius and some cracking lines had me giggling throughout. I would never wish to see this film again; I wouldn’t recommend it to any horror fan - but if you like comedy and are curious to see what the definition of horror used to be way back when. Then I guess there’s worse ways of spending an hour.

REVENGE OF THE ZOMBIES (1943). Director: Steve Sekley. Writers: Edmund Kelso, Van Norcross. Cast: John Carradine, Robert Lowery, Veda Ann Borg, James Baskett, Mauritz Hugo, Manton Moreland, Bob Steele, Jennifer Rand, Madame Sul-Te-Wan, Sybil Lewis

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1 comment:

  1. The cast includes Gale Storm, who portrayed Jennifer Rand.