King of the Zombies (1944)

King of the Zombies is a 1941 film directed by Jean Yarborough.

During World War II, a small plane somewhere over the Caribbean runs low on fuel and is blown off course by a storm. Guided by a faint radio signal, they crash-land on an island. The passenger, his manservant and the pilot take refuge in a mansion owned by a doctor. The quick-witted yet easily-frightened manservant (Mantan Moreland) soon becomes convinced the mansion is haunted by zombies, and confirms this with some of the doctor’s hired help. Exploring, the three stumble upon a voodoo ritual being conducted in the cellar, where the doctor is trying to acquire war intelligence from a captured US military official. But the interruption causes the zombies to turn on their master.
[edit]Background

The role of Dr. Victor Sangre was intended for Bela Lugosi. When he became unavailable, negotiations ensued to obtain Peter Lorre for the part, but a deal could not be reached. Veteran character actor Henry Victor was signed just prior to the date of filming.
In the press kit for this film, Monogram advised exhibitors to sell “it along the same lines as Paramount’s The Ghost Breakers (1940).” The Bob Hope horror/comedy was a runaway hit at the time.
Produced and released prior to U.S. entry into World War II, the film seems to portray Nazi Germany as the enemy behind the scenes. The villain claims to be from Austria, radio traffic is spoken in German and there are spoken references to spying, although neither Germany or Nazis are overtly mentioned. The plot, described in the press kit, describes the evil Dr. Sangre as “a secret agent for a European government.”

This entry was posted on Tuesday, July 27th, 2010 at 6:42 pm and is filed under Black & White, Horror, Sci-fi.

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