I Walked with a Zombie

Screening on Film
Directed by Jacques Tourneur.
With Frances Dee, Tom Conway, James Ellison.
US, 1943, 35mm, black & white, 68 min.
Print source: HFA

Z is for Zombies

After Universal’s success with Frankenstein and Dracula in the late 1930s and early 1940s, RKO decided to make a series of low-budget horror films. I Walked with a Zombie, often referred to as "a West Indian version of Jane Eyre," employs an elliptical narrative to transpose the action of the original story to the Caribbean, where Rochester’s first wife is the victim of a voodoo spell. Director Tourneur’s caressingly evocative direction, superbly backed by Roy Hunt’s chiaroscuro images, makes sheer magic of the film’s brooding journey into fear by way of voodoo drums, gleaming moonlight, somnambulistic ladies in fluttering white, and dark, silent, "undead" sentries.

Part of film series

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Cinema A–Z: Treasures from the Harvard Film Archive

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Séance Screenings

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The Glitter of Putrescence. Val Lewton at RKO