November 8, 2012
White Zombie and The Birth of Zombie Cinema
White Zombie stars Bela Lugosi in one of his most menacing roles as Murder Legendre, a European plantation owner in Haiti who creates undead slaves with his secret potion, hypnotic glare and infamous ‘zombie grip.’
Widely considered to be the first zombie movie ever made, the docile drones in this 1932 cult classic bear little resemblance to the flesh-eating ghouls of the Romero universe. But there is a less obvious connection between these two distant relatives – the zombie as metaphor for a socially repressed underclass.
So with this edition of the Black Museum, we’re going to take a close look at Victor Halperin’s masterwork, we’ll wallow in its gothic gorgosity and examine its relationship to the contemporary zombie sub-genre. Then we’ll attempt a working definition for what actually constitutes a ‘zombie film.’ Not an easy thing to do as there are no stable, defining characteristics. Instead, an interchangeable range of elements needs to be present for us to accept that we’re watching a zombie film. And this may very well be the key to the zombie’s longevity and enduring appeal – its ability to adapt and function as a reflecting mirror for the social anxieties of the times in which they appear.
And finally, w’ere going to challenge White Zombie’s claim as the first zombie film. We’ll dig up a nasty little treat all the way back from 1903 that we’ll brazenly position as an alternate ‘first zombie film.’
Yes, in this class, we’ll be arrogant enough to change horror movie history. Don’t miss it!
November 8, 2012 at 8pm
Projection Booth – East, 1035 Gerrard Steet East, Toronto
Cost: $12 advance / $15 at the door
Instructor: Stuart “Feedback” Andrews
Since 2005, Toronto based film journalist Stuart Feedback Andrews has been a regular contributor to Rue Morgue magazine and is currently the host of the magazine’s spoken word radio program, the Rue Morgue Podcast, where he’s interviewed many of the horror genre’s most celebrated figures. He studied film at Toronto’s York University and was a student of influential genre film critic Robin Wood (Hitchcock’s Films, American Nightmares) and he’s the host of Toronto’s long running weekly film show Cinephobia Radio (formerly on CKLN, currently on Regent Radio). Excerpts from his career retrospective interview with legendary filmmaker George A. Romero appear on the special features of the Weinstein Company’s 40th anniversary DVD reissue of Night of the Living Dead.