Saturday, 27 September 2008


One approaches each low-budget horror film of the 30's and 40's with expectations not much higher than Shirley Temple's socks but we keep going back for more because, just sometimes, you find a winner. Isn't serendipity often defined as "Many a gem found in a dustbin". Well, I won't go as far as calling VOODOO MAN a gem but it is a pleasant surprise and is easily the best of the nine films that Bela Lugosi (may he rest in peace) made at Monogram. William Beaudine was never a very inspired director but, then, he wasn't paid to be. His job was to film what he was given and most of what he was given was junk. Here he has an above average script (above average for Monogram, that is) by Robert Charles and some actors who know how to deliver a line convincingly (and with a straight face when needed). The wacky plot has Bela (in good form) as Dr. Marlowe who has spent over twenty years trying to revive his beautiful dead wife with the aid of the local garage owner and voodoo priest (do these jobs usually go together?) played by our old friend George Zucco (nice tank top, George) and a deviant idiot played by John Carradine (to think I drank coffee with this guy!) and a bevy of pretty zombies, the result of Bela's failed experiments. The voodoo ceremonies are an absolute hoot with Bela intoning ominously and George frantically uttering gibberish incantations to his voodoo god while good ole' John Carradine beats out dat rhythm on a drum (needs a little work on the rhythm, John). The film moves at a fast pace and ends when the Hollywood scriptwriter hero delivers a script called VOODOO MAN to the head of his studio and suggests that they get Bela Lugosi to play the lead. "It's right up his street!" Indeed it is, indeed it is. Rating ***


Tariq writes : I must read more slowly, for an awful moment there I thought you said "Shirley Temple sucks".

1 comment:

Cerpts said...

VOODOO MAN is indeed an entertaining film and I can't add anything to what you said. However, I cannot let yet another one of your classic bon mots pass by without praising it to high heaven: "expectations not much higher than Shirley Temple's socks" is yet another classic line I plan to steal and use relentlessly for the rest of my life!!! Brilliance, once again. Sheer unadulterated brilliance!