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Article #74 by Dave Sindelar
Viewing date: 5-29-2001
Posting date: 10-12-2001

A nurse comes to a plantation in the West Indies to care for the wife of the owner, who appears to have lost all will of her own. Is it a medical condition, or could she be a zombie?

This is another very fine Val Lewton film, directed by Jacques Tourneur. Lewton's skill at taking lurid titles and building inspired, unusual stories around them is very much in evidence; the story itself is based on Jane Eyre. This is the Val Lewton film I think most effectively walks the line between fantasy and reality; you're never quite sure whether the wife's ailment is medical or supernatural. There are also several memorable scenes, my favorites being Sir Lancelot's memorable song which serves as a Greek chorus to the story, and the unforgettable walk through the jungle where the nurse encounters Carrefour (Darby Jones), the most striking zombie in classic cinema. This is a classic that deserves the name.

Incidentally, both Darby Jones and Sir Lancelot would appear together again in a movie called ZOMBIES ON BROADWAY. The less said about this one, the better.

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