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Review: King of the Zombies
by steelcorpfilms (steelcorpfilms)
at October 12th, 2007 (05:37 am)

current mood: bored
current song: Tom Waits "Crossroads"

King of the Zombies
- 1941

Reviewer: Indy McDaniel
Rating: 4
Director: Jean Yarbrough
Writer: Edmond Kelso
Cast: Dick Purcell
Joan Woodbury
Mantan Moreland
Henry Victor
John Archer
Run Time: 67 minutes
MPAA Rating: Not Rated
Date Reviewed: October 12th, 2007

Plot: During World War 2, a small plane off the south coast of America is low on fuel and blown off course by a storm. Guided by a faint radio signal, they crashland on an island. The passenger, his manservant and the pilot take refuge in a mansion owned by a doctor. The easily-spooked manservant soon becomes convinced the mansion is haunted by zombies and ghosts. Exploring, the 3 find a voodoo ritual in the cellar, where the doctor is trying to acquire war intelligence by transferring personalities into his zombies. But the interruption causes the zombies to turn on their creator.

Comments: An odd but entertaining little zombie flick. The problem is, it's only entertaining for really one reason. Mantan Moreland, the guy who plays the manservant. He makes this movie. Without him, the whole thing would've just collapsed into pure mediocrity. As it is, the movie still isn't wonderful, but it's still fun to watch thanks to Mantan. The other actors do a passable job, and the story seems to more or less hold together, it's just that the rest of it is all just pretty bland, really.

A World War 2 zombie movie actually sounds like a potentially cool concept. Unfortunately, there really isn't much to do with World War 2 in this movie. They thing takes place somewhere in America and the only real connection to the war is that the main characters are searching for a missing General who disappeared in the area. Where the hell this middle of nowhere, swampland area is, who knows, but apparently it requires flying a plane, getting low on fuel and then going into a storm that causes you to crash land. Doesn't make much sense, really. Why would they send a search team comprised of a pilot, some random guy and his manservant out to find a military general? Wouldn't there be a few more people involved? And why just load em into a plane and send them flying around, tracking down some supposed beacon? What're they gonna do when they find the beacon? Since there's obviously no airport anywhere near where it is, crash landing seems the only possible way they could've gone to find him.

Once the voodoo zombies turn up, things get a bit more ridiculous. Why there's a mansion in the middle of the swamp where a creepy old guy is turning people into zombies, there's no real explanation. He seems to be content just being the king of the zombies and chilling in his place. All of his companions in the house with him are zombies, with the exception of the kitchen staff. Apparently, zombies are useful when it comes to having them shuffle down hallways and stand around drooling, but if you want a decent meal, then you're shit outta luck. That's another thing, the zombies don't really do much in this movie aside from shuffling around. They don't kill, they don't attack and they don't 'eat meat' as told by the zombie king himself. Too bad. At least if these were flesh-eating zombies they'd be more inclined to rip some shit up.

As I said, Mantan is the heart and soul of this flick. Without him, it would totally fall apart. Even though he's a bit of a stereotypical character, he plays it so well and his comic timing is so perfect, that he's absolutely hilarious. His general freaked out attitude and reactions to all the crazy things he's going through are great. His character's brief stint as one of the bumbling zombies is especially funny. He's seriously the black Don Knotts.

Overall: Although the rest of the movie is pretty plain and boring, it's still worth watching for Mantan Moreland. His performance makes the whole movie entertaining as hell.