Reviews
The Dead One (1961) 1 brain
(USA)

Alternate Titles:

Blood of the Zombie


To say that this movie reminded me of The Incredibly Strange Creatures Who Stopped Living and Became Mixed-Up Zombies is not a good thing. TISCWSLABMUZ has several unecessary musical numbers, and that's also the case with The Dead One, or, as I saw it Blood of the Zombie. I think the musical numbers in this movie were ostensibly to show that the hero, John Carlton (John MacKay), is a man of culture and worldliness, as he drags his new bride Linda (Linda Ormond) around New Orleans to various jazz clubs and burlesque shows. But I suspect that director Barry Mahon also put them there to push the movie to feature length. There are other examples of this, too, like when we have to watch the zombie (yes, there is only one) go up an entire flight of stairs at a painfully slow rate. Twice.

Having said that, the rest of the movie doesn't have much to recommend it either. This is one of those movies where you can't ask too many questions, or you realize just how illogical the writing is. Mahon's writing also has the chauvinist slant that many budget horror movies from this era seem to have. Although there is a strong female character, it's not Linda; Linda relies on her husband to tell her what to do, and she doesn't always seem to grasp what going on. There's one part of the movie where she and John come upon a corpse, and when John pronounces "She's dead," Linda replies "Is there anything we can do?"

The plot idea itself isn't so bad. After seeing New Orleans, John and Linda head out to the country to the plantation that John has inherited upon his marriage to Linda. On the way to the plantation, John and Linda pick up Bella Bella (Darlene Myrick), a burlesque dancer whose car has broken down. The current owner of the plantation is John's cousin Monica (Monica Davis), who is not happy about the change in ownership. She uses voodoo to raise her dead brother Jonas (Clyde Kelly) to kill Linda so that John can't inherit.

If Linda's not too smart, John's not the sharpest tool in the shed either. Despite having a converstion with Monica where she makes veiled death threats regarding Linda, and then later seeing Monica in a voodoo ceremony where she's chanting "Kill, kill, kill!" he doesn't actually realize they're in danger until it's too late. But if he caught on earlier, then of course there wouldn't be a movie.

Once John and Linda get out of New Orleans, the movie moves along at a decent pace, but it's not enough to overcome the horrible writing and lukewarm acting. As far as suspense and chills go, forget about it. There's probably only one or two questions that you can't answer yourself by the time the movie is halfway done. There are two or three scenes that might be notable in a different movie, but as it is, this movie should be skipped.