10 November 2020 | BA_Harrison
Meta, before meta was even a thing.
Forget Scream... Voodoo Man did meta-horror decades before Wes Craven's slasher classic.
Horror legends John Carradine, George Zucco and Bela Lugosi play the villains of the piece, Lugosi as Dr. Richard Marlowe, who attempts to bring his dead wife back to life with help from gas station owner/voodoo man Nicholas (Zucco) and bongo playing henchman Toby (Carradine). Abducting young women, they attempt to transfer their victims' life force to the dead woman, with little success, the result being a dungeon full of 'zombie-girls' Hollywood scenario writer Ralph (Tod Andrews) becomes involved in the hunt for the missing women after his wife-to-be's maid of honour Stella Saunders (Louise Currie) also disappears.
Lugosi, Carradine and Zucco ham it up a treat, clearly aware of just how cheesy the whole thing is, but despite their best efforts (Lugosi stares hypnotically, Zucco chants gibberish, and Carradine acts like a drooling simpleton), the film is still incredibly dull at times, with an uninspired script, a sluggish pace and repetitive action. What makes this one a touch more fun at times is its self-awareness: when Stella reappears, the woman in an emotionless trance, Ralph comments that she is like one of those zombies in the movies, and the film ends with the writer turning his adventure into a script, even going so far as to suggest that Bela Lugosi should be the star. It's not much, but this meta aspect makes Voodoo Man just a tad more memorable than many a poverty row horror/thriller.