Revenge of the Zombies (1943)

A semi-sequel to King of the Zombies, Revenge of the Zombies is more like King of the Zombies Redux, with Mantan Moreland reprising his role as bug-eyed servant Jeff, albeit in a different location (Louisiana instead of the Caribbean) and with a different (albeit equally rigid) cast of characters. As with KOTZ, ROTZ features:

          • Mantan and his two white boss men, Scott and Larry (Mauritz Hugo and Robert Lowery)
          • A mad scientist, Dr. Van Altermann (John Carradine), who’s secretly creating zombies for evil, Nazi-minded purposes
          • The scientist’s wife, who’s been turned into a dainty zombie
          • A sexy black maid, Rosella (Sybil Lewis), who inexplicably falls for Mantan (and Lewis, like Marguerite Whitten in KOTZ, speaks in awkward, unnatural Ebonics; sort of like when Halle Berry tries to “act poor”)
          • Madame Sul-Te-Wan as a creepy servant
          • Endless scenes of Mantan encountering zombies and scary stuff all alone, then skedaddling off to tell his boss men, only to have the scary stuff disappear by the time they return, giving the boss men free rein to mock him mercilessly

Despite the Louisiana setting, there’s no voodoo to be found in ROTZ; just a lame-ass poison made from swamp lilies whose antidote is…COFFEE??? That’s not a poison; that’s a sleep aid! Meanwhile, Mantan is typical Mantan: helpless, ignorant, and blindly superstitious, yet still likable. As groan-worthy as his role seems by today’s standards, it’s evident that he’s the high point of both this movie and KOTZ. The other characters are so flat and dull, it’s hard to figure out who the zombies are, but when Mantan enters the scene, it’s amazing how the energy level picks up.

Santa’s Workshop was not as advertised.
“Well, I’m sure there’s a logical scientific explanation for the proliferation of supposedly paranormal activity in this sector — er, I mean, lawdy they’s boogedy-boogs in tha bushes!”
Phil picked an awkward time to cop a feel.
“Raise the shelf!”
All they needed now was the Vaseline.
“Trick or treat, motherfucker.”
“I hope you’re barefoot and/or pregnant under there.”

What do you think?