The Plague of the Zombies (1966)

I was disappointed to learn that “the Hammer Collection” didn’t star MC Hammer. In fact, there few, if any, significant black characters — just a bunch of pasty British people — in any of the legendary UK studio’s films, but I thought that a zombie/voodoo pic might be the best bet. Sadly, there’s just a butler and some voodoo drummers who seemingly live in main bad guy Hamilton’s (John “Don’t Call Me Johnny” Carson) basement and who only appear when it’s time for him to conjure some evilness.

Seems he learned a thing or two in Haiti (or “Hi-EE-tee”) about raising the dead, which he does so that they can kill (exciting!) and work in the mines (not so exciting). While there’s a dearth of black characters, Plague of the Zombies is notable in its high-profile use of zombies and voodoo and its specific crediting of said horror staples with Hi-EE-tee. For my taste, there could’ve been more zombies; not really a plague so much as a mild outbreak. A soiree even. Though atmospheric and pretty to look at, compared to Night of the Living Dead two years later, it feels distinctly rickety and polite.

Beneath the Flintstones’ Water Buffalo Lodge.
When hard times hit, Billy Ocean was forced to take a part-time job.


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