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I Walked with a Zombie (1943)

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Commentaries on this disc:

Commentary 1: Film critics Kim Newman and Steven Jones Rating:7.9/10 (7 votes) [graph]Login to vote or review
Reviewed by directorscut on January 18th, 2006:Find all reviews by directorscut
An enjoyable track. Nothing too revealing is said apart from differences between the screenplay and final product. Mostly a chat about the horror films of the time. Very few dead spaces Ė as expected for a film of this length! Newman sounds amazingly like fellow film critic and horror connoisseur Mark Kermode.
Reviewed by Jay Olie Espy on October 11th, 2010:Find all reviews by Jay Olie Espy
In this commentary track, Newman and Jones discuss the history of voodoo films, Val Lewton as a horror film producer, script-to-screen comparisons, and some storyline analysis of the film.

Voodoo films were en vogue in the 1930s and partway through the 1940s. The script for _I Walked With A Zombie_ is based on a series of articles on voodoo published in major periodicals at the time and the commentators give credit to the film for being well researched. For example, they claim the voodoo in the film is not portrayed as evil as other films had done, citing that the voodoo rituals in the film are closer to interpretative dance, therefore more cinematic. Newman and Jones state that they donít get a sense that the film condescends the nativesí beliefs, which in turn, became a popular movie with African Americans. The commentators also cite Jane Austenís _Jane Eyre_, Henry Jamesí _Turn of the Screw_, and Daphne du Maurier and Alfred Hitchcockís _Rebecca_ as influences, and the film itself was an influence on Wes Cravenís _The Serpent and the Rainbow_ and Lucio Fulciís _Zombie_.

According to Newman and Jones, Val Lewton and his film benefited greatly from RKO pictures. The crew, who worked on _Cat People_ and _I Walked With A Zombie_, were the same crew who worked with Orson Welles, thus bringing the skills they learned from Welles to the film.

If you didnít already know, and I didnít, Kim Newman and Steve Jones are British film critics and they are extant experts in Val Lewton horror films. It may take some time for American listeners to adjust to their accents, which are unusually nasal. This is the only commentary wherein I welcomed pauses just to give my hearing a rest. Their camaraderie, comfort, and chemistry are clearly demonstrated on the track and, by the final act of the film, they begin to grow on you.