Blumhouse, under the leadership of Jason Blum, has gone from a maverick independent studio to an industry leader, almost single-handedly reinventing the movie landscape of the 21st Century-especially when it comes to the horror genre. With a penchant for producing films fast and on the cheap, the studio is home to The Purge and Insidious franchises (among others), not to mention 2017’s Oscar Winner (for Best Original Screenplay) Get Out and Spike Lee’s upcoming BlacKkKlansman. Blumhouse is also tackling their first reboots with Halloween slated to hit theaters on October 19 and Todd McFarlane’s Spawn in pre-production. On the remake front, we’re getting word that Blumhouse has identified and procured their next property: White Zombie!
While filmmaker George A. Romero is rightly considered “The Godfather of the Modern Zombie” for the enduring tropes he first established in 1968’s Night of the Living Dead, the film that first introduced modern theatergoers to these now iconic sub-humans was 1932’s White Zombie. Directed by Victor Halperin from a story and script penned by Garnett Weston, the film stared horror icon Bela Lugosi and, yes, it’s the inspiration for the name of Rob Zombies now-defunct band White Zombie. Of course, back in those days, zombies weren’t the undead flesh-eaters we all know and love today. In the 1930s, zombies were still inseparable from Voodoo culture. Here’s the synopsis:
“Murder Legendre (Bela Lugosi) is the menacingly named zombie master of Haiti. So it’s to him that Charles Beaumont (Robert Frazer) goes when he needs help for a twisted plan. Spurned in marriage by Madeline Short (Madge Bellamy), Beaumont has decided on a simple solution: kill Short and bring her back as a zombie. Then she can be his forever. The only problem comes when Legendre keeps the fetching girl for himself — and her new husband (John Harron) comes to Madeline’s rescue.”
At a time and era when the zombie subgenre of horror is growing stale (a sacrilegious statement to some, I realize) going back to the beginning for new inspiration could be a stroke of genius. Indeed, the only modern horror movie to explore zombification’s anthropological roots in Haiti was Wes Craven’s nerve-shredding anomaly The Serpent and the Rainbow, released in 1988 and based on the nonfiction study of the same name by Wade Davis. Apparently, Texas Chainsaw Massacre mastermind Tobe Hooper wanted to helm a reboot of White Zombie back in 2009, but couldn’t get the rights. No word yet on who Blumhouse has in mind for director duties, but we’ll keep our ears to the ground in order to bring you updates as details emerge.
Reports indicate Blum and company are currently scouting locations for White Zombie in Louisiana. Whether or not the studio that reinvigorated horror can breathe new life into a shambling zombie subgenre by going back to its roots remains to be seen. This news came our way via WhatCulture who got the exclusive.