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Tuesday, November 12, 2013

Black Moon (1934) - Roy William Neill

Black Moon is something else. It's not really a scary horror movie. I feel that the movie was made to make white people second guess their take on black people. The movie is highly bigoted and narrow minded. It is argued that this is just a product of the time but that's bull. Plenty of people had their heads on straight back then. Just not the majority of them. So yeah, this movie is pretty racist. 

The plot revolves around this woman named Juanita and her family. Her parents were massacred in a Voodoo ritual when she was a little girl. She narrowly escaped then. However, now she finds herself strangely drawn back to the remote island where this all took place. All of this is unknown to her husband Stephen played by Jack Lane, who sends Juanita, their daughter, and his mistress secretary to the island to help Juanita relieve stress. That's when things start to go wrong. 

If you can get past all of the blatant racist remarks then you might actually see a pretty decent horror movie. Definitely a precursor to movies like Cannibal Holocaust and Sacrifice!. This movie isn't really that scary but it does have it's moments. The Voodoo sacrifice scene is really well done and has fantastic set design. In an interesting twist our hero has a mistress. Played by Fay Wray. This is special because its the kind of detail usually left out of these quick witted thriller/horrors. Especially ones from this time period. It also pushed boundaries with gore. When a charred body is found near a lava pit what we get to see is pretty gruesome. 

Black Moon was decent, at best. I tried to get into it but couldn't let the vernacular go. I like what the movie could have been and what it could have become. It had really great potential and serves well as a great-grandfather to these other savage movies that came after it. Proceed, but proceed with caution. 

...the natives think that the 'Black Gods' must be angry with him!

  • The language spoken by the native characters, and by Juanita (Dorothy Burgess) when she addresses them directly, is Kreyol (also spelled Creole), the African-influenced dialect of French that is the common language of Haiti.
  • The film was refused a UK cinema certificate in 1934.
  • It is based on a short story by Clements Ripley that first appeared in Hearst's International-Cosmopolitan.

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