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Friday, January 10, 2014

Chloe, Love is Calling You! (1934) - Marshall Neilan

This movie was wrongly presented to me as a horror feature. Reviews and synopsis' of the film promised Voodoo Zombies. I was hoping for a movie a-la White Zombie and unfortunately I was left with this racist piece of garbage.

The movie is about a young mixed-race girl named Chloe, that returns to the bayou with her mother. Her mother is a voodoo witch named Mandy that has come back to take her revenge on the white plantation owner that killed her husband Sam some years back. Chloe, is being pined after by her handler Jim. A white guy that seems to be employed by Mandy or, for some reason, is just accompanying them on their journey. When Chloe runs into other white men in the movie they portray her as unclean and not pure. The movie has that certain eugenic flair that plagued a ton of American releases from this time. 

I waited for the horror to start throughout the entire movie and it never came. I feel like this was nothing more than a racist romantic comedy that tries to paint black people as horrific monsters or savages. There a numerous instances of Mandy dancing around a fire chanting. She flies of the handle and is painted as the obvious antagonist. Later in the movie when it is revealed that Chloe isn't related to Mandy, she literally jumps for joy. She had been so depressed the entire film about having even a drop of "black blood" in her system. 

Aside from the obvious flaws. The quality of the film has been deeply diminished. Missing frames, scratches, nudges, muddled audio, and over exposed film are all present here. I recommend this movie to anyone that is studying film or writing about movies from this period. It is a prime example of how narrow minded Hollywood used to be. Not that it's any better today.  

  • I watched a 57 minuet version on Archive.org. You should try to find the 62 minuet version. I bet they cut out all the "horror"
  • Produced by Pinnacle Productions, Inc.
  • Marshall Neilan is a well known director from the 20's. He has worked with some of the biggest names in Hollywood. 
 

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