Voodoo Films (genre)

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Summary

Most of the pulpier Voodoo movies tend to fall into one of two major themes:

  • A villain raises an army of zombie supermen in preparation for conquering the world.
  • A skeptical curiosity-seeker crosses paths with a voodoo cult or priest, usually by watching a secret ceremony he wasn't supposed to see, and is then subjected to a voodoo curse.

Details

Film List

  • White Zombie (1932 film) (IMDB) - A young man turns to a witch doctor to lure the woman he loves away from her fiancé, but instead turns her into a zombie slave.
  • Black Moon (1934 film) (Full Movie) (IMDB) (Wikipedia) - Obsessed with voodoo rituals, a woman leaves her husband for the West Indies.
    • Review at Black Horror Movies (2.5/5) (link), Review by Bret Gallman at Oh The Horror! (link), Review by Mitch Lovell at The Video Vacuum (2 Stars) (link), Review by Dan Reid at Pre-CodeDotCom (link)
  • Drums o' Voodoo (1934 film) AKA She Devil (IMDB) - Friction between a Voodoo cult and local Christians escalates when a Voodoo curse apparently strikes a preacher blind....
  • Revolt of the Zombies (1936 film) (IMDB) - In this sequel to White Zombie, an international expedition is sent into Cambodia to destroy an ancient formula that turns men into zombies.
  • Ouanga (1936 film) AKA Drums in the Night, Drums of the Jungle, Love Wanga, etc. (IMDB) - In Haiti, a black female plantation owner enacts a voodoo curse, and revives zombies for revenge on a white male neighbor, who has chosen a white woman over her for marriage.
  • The Devil's Daughter (1939 film) (IMDB) - A woman returns from Harlem to take over a Jamaican plantation from her vindictive half-sister, amid the growing sound of drums. Remake of Ouanga with an African-American cast.
  • King of the Zombies (1941 film) (IMDB) - On a spooky island, three stranded travelers find an evil doctor working with foreign spies and in control of zombies.
  • I Walked with a Zombie (1943 film) (IMDB) - A Canadian nurse is hired to care for the wife of a sugar plantation owner, who has been acting strangely, on a Caribbean island.
  • Revenge of the Zombies (1943 film) (IMDB) - A man returns to his childhood home in Louisiana with the help of a detective after learning that his deceased sister may have been poisoned by husband, Dr. von Altermann (John Carradine), who is secretly a Nazi perfecting a way to turn the dead into an army of zombies who will serve Hitler.
  • Voodoo Devil Drums (1944 film) (IMDB) - An outsider witnesses a Voodoo ceremony of The Goat Without Horns, and is cursed for his troubles.
  • White Witch Doctor (1953 film) (IMDB) - In 1907, a nurse arrives in the Belgian Congo to work for a missionary doctor but meets a grumpy animal hunter who secretly plans to search for gold in the dangerous Bakuba tribal region.
  • Scared Stiff (1953 film) (IMDB) - Horror/Comedy. Fleeing a murder charge, a busboy and a nightclub singer wind up on a spooky Caribbean island inherited by an heiress.
  • The Disembodied (1957 film) (Trailer) (IMDb) - A photographer on an expedition in the jungle runs afoul of a voodoo cult.
    • Review by Marty McKee at Johnny LaRue's Craneshot (link) Review by Dave Sindelar at Fantastic Movie Musings and Ramblings (link) Review by Dan Stumpff at Mystery File (link) Review by Derek Winnert at Derek Winnertdotcom (link)
  • Voodoo Woman (1957 film) (Trailer) (IMDb) - A lady leading an expedition searching for gold in the African jungle is turned into an indestructible beast by a mad doctor.
    • Review by Richard Cross at 20/20 Movie Review (link) Review by Justin McKinney at The Bloody Pit of Horror (1.5/4 Stars) (link) Review by Mitch Lovell at The Video Vacuum (3 Stars) (link) Review by Richard Scheib at The Science Fiction, Horror and Fantasy Film Review (2.5/5 Stars) (link) Review by Dave Sindelar at Fantastic Movie Musings and Ramblings (link) Review by Dan Stumpf at Mystery File (link) Review by Derek Winnert at Derek Winnertdotcom (2 Stars) (link)
  • Voodoo Island (1957 film) (IMDB) - A writer famous for exposing hoaxes investigates a tropical island supposedly rife with voodoo horrors.
  • Macumba Love (1960 film) (IMDB) - A writer who specializes in exposing fake witchcraft journeys to Brazil to investigate a voodoo cult, stirring up restless natives and their queen.
  • The Dead One (1961 film) (IMDB) - A voodoo priestess sends out zombies to bring back live victims for her sacrificial rituals
  • The Spiral Road (1962 film) (IMDB) - In 1936, a Dutch physician who treats leprosy patients in the jungles of Indonesia has a dangerous run-in with a local witch-doctor who uses black magic to kill his enemies.
  • I Eat Your Skin (1964 film) AKA Voodoo Blood Bath (IMDB) - A writer meets a girl whose mad-doctor father turns Caribbean islanders into zombies.
  • Voodoo Blood Death (1965 film) (IMDB) - An English hunter kills a Voodoo cult's sacred totem, and, upon being cursed, begins seeing ghostly warriors....
  • The Plague of the Zombies (1966 film) (Trailer) (IMDB) - A medical professor and his daughter link a Cornish zombie epidemic to a village squire's voodoo.
    • Review by "Banacek" at Beasts in Human Skin (link), Review by Mitch Lovell at The Video Vacuum (2 Stars) (link) Review by Richard Scheib at The Science Fiction, Horror and Fantasy Film Review (3/5 Stars) (link), Review by Chris Wood at British Horror Movies (link)
  • Isle of the Snake People (1971 film) ([ IMDB]) - A lax police force's new captain is horrified to learn that a powerful voodoo death cult led by a shadowy priest (Boris Karloff) is terrorizing the island.
  • Sugar Hill (1974 film) (IMDB) - When the mob terrorizes a nightclub owner, she summons a Voodoo demon to fight back.
  • The Night of the Sorcerers (1974 film) (IMDB) - A team of researchers studying the mysterious disappearance of elephants in the African jungle instead discover a tribe of voodoo-zombies who rise from the groundto capture and torture women, sacrifice them, and then raise them as bloodthirsty vampires....
  • The House on Skull Mountain (1974 film) (IMDB) - Murders occur at the southern estate of a voodoo priestess when four relatives gather to hear her will.
  • Black Mamba (1974 film) (IMDB) - An American physician living in the Philippines does battle with an evil witch.
  • Revenge of the Zombies (1976 film) AKA Gou hun jiang tou (IMDB) - A Chinese remake of the 1943 Revenge of the Zombies, in which a detective assists a man who believes his deceased sister may have been poisoned by husband, who turns out to be a Nazi perfecting a way to turn the dead into an army of zombies.
  • Mirrors (1978 film) (IMDB) - A newlywed couple is horrified to discover that the wife is under a voodoo curse by a priestess who is attempting to steal her soul.
  • Phantasm (1979 franchise) - A surreal variation on the voodoo zombie movie in which group of friends, united by a string of bizarre deaths involving friends and family, discover that a sinister being from another dimension is behind the tragedies as part of a plot to raise the dead as an army of dwarf zombies and sinister killer flying metal spheres as an invasion force to conquer our world.
  • Black Devil Doll from Hell (1984 film) (IMDB) - A woman buys a doll at a magic shop. Unbeknownst to her, the doll is possessed by an evil spirit, and it proceeds to take her over.
  • Zombie Island Massacre (1984 film) (IMDB) - Americans on vacation in the Caribbean take a tour of a nearby island at night and watch a local voodoo ritual. Soon after, they find themselves stranded on the island and under attack by unseen foes. One by one they meet violent ends.
  • Angel Heart (1987 film) (IMDB) - A private investigator is hired by a man who calls himself Louis Cyphre to track down a Louisiana singer named Johnny Favorite, who seems to have been dabbling in Voodoo. But the investigation takes an unexpected and somber turn.
  • Zombie Nightmare (1987 film) (IMDB) - After a young man is killed by a gang of rampant teenagers, he is resurrected by a voodoo priestess so he can avenge his death.
  • The Believers (1987 film) (IMDB) - A New York psychiatrist finds that a brujería-inspired cult, which believes in child sacrifice, has a keen interest in his own son.
  • The Serpent and the Rainbow (1988 film) (IMDB) - An anthropologist goes to Haiti after hearing rumors about a drug used by black magic practitioners to turn people into zombies
  • Voodoo Dawn (1990 film) (IMDB) - Group of immigrant Haitian farm workers tries to fight off an evil Haitian voodoo priest who tries to kill them & use their body parts to make up a zombie army.
  • Voodoo Dolls (1991 film) (IMDB) - Students at a girls' college are terrorized by spirits that haunt the institution.
  • Voodoo (1995 film) (IMDB) - A college student must save his girlfriend from a fraternity of voodoo cultists who hope to make her a human sacrifice.
  • Eve's Bayou (1997 film) (IMDB) - After a daughter witnesses her father having an affair, she befriends a Voodoo priestess aunt and begins a chain reaction that could tear her family apart.
  • London Voodoo (2004 film) (IMDB) - Members of an ordinary family find their lives turned upside-down in a horrifying fashion when they discover a voodoo grave beneath their new house.
  • Venom (2005 film) (IMDB) - A group of teenagers fear for their lives in the swamps of Louisiana, chased by Mr. Jangles, a man possessed by 13 evil souls, and now relentless in his pursuit of new victims.
  • Skeleton Key (2005 film) (IMDB) - A hospice nurse working at a spooky New Orleans plantation home finds herself entangled in a mystery involving the house's dark past.
  • Curandero (2005 film) (IMDB) - A journey that takes one man into the bowels of black magic in Mexico City
  • Voodoo Curse - Legba's Rache (2009 film) (IMDB) - A group of teenage Goths tries to summon a voodoo god at an ancient graveyard. While being sedated through medicals and high on drugs, they get surrounded and butchered by awaking voodoo zombies.
  • Witchmaster General (2009 film) (IMDB) - An evil Voodoo Witchdoctor runs a murder-for-hire business. He'll do away with your unfaithful wife, your unappreciative boss, or your back-stabbing friend - but the price is your soul!
  • Santeria: The Soul Possessed (2011 film) (IMDB) - Supposedly based on a true story, a young boy is possessed after being cursed by a Santeria sorcerer.
  • VooDoo (2017 film) (IMDB) - A young Southern girl (Samantha Stewart) tries to get away from her increasingly complicated life but soon learns that escaping her past won't be as easy as she had hoped.

"Lovecraftian" Analysis

(TO_DO)

Note that "The Call of Cthulhu (fiction)" contained a sort of "Voodoo" cult ceremony (actually a degraded variation on the Cthulhu cult in-universe).

Associated Mythos Elements


Keeper Notes

  • Note that Keepers should probably be careful with adapting Voodoo films to RPG scenarios: the original pulpish "Hollywood Voodoo" has unfortunate implications as a distortion of a family of real-world religions (Louisiana Voodoo, Haitian Vodou, West African Vodun, the similar but unrelated Santeria, etc.)
  • The two major plots of these movies could generally be adapted to Cthulhu RPG mystery/horror with minimal changes:
    1. Someone (curious investigators, or curious victims) stumbles onto a Mythos cult ceremony, and angry cultists respond with a curse....
    2. An evil villain is using Mythos magic to raise up an army of zombie supermen to conquer the world.



General Notes

Comments, Trivia, Dedication

Synopses (SPOILERS)