WWW.SHROUDEATER.COM - DVDs: ZOMBIES & VOODOO
L'Emprise des Ténèbres - (FRENCH LANGUAGE)
So what have we got here ? It is the French language film version of the book "The Serpent and the Rainbow" by Wade Davis. A book that is meant to reveal some of the secrets of Voodoo and tells you how Zombies are made. We could have a long discussion about that. If you have not read the book, the film might be a nice introduction. And if you have read the book, it might be interesting to see how they have turned it into a film. Me, I am quite happy to take my books and DVDs any which way I find them. But I am sure that some of you may prefer the original English language version. It should not be very hard to find.
8 Discs. Judging by the titles there seems to be enough variety to keep everybody happy.
DVD 3 - "Voodoo Secrets"
Overlooking the fact that there were some rather gory scenes with animals being slaughtered in an unpleasant manner, this was quite a good film. Voodoo, we are told, is a religion. On to Benin which seems to be the place of origin. There is animal sacrifice. Loyd Auerbach reminds us: "It's not at all that different from what we do at Thanksgiving." Women are possessed by the Spirit, who is asked to punish enemies or do healing. There is rather interesting material for sale in the market place: all kinds of skulls, dried monkey heads. For extremely strong stomachs only ! In Haiti the slaves managed to hold on to their old religion and mixed it with Catholicism. New Orleans too has its bit of Voodoo as we all know. We get to see a reenactment of the original Dr. John (not the musician) preparing his Gris-Gris. And of course there is Marie Laveau - the Supreme Voodoo Queen. Nice one !
True Horror: ZOMBIES
There is Voodoo in the cemetery, armed gangs are roaming the streets at night leaving a trail of headless corpses, we get to see Haiti at its best. Voodoo priest Claude Dougé in his temple informs us that there is a distinction between astral zombies and the living dead. Anthony Head goes in search of people who can show him a real zombie, starting his search in the hotel bar. On to the voodoo cemetery and very secret rites by a very secret society: a possessed woman, the sacrifice of a cow and the drinking of blood. A woman offers to show how a corpse is turned into a zombie, for only 2000 dollar. We learn about the 4 steps of zombification: judgement, poisoning, raising the dead, and slavery. Dr. Douyon who has done DNA research on 3 zombies does not believe that they exist. But fortunately another psychiatrist finally lets us meet a real zombie. Then the film crew gets kidnapped by a gang and they decide that it is time to go home. Not a bad film, entertaining and amusing at times. But I wonder, did we learn anything new ?
History Channel, no date
Haiti, Voodoo, Zombies... We get to meet Voodoo High Priest Max Beauvoir, professor Leslie Desmangles, anthropologist Andrew Apter, ethnobotanist Wade Davis, toxocologist Bruce Halstead, and pharmacologist C.Y. Kao. Zombification as social punishment... The story of a bad man condemned by a secret tribunal. Turned into a zombie. Officially declared dead. Resurrected by a sorcerer and put to work as a slave. Escaped and returned to his village. On to the Wade Davis story that we all know. Next another zombie, a woman this time, who also returned from the grave. None of the experts seems convinced. In the end Dr. Kao expresses some serious doubts about the findings of Wade Davis. But, hey, that is his problem, not mine. Nice one though.
© 2012 by Rob Brautigam - NL - Last update May 2012
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