THE WALKING DEAD (1936) Reviews and overview

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The Walking Dead is a 1936 American horror feature film directed by Michael Curtiz and starring Boris Karloff. It was distributed by Warner Bros. Pictures.


John Elman (Boris Karloff) has been framed for murder by a gang of racketeers. He is unfairly tried and despite the fact that his innocence has been proven, he is sent to the electric chair and executed. But Doctor Evan Beaumont (Edmund Gwenn) retrieves his dead body and revives it, as part of his experiments to reanimate a dead body.

Doctor Beaumont’s use of a mechanical heart to revive the patient foreshadows modern medicine’s mechanical heart to keep patients alive during surgery. Interestingly, although John Elman has no direct knowledge of anyone wishing to frame him for the murder before he is executed, he seems to have an innate sense of knowing those who are responsible after he is revived. Elman takes no direct action against his framers, and in the end it is their own guilt that causes their deaths.


“The film is an amazing melding of disparate components, part horror, part science fiction, part crime drama and part religious allegory, which somehow blend perfectly to make up what is arguably the last great film of the first wave of American horror.” And You Call Yourself a Scientist!

“Effective, entertaining, and remarkably original, The Walking Dead is definitely another of those lesser known films from the 30s that get overshadowed by the classic movies done by Universal Studios despite being as good (or probably better) than most of them.” W-Cinema

“With his hallow cheeks and mournful look Karloff makes an effecting brain dead zombie that will keep haunting you long after the film’s short running time ends.” Twenty Four Frames

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