Black Moon

1934

Drama / Horror

6
IMDb Rating 6.0/10 10 736 736

Top cast

Fay Wray as Gail Hamilton
Cora Sue Collins as Nancy Lane
Theresa Harris as Sacrificed Girl
720p.BLU 1080p.BLU
630.16 MB
958*720
English 2.0
NR
23.976 fps
1 hr 8 min
Seeds 5
1.14 GB
1438*1080
English 2.0
NR
23.976 fps
1 hr 8 min
Seeds 34

Movie Reviews

Reviewed by Scarecrow-88 7 / 10

Black Moon

Made in the same year as White Zombie, and a few years before I Walked with a Zombie, was Black Moon, a more obscure little chiller directed by Roy William Neill(..most notable for his Sherlock Holmes movies)regarding a New York businessman's daughter in danger of being sacrificed in a voodoo ritual due to his wife's association with San Christopher island natives.

Jack Holt stars as Stephen Lane, the businessman who allows his wife, Juanita(Dorothy Burgess), along with daughter Nancy(Cora Sue Collins), nursemaid Anna(Eleanor Wesselhoeft), and secretary Gail(Fay Wray) to return to San Christopher, her homeland where she grew up under the corrupt influence of Ruva(Madame Sul-Te-Wan)and voodoo priest, Kala(Laurence Criner). Poisoned with their beliefs and power, Juanita becomes their priestess, under the spell of the voodoo drums, Nancy is to be sacrificed at the rising of the full moon. Stephen answers the wire of Gail to come to the island where danger awaits and he will join forces with Dr Raymond Perez(Arnold Korff)who runs a plantation which has been on San Christopher for generations, attempting to cull the restless, hostile natives who have started to stir away from civility due to Juanita's reemergence. Gail, as it turns out, is in love with Stephen and Juanita can no longer escape the beat of the drums, her decision to return home placing her own daughter in jeopardy.

This could be seen as possibly racist as the black natives are evil, willing to do whatever it takes in order to sacrifice someone for the full moon. Any attempt to get Juanita off of the island, or to fight against their influence is met with murder. Anna, who voices her anger towards Ruva when she attempts to nursemaid Nancy, for instance, is found dead in a lava pit nearby the plantation. A message operator, who sends word by wire to other locations, is found hung. Juanita actually attempts to drug Stephen and somewhat willingly offers her daughter(..this is where she actually fights against the voodoo curse which summons her)for potential sacrifice. A revolt entraps Stephen, Perez, Gail, and Nancy in a tower, along with McClaren(Clarence Muse), a black shipboat captain who lost his girlfriend to a sacrificial voodoo ceremony..this ceremony, establishing the frightening lengths the natives would go to appease whatever god they serve, is disturbed by Stephen who attempts to stop the sacrifice by shooting Kala. The suspense is surprisingly built well, using the voodoo drums, often heard in the background, as a constant presence to unnerve the viewer, recognizing the threat and how real it is to the lives of those foreign to the island(..not to mention, Perez, whose death would, in turn, release the natives to overtake San Christopher). Interesting is how the natives are shown in a negative light, but if one dwells on their oppression(..the island being occupied by white man Perez who abusively barks at the natives when they host a welcome party for Juanita)you can see why they would seek to rebel against Perez. Fascinating portrayal by Burgess, her Juanita wrestling with feelings towards both sides, eventually motivated towards the natives and their voodoo, unable to resist. Wray is simply lovely in a supporting role, a kind-hearted soul who wards off her devotion and love for Stephen, her accepting the trip to San Christopher as a favor to him actually saving Nancy's life due to her message for him to come to the island. Some striking B&W photography, including some stunning shots of Burgess, her face emoting the pull of the natives' power. A curio for fans of movies about voodoo and it's use as a weapon..not quite as atmospheric as White Zombie or I Walked with a Zombie, but has it's moments.

Reviewed by Bunuel1976 7 / 10

BLACK MOON (Roy William Neill, 1934) ***

Until only a few months ago, I had never even heard of this one – despite the involvement of director Roy William Neill (THE BLACK ROOM [1935]) and the era's foremost "Scream Queen" Fay Wray! Interestingly, it supplies the logical bridge between the distinctive Gothic and psychological backdrops of the two most notable early voodoo-related films – namely WHITE ZOMBIE (1932) and I WALKED WITH A ZOMBIE (1943). The atmosphere here is similarly thick, without the need to resort to an actual prowling or possessed creature: indeed, having the lady concerned – very well played by Dorothy Burgess – actively believe in the power of voodoo (that is, until she sees the error of her ways on being asked to perform the ultimate sacrifice!), provides the biggest chill in this case! Incidentally, the two central female characters (with Wray being, naturally, the wide-eyed heroine) not only create the requisite contrast but make up for the rather uninteresting male lead – burly Jack Holt! Perhaps not a classic of the genre, then, but a perfect example of "a film that has fallen through the cracks"; in fact, the copy I acquired is a hazy VHS-sourced recording of an old TCM screening.

Reviewed by bru-5 7 / 10

Intriguing obscurity

This film proves that a decent retrospective of the films of Roy William Neill is long overdue. A forgotten horror movie of real merit, BLACK MOON is obscure enough not to be listed in Halliwell's Film Guide but of sufficient interest to have played in New York's Film Forum a couple of years back (where I first saw it on a double billed with ZOMBIES OF MORA TAU!) The plot is right out of "Conjure Wife" with a slight foreshadowing of I WALKED WITH A ZOMBIE. A New York socialite (Dorothy Burgess) is haunted by her childhood memories of being brought up by a voodoo priestess in Haiti. Her hope is to free herself from the past by confronting it outright but her plan proves disastrous. Returning to the island, she is promptly elevated to the status of a white goddess among the natives and is soon participating in human sacrifices, eventually plotting against her husband and infant daughter.

I have to admit my enthusiasm for this movie isn't shared by others in my immediate movie circle. The major flaw is that Burgess' transformation into a jungle high priestess is simply glossed over in the script. Indeed, she's off-screen for the better part of the movie. Instead the film focuses on the budding romance of Jack Holt as the harried husband and his secretary (that she's played by Fay Wray is at least a consolation). Still the film works up to an ominous mood, creating a palpable hothouse atmosphere as voodoo drums beat steadily on the soundtrack.

The film played on Turner Classic Movie many years back and is, presumably, in limited circulation. It's dated racial attitudes undoubtedly won't help it get the wider distribution it deserves. It's safe to say that a DVD release is unlikely but the film is worth tracking down.

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