Sunday, July 9, 2017

Revolt of the Zombies, The Undead of Cambodia

In the 1970s, Pol Pot's Khmer Rouge swept through Cambodia's capital, Phnom Penh. The Khmer Rouge murdered a few million peaceful Cambodians to set up an anti-western civilization utopia. Anyone who Pol Pot saw as a threat, which ended up being anyone with schooling, were butchered along with their families. Fearing Pol Pot might set his sights eastward, the Vietnamese needed to act fast. Fresh from a victory over the Americans, the Vietnamese army rolled into Phnom Penh and drove the Khmer Rouge into the wilderness toward the Thai border. The 1970s were not a decade of justice and mass murderer Pol Pot was tried by the United Nations and would die peacefully under house arrest. In 1936, the horror of the killing fields had not yet occurred, but Cambodia contained another, more classic horror...zombies! Hence 1936's "Revolt of the Zombies."
Cambodian zombies at the front
To help defeat Germany in The Great War (World War 1), the French bring a brigade of Franco-Cambodian troops to fight on the border with Austria.  The Cambodians have been turned into zombie fighting machines by a demented monk and are immune to German bullets. The Cambodian undead then shred the Germans.  Realizing this battle tactic could spell doom for the human race, the French send a team to Cambodia to find the secret of the zombies and destroy it. Captain Louque (Dean Jagger) is a handsome officer on this mission who falls in love with the general's daughter, Claire (Dorothy Stone). Uh oh, after the two fall in love, Claire discards Louque for the more callous Grayson (Robert Noland). Scorned and humiliated, Louque comes up with an evil plan.
Love triangle
On his own accord, Louque sneaks in to the temple in Angkor and discovers the secret of turning men into zombies. He ends up turning all of Cambodia into his zombie slaves and threatens to kill Grayson unless Claire marries him.  As the death count mounts and a peaceful third world nation again falls to French interference, there seems no stopping Louque.  The beautiful blonde Claire has only two weapons...her sex-appeal and an undying love for the brute Grayson.
Louque turns Cambodians into zombies
Will Louque successfully harness his power over Cambodia to marry the fair Claire?  Is this film a metaphor for western European chauvenism over the free will of the fairer sex? Is this movie a pre-cursor to the anti-western sentiment in southeast Asia which led to the expelling of the French? Cambodia is a beautiful country but even today danger lurks. The remnants of the Khmer Rouge survive near the Thai border. Let us hope these fiends do not find the secrets within the temple at Angkor. For a nice companion piece to "White Zombie," enjoy "Revolt of the Zombies," directed by Victor Halperin.


  1. Sounds interesting. A zombie flick from the 30s. Didn't know they were prevalent back then. Good review.

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  3. OMG going by your review's header & reading the first few lines I thought at first that this was gonna be THE most tasteless zombie flick EVER before happily realising it's from the 30s, lol. I'm all over this one, cheers Christopher. (Deleted first comment due to omission in original comment my bad)