I Walked with a Zombie

1943 film by Jacques Tourneur

I Walked with a Zombie is a 1943 horror movie directed by Jacques Tourneur. It was the second horror movie from producer Val Lewton for RKO Pictures. The movie stars Frances Dee as Betsy Connell, Christine Gordon as Jessica Holland, and Tom Conway as Paul Holland.

I Walked with a Zombie
Directed byJacques Tourneur
Written byCurt Siodmak
Ardel Wray
Based onI Walked with a Zombie
by Inez Wallace
Produced byVal Lewton
StarringFrances Dee
Tom Conway
Christine Gordon
Narrated byFrances Dee
CinematographyJ. Roy Hunt
Edited byMark Robson
Music byRoy Webb
Distributed byRKO Radio Pictures
Release date
  • March 17, 1943 (1943-03-17)
Running time
69 minutes
CountryUnited States

The story is about a nurse named Betsy who is hired to care for Jessica, the wife of plantation manager Paul Holland. Jessica has a mental paralysis as a result of fever. Betsy determines to cure Jessica even if she needs to use voodoo.

Officially, the movie was based on an article written by Inez Wallace for American Weekly Magazine. Lewton asked his writers to use Charlotte Brontë's Jane Eyre for giving the story a narrative structure.[1][2]

I Walked with a Zombie was declared to be "a dull, disgusting exaggeration of an unhealthy, abnormal concept of life" by The New York Times in 1943.[3] Critics later called it "intelligent",[4] "exceptional",[5] and "the most elegant" in Lewton's RKO horror series.[6]


  1. "Focusfeatures.com". Archived from the original on 2011-09-27. Retrieved 2013-05-23.
  2. TCM.com
  3. Review in The New York Times, April 22, 1943
  4. William K. Everson: Classics of the Horror Film. The Citadel Press, 1974.
  5. Leonard Maltin's 2008 Movie Guide. Signet/Penguin Group, 2007.
  6. Time Out Film Guide, Seventh Edition 1999. Penguin Group, 1998.

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