Cast & Crew
During World War I, a regiment of French-Cambodians arrives at the Franco-Austrian front and Priest Tsiang tells French interpreter Armand Louque the legend of the building of the ancient Vat temple in Angkor by thousands of "tireless, feelingless human machines" called zombies. Tsiang, the last descendant of priest kings who knows the secret of the occult powers that create zombies, offers to demonstrate the uses of zombie soldiers in trench warfare. His experiment works, but Austrian General von Schelling fears the zombies will destroy the white race and has Tsiang arrested. Meanwhile, General Mazovia murders Tsiang and steals the document he believes will reveal the secret formula. After the war, an international expedition for archaeological research arrives in Angkor led by General Duval. Duval's daughter Claire becomes engaged to Armand to incite the jealousy of Clifford Grayson. When Claire then breaks the engagement, Armand applies Claire's example of self-centeredness to his own search for the zombie secret and goes to the Vat temple. There he finds the formula for a hypnotic potion in hieroglyphics and, returning to the base, places his servant Buna into a state of catatonic subservience. When Mazovia arrives to steal the formula, Armand commands Buna to strangle Mazovia. Armand's fanaticism increases until he transforms hundreds of Cambodians and nearly everyone at the base into zombies and then forces Claire to marry him. The only man Armand trusts, Ignacio MacDonald, then tells Armand he will never win Claire's love by force and Armand relinquishes his powers. The freed Cambodians then storm the base and kill Armand.
G. P. Costello
J. Arthur Feindel
The eyes that are frequently superimposed on the screen are those of Bela Lugosi. They were taken from Victor Halperin's earlier film White Zombie (1932).
The working title for this film was Revolt of the Demons. This film is the sequel to the 1932 Halperin-United Artists film White Zombie (see below). According to news items in Hollywood Reporter, portions of this film were shot on location at Angkor, Indo-China. The crew, led by Chicago lawyer Harry Pritzker, was scheduled to set sail from San Francisco in late January 1936. Hollywood Reporter also noted that archaeological expert Leigh Smith would be acting as technical advisor and George Savidge, of the Chicago Art Institute, would be acting as art director. Only Smith is credited on the screen, however, and it is unclear what contribution Savidge made to the final film. According to the New York Times, story writers Howard Higgin, Rollo Lloyd and Victor Halperin wrote the screenplay for this film. The ruined ancient city of Angkor, Cambodia-a city of five square miles-was built by the Khmers from northeast Burma (now Myanmar), ca. 850-900 A.D. One mile south of the city is Angkor Vat, a rectangular temple of three stories. Following the conquest of the Khmers by the Siamese in the 14th century, the city and the temples, in ruins, were buried in the jungle. They were discovered by a French botanist in 1860. According to a February 15, 1937 news item in Film Daily, Sherman S. Krellberg Amusement Securities sued Academy Pictures and Edward and Victor Halperin for the rights to the title Revolt of the Zombies, claiming that its use infringed upon the title White Zombie, which Krellberg controlled. However, an earlier suit filed by Krellberg claiming he helped finance White Zombie had been decided in favor of Academy Pictures. A modern source credits Ray Mercer with special effects.