Fractured Reasons and Fractured Reason in I Walked with a Zombie


  • Michael Lee University of Oklahoma
  • Sarah Reichardt Ellis University of Oklahoma



Roy Webb, LeRoy Antoine, Chopin, doubling, horror films


I Walked with a Zombie, a poetic horror film from 1943, enjoys widespread and intense admiration of a sort rarely bestowed on a “B” horror film from the studio era. Robin Wood (2003) sees the film as the genre’s finest and has observed that its treatment of the genre’s signal dichotomy of Superstition vs. Reason results in a series of expressive doublings within the film. This article amplifies Wood’s admiration by examining the film’s approach to music. Its soundtrack features the work of two composers. RKO’s Roy Webb offers the Western perspective of Reason while Haitian musician LeRoy Antoine provides the Caribbean perspective associated with Voodooism. By looking at the musical doublings in the film, this article argues that music functions in the film to further dismantle the posture of Reason. This film, more than any the author can think of from the era, criticizes the colonial project and dismantles the Western notion that any single perspective or explanatory model can lead to a sufficient understanding of human affairs.


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How to Cite

Lee, M., & Reichardt Ellis, S. (2022). Fractured Reasons and Fractured Reason in I Walked with a Zombie. Journal of Film Music, 10(2), 69–80.