Plot: Ace Miller (Sheldon Leonard) is about to open his new night club, The Zombie Hut and he has spared no expense to promote the grand opening. He even has a dynamite, surefire draw to lure in the crowds, as he has arranged to have a zombie at the club, as in a real life zombie. This was promised by press agents Jerry (Wally Brown) and Mike (Alan Carney), but now that the time has come to deliver, they’re in a panic and need to find a solution. A trip to the museum gets them a lead, one which takes them far from the big city and to the island of San Sebastian, where a scientist was looking into zombies and might have answers. Dr. Renault (Bela Lugosi) is an odd duck, but seems to have the key to the real zombification process, but can Jerry and Mike make it off the island with a zombie of their own?
Entertainment Value: As you can likely tell from the title, Zombies on Broadway is a goofball b movie and while it relies on bad jokes, if you appreciate this kind of zaniness, it is a brisk, fun watch. The story is outlandish, with two bumbling press agents sent to a tropical island in search of Bela Lugosi, but it does what it needs to, which is set up all kinds of hokey humor and voodoo thrills. This is about zombies and there is some voodoo, as well as eerie looking zombies, but by no means a horror film by any stretch of the imagination. The movie is like dusted off vaudeville style jokes, dialed up to high levels of lunacy and delivered in over the top fashion. The dialogue is groaner jokes and one liners, while the film also has some pratfalls and sight gags, so for what it is, a nice blend of humor elements. As I said, this is not sharp, insightful material, so if you don’t have a taste for bad jokes and ham handed performances, you’ll not likely see much of the charm I found here. I’d recommend it to fans of Lugosi, dad jokes, and silly, brisk comedies. At under 70 minutes, Zombies on Broadway isn’t a demanding movie and has some fun moments.
The cast here doesn’t have the sharpest script to work with, so they punch up the lame jokes with ham fisted performances. This approach isn’t going to dazzle everyone, but I think it reaches a certain level of so groan inducing, it inspires some laughs. This feels like a lot of the lower tier comedies of this era, with an emphasis on over the top reactions and a simple, now very dated sense of humor. So no one will mistake Alan Carney and Wally Brown for an all time comedy duo, but they’re so silly at times and their enthusiasm is obvious. So at least they go for it and try to squeeze some laughs out of the material, no matter how foolish they seem in the process. I appreciate that kind of energetic approach and it does at least add some b movie type humor, even if more traditional viewers might not be bowled over. Bela Lugosi is by no means the center of the movie, but he has a fun entrance and hams it up as well, so his fans should appreciate his effort here. He does have a few scenes as well, so it isn’t a glorified cameo, but a solid role. The cast also includes Anne Jeffreys, Frank Jenks, Sheldon Leonard, and Joseph Vitale.