September 30, 2009

Zombies: When the Dead Walk (Toronto Screening)

Zombies: When the Dead Walk is a documentary written and directed by Donna Zuckerbrot that promises to explore where our pop-culture depictions of zombies came from by investigating the case of Hatiti's most famous "zombie": Clairvius Narcisse.

You can catch a Halloween double-bill screening of Zombies: When the Dead Walk with another documentary (The Houdini Code) at the Royal Cinema (608 College St. West) on Thursday, October 29th @ 7:00 pm.

Official press release after the jump!

For Immediate Release: Monday September 21, 2009

A Special Halloween Documentary Double Bill

The Houdini Code
Zombies: When the Dead Walk

Two very spooky stories from Donna Zuckerbrot and Reel Time Images:
Thursday, October 29th 7:00 pm

The Royal Cinema 608 College St. West

The Houdini Code
(48 minutes)

The great Houdini died on Halloween 1926. The circumstances that led to his untimely death still remain a mystery.

Did the great escape artist manage to escape from the bonds of the grave?

Ever since his death, séances are held on Halloween to see if contact can be made and this strange story resolved.

Harry Houdini, the greatest magician and escape artist of all time was also known for exposing fraudulent mediums. After his death, Bess Houdini announced that she had received a message from Houdini. She quickly recanted, claiming to have been the victim of fraud. Now a century later Houdini's fame is undiminished, but even the memory of what may have been his greatest trick has all but disappeared. What really happened? How did this extraordinary story simply vanish from history?

Harry Houdini died from a ruptured appendix on Halloween, 1926. Three years later, his widow Bess claimed that the medium Arthur Ford had come to her with a message from beyond. And that message was in an unbreakable code known only to Houdini and herself. Was it proof, at last that the living could speak to the dead? This documentary chronicles the extraordinary life of Harry Houdini – the son of an immigrant rabbi from Hungary who became a legendary magician – and recalls a strange, forgotten chapter of the Houdini saga that unfolded after his death.

Harry Houdini was traumatized by the loss of his beloved mother in 1913, and wished fervently to believe in the possibility of communication with the afterlife. But he was appalled by the trickery of self-styled psychic mediums and their exploitation of the grief-stricken. He dedicated himself to debunking such charlatans (a crusade that cost Houdini his friendship with Sherlock Holmes creator Arthur Conan Doyle, an ardent believer in Spiritualism).

When Bess proclaimed the message relayed by Arthur Ford to be genuine, it naturally caused a sensation. But was it really Houdini speaking from the grave? Or was his troubled widow taking part, wittingly or not, in a colossal fraud? And what of Houdini’s sudden death itself? Had his enemies set a trap from which not even the master magician could escape?

Directed and Written by: Donna Zuckerbrot
Executive Producers/Producers: Donna and Daniel Zuckerbrot

Zombies: When the Dead Walk
(48 minutes)

Zombies are part of pop culture, but what are they? Where do they come from?
How can we ever be free of the curse of the living dead?
To find real zombies we will have to go quite a ways from Hollywood and its pop culture offshoots.

In Haiti, Zombies are an integral part of the island’s cultural and religious roots. Outlawed by the government, zombification is said to be performed secretly in the countryside. It’s meant as a punishment for crimes against the community. The culprit is magically killed, resurrected and enslaved.

This documentary investigates the most famous case of a Zombie in Haiti,
the story of Clairvius Narcisse. Narcisse died in 1962, was buried by his
family only to resurface again in 1980 with stories of sorcerers, poison
and slavery. It not only provoked much speculation in Haiti but intrigued researchers in the rest of the world. In 1981, author and anthropologist
Wade Davis set out on a journey to learn the secret of the mysterious
Zombie poison and some would say he found it. His adventures were the inspiration of Wes Craven’s horror classic, The Serpent and the Rainbow.

Director Donna Zuckerbrot, takes a look at the practice of Voodoo, examines advances in psychopharmacology, and zombies in popular culture. It’s a surreal mix of religion, science and fun in Zombies: “When the Dead Walk”.

Directed and Written by: Donna Zuckerbrot
Executive Producers/Producers: Donna and Daniel Zuckerbrot

Zombies: When the Dead Walk, and The Houdini Code airing in December on HDNet.

Reel Time Images’ award winning documentaries include, Soferet: A
Special Scribe, Aleister Crowley: The Beast 666, and The Life and Strange
Genius of Stewart James.

Currently in production are documentaries on the future of nuclear power and the real state of the forensic sciences. Reel Time is also working on ‘Healed!’ a documentary that explores miracle cures, placebo and spontaneous remission and ‘The Numbers Game’ an investigation into how polls, pundits and spin doctors shape our world.

Screeners are available upon request. Interviews are presently being confirmed
For media information and queries, please contact:
For media information and queries, please contact:

Reel Time Images – Josh Zuckerbrot

T: 416.993.5796 E: