A nurse tending a paralysed woman on a Caribbean island discovers that her charge hides a terrifying secret. Starring Frances Dee and Tom Conway.
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I walked with a zombie. SHE LAUGHS
Does seem an odd thing to say.
Had anyone said that to me a year ago,
I'm not at all sure I would have known what a zombie was.
I might have had some notion that they were strange and frightening,
even a little funny.
-It all began in such an ordinary way...
Where were you trained?
Memorial Hospital, here in Ottawa.
Now, this last question's a little irregular, Miss Connell.
I don't know quite how to begin. Do you believe in witchcraft?
Well...! They didn't teach it at Memorial Hospital,
-but I had my suspicions about the Directress of Training.
-Now, as to salary. It's quite good.
-200 a month.
-That is good. I'd like to know a little bit more about the case.
-I can't tell you much.
-The patient is the wife of Mr Paul Holland, with whom we do much business.
This is quite final. You see, Mr Holland is a sugar planter. He lives on St Sebastian in the West Indies.
-The West Indies?
-That's not so bad. Sit under a palm tree,
go swimming, take sun baths.
CREW CHANTS "O Marie Congo"
'It seemed only a few days before I met Mr Holland in Antigua.
'We boarded the boat for St Sebastian. It was all just as I'd imagined it.
'I looked at those great, glowing stars. I felt the warm wind on my cheek.
'I breathed deep, and every bit of me inside myself said, "How beautiful!" '
It's not beautiful...
You read my thoughts, Mr Holland.
It's easy to read the thoughts of a newcomer. Everything seems beautiful because you don't understand.
Those flying fish - they're not leaping for joy. They're jumping in terror.
Bigger fish want to eat them. That luminous water - it takes its gleam
from millions of tiny dead bodies. The glitter of putrescence.
There's no beauty here. Only death and decay.
You can't really believe that.
Everything good dies here...
even the stars...
'It was strange to have him break in on my thoughts. There was cruelty and hardness in his voice.
'And yet something about him I liked.
'Something clean and honest.
'But hurt. Badly hurt.'
Times gone, Fort Holland was a fort, and now, no longer.
Holland's a most old family, miss.
They brought the coloured folks to the island.
-The coloured folks and Ti-Misery.
-Ti-Misery? What's that?
A man, miss. An old man who lives in the garden at Fort Holland,
-with arrows stuck in him and a sorrowful, weeping look on his black face.
No, miss. He's just the same as he was in the beginning. On the front side of an enormous boat.
-You mean a figurehead.
-If you say, miss. And the enormous boat brought the Long Ago Fathers
and the Long Ago Mothers of us all, chained to the bottom of the boat.
They brought to you to a beautiful place, didn't they?
If you say, miss. If you say.
Fort Holland. From the gate, it seemed strangely dream-like.
The garden had life of its own. I was to know all the nooks and crannies of that great house.
To love them or hate them according to what happened there...
In that house, I was to hear a strange confession.
A confession only madness could have wrung from the lips of a sane person.
And yet it was in the same room with the candles lit that I made the discovery of my own love.
Knew happiness, deep through the heart.
My room. I can still remember my delight.
Unpacking, getting ready for dinner.
And yet all the while, I wondered at the stillness of Fort Holland.
The fact that I saw no-one on the garden paths or in the rooms.
-Miss Connell? It's dinner.
Oh, thank you.
-I'm Wesley Rand.
Paul wanted me to introduce myself.
Seems we're dining by ourselves, Miss Connell. But I'll introduce you to everyone anyway.
Here in the master's chair sits the master, my half-brother Paul Holland.
-Oh, but you've met him already?
-Yes. On the boat.
-That chair in the corner is the particular property
of Mrs Rand, mother to both of us, and much too good for either of us.
-Too wise, in fact, to live under the same roof. She prefers the village dispensary.
-Oh, she's a doctor?
-She just runs the place. She does everything else though. An amazing woman. You'd like her.
-I do already!
-That's my chair. And this is Miss Connell, who is beautiful.
-Thank you. Who sits there?
My brother's wife.
Here, here, this isn't cosy at all.
Makes me seem aloof, and I'm anything but that.
-But you're an American.
-I went to school in Buffalo. Paul went to school in England.
Well, I wondered about your different accents. I'm still wondering about your names - Rand and Holland.
We're half-brothers. Paul is mother's first child.
When his father died, she married my father. Doctor Rand, the missionary.
The jungle drums.
That's the work drum over at the sugar mill. St Sebastian's version of the factory whistle.
It means that the sugar syrup is about ready to be poured. I'm afraid you'll have to excuse me.
-Nice of you to spend this time with me.
-I wasn't missed. The only important man here's the owner.
-Yes, the redoubtable Paul.
-He has the plantation and I, as you must have noticed, have all the charm.
-Oh, I don't know.
-He spoke to me on the boat last night and I liked him very much.
-Ah, yes. Our Paul.
Strong and silent and very sad.
Quite the Byronic character. Maybe I should cultivate it.
-Maybe you ought to go to the mill.
I was just going to the mill.
-Good night, Miss Connell.
-Have the servants made you comfortable?
-Yes, thank you.
-Looks very nice, Clement. I'll take it to Mrs Holland.
-Can't I take it for you?
-No, thank you.
Tomorrow's soon enough for you to start work.
BETSY: Mrs Holland?
I didn't mean to get you up, Mrs Holland.
-Take Mrs Holland to her room, Alma.
-Come, Miss Jessica. Come with Alma.
I heard someone crying. A woman.
-A woman crying? There's been no crying here.
Yes, there was crying tonight. It was Alma.
-Her sister was brought a-birthing.
-Thank you, Clement.
(Clement? I'm gonna stay with Miss Jessica in case the nurse-lady takes to roamin' again.)
-(Don't cry no more. It frightened Miss Betsy.)
-She didn't sooth me, hollering around in the tower!
-Why was the maid crying?
-I'm not sure I can make you understand.
Do you know what this is?
-The figure of St Sebastian.
But it was once the figurehead of a slave ship.
That's where our people came from. From the misery and pain of slavery.
For generations, they found life a burden.
That's why they still weep when a child is born, and make merry at a burial.
I've told you, Miss Connell, this is a sad place.
Good morning, miss.
Thank you for waking me.
I didn't want to frighten you out of your sleep. That's why I touched you farthest from your heart.
Oh, don't get up, miss.
I brought your breakfast. Just like I do for Miss Jessica.
-But I'm Miss Jessica's nurse, Alma. You don't have to do that for me.
-I know, miss. But I like to do it.
I like to tend for Miss Jessica and I want to tend for you. Settle back, and I'll make sure you're comfy.
-Miss Jessica used to say this is the only way for a lady to break her fast -
in bed, with a lacy cushion to bank her head up. If you'd only seen her, Miss Connell. She looked so pretty.
She must have been beautiful. What happened to her, Alma?
She was very sick and then she went mindless, miss.
Well, we'll see if we can't make her well, Alma. You and I.
I do my best - every day I dress her just as beautifully as if she was well.
It's just like dressing a great big doll.
-A puff-up, I call it.
But Miss Jessica always says "brioche".
Looks like a lot of breakfast. I don't know if I'll get away with it!
-I made it clear in my letter. This is not for a frightened girl.
-I'm not a frightened girl.
-That's hard to believe after what happened last night.
-If I were as timid as you think, Mr Holland,
-I wouldn't have gone to the tower in the first place.
-And what's so alarming about the tower?
Nothing really, but... You must admit, it's an eerie sort of place.
-Surely nurses aren't afraid of the dark?
-Of course not.
Well, I used to be afraid of the dark when I was a child, but I'm not afraid any more.
Frankly, it was something of a shock to see my patient that way for the first time.
Nobody had told me Mrs Holland was... a mental case.
-A mental case?
Why should you be? My wife is a mental case.
Please remember that, Miss Connell.
Particularly when some of the foolish people on the island start regaling you with local legends.
You'll find superstition a contagious thing.
Some people let it get the better of them.
I don't think you will.
Come along. I'll introduce you to Dr Maxwell and your patient.
-I can't tell you how glad I am to have you here, Miss Connell.
-I'll enjoy working with you, Doctor.
I have an enormous respect for nurses, but most of them scare me.
-I feel them behind my back, looking at their training manuals, noting my mistakes.
-I'll keep tabs on you.
She makes a beautiful zombie, doesn't she?
I knew Jessica. We were friends.
-Sometimes it's better for a doctor to laugh than pull a long face when things are hopeless.
-Yes, I know.
But I don't know about zombies, Doctor. Just what is a zombie?
A ghost, the living dead.
It's also a drink.
-I tried one once. But there wasn't anything dead about it.
-We've a more serious problem, Miss Connell.
-You want to know about your patient, don't you?
I'll try to put it simply.
Mrs Holland had a tropical fever.
We might say that portions of the spinal cord were burned out by this fever.
The result is what you see. A woman without any willpower.
-Unable to speak or even act by herself, though she will obey simple commands.
-Does she suffer?
I don't know. I'd rather think of her as a sleepwalker who can never be awakened.
Feeling nothing, knowing nothing.
There's very little we can do except keep her physically comfortable,
-light diet, some exercise.
-She can never be cured?
I've never heard of a cure.
Could you give me some details of treatment and diet?
I prepared these for you last night.
I'll drop by in a day or so to see how you're getting on.
You didn't find your patient so frightening in the daylight, did you?
Mrs Holland must have been very beautiful.
Many people thought her beautiful.
Tell me, Miss Connell. Do you consider yourself pretty?
-I don't know. I suppose so.
-I've never given it much thought.
You'll save yourself a great deal of trouble and other people a great deal of unhappiness.
Betsy! Where are you going?
-It's my day off.
-What can you do with a day off in St Sebastian?
-I was just beginning to wonder.
-Aren't there shops, restaurants and things here?
-"And things" is a better description. I'll show you the town.
-Don't you have to work?
-By a curious coincidence, it's my day off, too.
# Some talk of Alexander
# And some of Hercules
# Of Hector and Lysander And such as these
# But of all the world's great heroes
-# There's none that can compare... #
-Say, Joseph. Bring me another. I have to keep the lady entertained.
-Must be hard work entertaining me if it requires six ounces of rum.
-Two ounces to a drink, three drinks, six ounces.
-Well, how did you know there were two ounces in a drink?
I'm a nurse. I always watch people when they pour something.
I watched Ti-Joseph and it was exactly two ounces.
# There was a family that lived on the isle Of St Sebastian a long, long while
# The head of the fam'ly was a Holland man
# And the younger brother, his name was Rand
# Ah, woe! Ah, me... Shame and sorrow for the family... #
-Did I tell you the story about the little mule on the plantation?
-Wait a minute, I want to hear this.
# The Holland man, he kept in a tower A wife as pretty as a white flower
# She saw the brother and she stole his heart...
# And that's how the badness and the trouble start... #
Ti-Malice, why do you wish trouble on me? You saw Mr Rand go in there. Why don't you tell me?
Apologize...that's what I'll do. Creep in just like a little fox and warm myself in his heart.
I wouldn't have listened, Wesley, if I'd realized. I...
-Mr Rand? I've come to apologize.
Just an old song I picked up somewhere.
-Don't know who did make it up.
-All right. All right.
Some of these singers on this island, they tattle-tale on anybody. Believe me, Mr Rand,
-I never would sing that song if I'd known you were with a lady.
-Get out of here!
Don't let it bother you so, Wesley.
You heard what he sang.
-I just wish I hadn't heard.
-Why? Everybody else knows it.
Paul saw to that. Sometimes I think he planned the whole thing from the beginning just to watch me squirm.
-That doesn't sound like him.
-That's right. He's playing the noble husband for you, isn't he?
Well, that won't last long.
I think we'd better go now. Will you take me home?
One of these days he'll start on you, just like he did on her.
"You think life's beautiful, don't you, Jessica?
"You think you're beautiful, don't you, Jessica?"
What he could do to that word "beautiful"...
That's Paul's great weapon, words.
He uses them like other men use their fists.
Wes, it's time we started home.
# The wife and the brother They want to go
# But the Holland man, he tell them no
# The wife fall down and the evil came
-# And it burned her mind in the fever flame. Ah, woe! Ah, me... #
-We must get back to Fort Holland.
# Shame and sorrow for the family
# Her eyes are empty and she cannot talk
# And a nurse has come to make her walk
# The brothers are lonely and the nurse is young
# And now you must see that my song is sung
# Ah, woe! Ah, me!
# Shame and sorrow for the family!
# Ah, woe! Ah, me! Shame and sorrow for the family! #
-I think you need some help.
-I'm afraid so.
Get Mr Rand on to his horse and start him toward the fort.
-Oh, but he's in no condition to ride. He couldn't even sit in the saddle.
-Don't worry about a sugar planter.
Give him a horse and he'll ride to his own funeral.
I really intended going out to the fort and meeting you long before this, Miss Connell.
I am Mrs Rand, Wesley's mother.
-Oh, Mrs Rand...
-Now, don't tell me you're sorry that I should meet you this way.
I'm even a little glad that Wesley's difficulties brought us together.
-Believe me, he doesn't do this often. It's...
-Nonsense. I know Wesley's been drinking too much lately.
I know a great deal more about what goes on at the fort than you'd think.
And I know all about you.
That you're a nice girl. Competent.
And kind to Jessica.
The fort needs a girl like you.
Come, I must get you back there.
I'll walk back with you and stay the night.
The change will do me good.
Thank you, Mrs Rand.
I think you're every bit as nice as Wesley says you are.
So, he says I'm nice?
He's a nice boy, too, Miss Connell.
A very nice boy. I'm worried about his drinking though.
-You could do me a great favour.
-I'd love to.
Use your influence with Paul.
Ask him to take the whisky decanter off the dinner table.
-I have no influence with Mr Holland.
-Try it. You may have more than you think.
No, it's not a drought, Bayard.
-Rain's just a little late, that's all.
-I've seen the drought before, Mr Holland.
Cane's too dry. It's dangerous that way.
I heard about your little misadventure yesterday. On your first day off, too.
Oh, I had a good time, up to a point.
-Wesley can be very entertaining.
-Yes, he can. But I was wondering.
-If you could leave the whisky decanter off the table...
-It's always stood there, Miss Connell.
I can remember it in my grandfather's time. And my father's.
But it must be an added temptation to Wesley. And... though your brother's not an alcoholic yet, Mr Holland,
-I can tell you as a nurse that it won't be long.
-I engaged you to take care of my wife, not my brother.
I'm afraid the decanter will have to stay where it is.
DISTANT HORNS AND DRUMS
There they go.
Bayard told me they were going to ask Damballa for rain.
Fields are dry as dust.
But what is it, Mr Holland?
It's a big seashell. A conch.
They make a sort of bugle out of it to call the faithful to the Houmfort.
-But I don't know what a Houmfort is. Or a Damballa.
-It's voodoo. The Houmfort is the temple.
-And Damballa is one of the gods. The big Papa God.
-You don't seem very disturbed by it.
-I thought voodoo was something everyone was frightened of.
-I'm afraid it's not very frightening.
They sing and dance and carry on.
And then, as I understand it, one of the gods comes down and speaks through one of the people.
For some reason, they always pick a night like this.
This hot wind even sets me on edge.
Clement. You've forgotten the decanter.
-I think from now on, Wes, we'll try serving dinner without it.
-That's odd. What are you trying to do?
-Impress Miss Connell?
-You'd make a better impression without whisky.
-Thank you. You've always had such tender concern for me. And for Jessica.
-Let's drop it, Wes.
-It isn't considered polite to quarrel before ladies.
-Oh, I see.
Reserved and gentlemanly. You were so reserved and gentlemanly, so polite that night with Jessica.
Miss Connell, I think it would be better if I had Clement bring the rest of your dinner to your room.
PIANO PLAYS Chopin's E Minor Etude
-I heard you playing. I...
-I often do.
I know what you went through tonight.
I kept thinking of what you said.
That all good things died here, violently.
Why did you come in here?
I don't know.
I wanted to help you and now that I'm here, I don't know how.
You have helped me.
I want you to know that I'm sorry I ever brought you here.
When I thought of a nurse, I thought of someone hard and impersonal.
I love Fort Holland.
And what you saw tonight...
Two brothers set against each other and a woman driven mad by her own husband... Do you love that?
You didn't drive her mad.
Before Jessica was taken ill,
there was a scene.
An ugly scene.
I told her she couldn't go. That I'd keep her here by force if necessary.
You never knew Jessica as she was.
I think it will be best for all of us not to discuss this again.
Thank you. I know you meant to be kind.
I don't know how their own love is revealed to other women.
Maybe in their sweethearts' arms, I don't know.
To me, it came that night after Paul Holland had almost thrust me from the room.
Certainly from his life.
I said, I love him.
Even as I said it, I knew he still loved his wife.
And then because I loved him, I felt I had to restore her to him.
To make her what she'd been before.
To make him happy.
All that you say comes to the same thing.
You're asking me to pass a sentence of life or death on my wife.
Insulin shock treatment is an extreme measure, as Miss Connell pointed out when she suggested it...
-You admit that this is terribly dangerous. Why do you advise it?
-I worked with it. I've seen cures.
-It's at least a hope.
-It's the very danger itself, Paul, that makes the cure possible.
Insulin produces a state of coma.
Then the patient is revived by a violent shock to the nerves.
That shock can kill, but it can also cure.
-I don't know.
-It's a hard decision to make.
-But yours is only a technical responsibility.
-Technical responsibility, real responsibility.
Question is, will she live or die?
You're wrong, Mr Holland. It isn't a question of life or death.
Your wife isn't living. She's...
She's in a world that's empty of joy and meaning.
We have a chance to give her life back to her.
-She's alive. That's all.
-Don't take it so much to heart, Betsy.
-I imagined it so differently.
I've been waiting for hours, trying to imagine Jessica well again.
And I come bringing you nothing.
Instead, you come bringing me sympathy, Betsy. And a generous heart.
Don't forget that. Don't call that nothing.
The noble husband and the noble nurse comforting each other cos the patient still lives.
I've been imagining, too, Paul.
Only I didn't have to wonder how I'd feel.
I'm not in love with another woman.
THEY GIGGLE Look at his little face!
Oh, I'm sorry, Miss Betsy.
I'll take it right away.
Oh, that's all right, Alma. Oh, is this your sister's baby?
Yes, Miss Betsy. This is little Ti-Victor and my sister Melisse.
Oh, I'm so glad I came out. I've been wanting to meet you, Melisse.
-More so, miss.
-Oh, he's a wonderful baby. Beautiful.
-He's chosen you, miss.
-That's what we say, Miss Betsy, when a baby first goes visiting.
-Those he smiles at will be his friends.
-That makes me very proud.
That's so you won't forget I'm your friend.
Thanks, Miss Betsy!
It's nice to see people so happy.
-They're not always happy, Miss Betsy.
-I suppose not.
Things so bad, nobody can help.
-Not even Dr Maxwell.
-Doctors and nurses can only do so much, Alma. They can't cure everything.
-Doctors that are people can't cure everything.
-"Doctors that are people"?
There are other doctors. Yes?
Other doctors. Better doctors.
-At the Houmfort.
That's nonsense, Alma.
They even cure nonsense, Miss Betsy.
Mama Rose was mindless.
I was at the Houmfort when the Houngan brought her mind back.
Was Mama Rose like Mrs Holland?
No. She was mindless, but not like Miss Jessica.
But the Houngan cured her.
Are you trying to tell me the voodoo priest could cure Mrs Holland?
Yes, Miss Betsy. I mean that. The Houngan will speak to the rada drums
and the drums will speak to Legba and Damballa. Better doctors.
Ti-Peter, how do you ever expect to get to Heaven
with one foot in the voodoo Houmfort and the other in the church?
Ah, get along with ya.
Some of this native nonsense. The Houngan has his prescription and Dr Maxwell and I have ours.
-You never talked about voodoo before, Mrs Rand.
I suppose I take it for granted.
Just part of everyday life here.
-You don't believe in it?
-A missionary's widow? Isn't very likely, is it?
Well, I don't mean "believe in it" like believing in a religion.
I mean, do you believe it has power?
Do you think it could cure a sick person?
Frankly, my dear, I didn't expect anything like that from a nice level-headed girl like you.
-What are you driving at?
-I heard the servants talking about Mama Rose.
She said she'd been "mindless".
Her son drowned.
It affected her mind.
The Houngan cured her by giving her a little practical psychology.
What if I took Jessica to see him?
You don't know what goes on at the Houmfort. It might be very dangerous to take her there.
Dangerous for both of you. These people are primitive.
Things that are natural to them might shock and horrify you.
I'm not easily frightened.
That may be the pity of it.
I'm going to the Houmfort, Alma.
You go right from the mill to a sign in the cane.
Here, you turn and face a tree on the hill.
Walk toward it and keep walking.
Keep walking, Miss Betsy and you come to the crossroads.
There's a guard there, Carre-Four.
He keeps the crossroads.
But he won't do you no harm when he sees the voodoo patches.
He'll let you pass.
DISTANT DRUMS AND HORNS
CHANTING, DRUMS GET LOUDER
CHANTING GETS LOUDER
-Where are my people? Let them bring the rice cakes. Dance and be happy.
Damballa, this woman is ill.
-I knew you'd come.
I couldn't let you go back without something. I came here to tell you again... Jessica cannot be cured.
What are you doing here?
And when my husband died, I was helpless. They disobeyed me.
And, accidentally, I discovered the secret of how to deal with them.
There was a woman with a baby.
Again and again I begged her to boil the drinking water.
She wouldn't. Then I told her the god Shango'd kill the evil spirits in the water if she boiled it.
From then on, she boiled the water.
But that still doesn't explain why you're here.
Perhaps not. But I am here.
It seemed so simple to let the gods speak through me.
I should have known there's no easy way to do good, Betsy.
-She doesn't bleed!
-She doesn't bleed.
Get her back to the fort, Betsy.
Do as I say. They won't hurt you.
Leave them alone. Let them go.
Where have you been, Miss Connell?
I wanted to help you.
Help me? How?
I took Mrs Holland to the Houmfort. I thought they might cure her.
There's no telling what you may have started with this insanity.
-Because you wanted to give my wife back to me? Why should that mean so much to you?
-You know why.
You saw it the other night, at the piano.
What I saw the other night, I could hardly believe, Betsy.
I thought I was looking at a woman who had compassion for me.
Who loved me. And yet you made that trip to the Houmfort to bring Jessica back to me.
You, the nurse who's afraid of the dark.
You think I love Jessica. Want her back.
It's like you to think that.
Clean, decent thinking.
I wish it were true.
Perhaps for your sake.
DISTANT DRUMS POUND
Mind me now, horse.
Come away from there.
Are you ever stubborn, just like that old stableman at the Houmfort.
Sticking your nose in places where it isn't wanted! Making trouble for everybody.
Try it this way.
Turn your back on him.
See, that's the way it is with a horse. You can't look at him and lead him at the same time.
Sounds sort of man-like, doesn't it?
-The police horse.
-Police? I didn't know there was a policeman on the island.
Oh, just this horse, Miss Betsy. When they asked the Commissioner if any policemen were wanted, he said,
-"My horse is all the police we need on St Sebastian."
Yes, Miss Betsy.
I expect there's some trouble. Not just little trouble like Mr Rand gets into when he's been drinking,
but real, big trouble.
You don't suppose it's because I took Mrs Holland to the Houmfort, do you?
They haven't been talking loud enough for me to hear, but I've held this horse for coming on to an hour.
And they been just talkin' and talkin'. I feel it's something very bad.
Well, you have a horse to hold, Alma, and Mrs Rand has asked me to have a cup of tea with her.
Horse, you stand still.
You're staying here with Jessica tonight, Betsy?
Mrs Rand thought it might be best.
I've caused you so much trouble, Paul.
Oh, no. It was bound to come.
As a matter of fact, that's why I'm here. I want to talk to you.
Perhaps when you're finished in here you'll come into the garden?
-Is it about this afternoon? I saw the Commissioner here.
-Jeffries? Yes, he was here.
He and Maxwell. They're in a great stew about it.
The Houmfort won't stop drumming and dancing until they've finished their ritual tests on Jessica.
Something of that sort. For their own safety, Jeffries and Maxwell want Jessica sent away to St Thomas.
To the asylum.
-Might be best.
But Wesley insists she stay here.
-But he hasn't the right.
-Oh, he hasn't any legal right, if that's what you mean.
But he says that I'm responsible for Jessica's illness.
That I deliberately drove her insane.
-You couldn't have done that, Paul.
-I don't know.
I've gone over it and over it, and...I don't know.
I want you out of it. I want you to go back to Canada, Betsy.
-Because of Jessica.
Because of myself.
Because I don't want you to be made miserable and unhappy.
-But I want to stay.
-I'm afraid it's not what you want.
I want you back in Canada.
-As my employer, you have the right to dismiss me...
-Don't, Betsy. You know that isn't what I mean.
You remember the first night I saw you? You were looking at the sea.
You were enchanted. And I felt I had to destroy that enchantment, make you see ugliness and cruelty.
-You were trying to warn me.
-No. I was trying to hurt you.
It was the same way with Jessica.
I had to hurt her. Everything she did or said made me lash out at her.
That's why I want you to go. You see, Betsy...
Since you've been here, I've seen how fine and sweet things can be
between a man and a woman. How love can be calm and good.
I'd rather not have that sort of love than have it and destroy it.
You want me to leave?
That's why I want you to go.
It's no good for you to stay so long as I have this fear of myself.
What are you doing here?
Get out of here.
Carre-Four, go back.
Let him go. Don't touch him. Don't try to stop him.
I can send this off by the next boat.
If you have any letters, you'd better get them ready, Betsy, to go with this parcel.
-Any news I have can wait till I get home.
-Be pretty stale by that time.
Perhaps not, Mother. Betsy is leaving us.
we can't lose you!
We've grown to depend on you. I have, and I know Paul has.
Mother, Betsy has her reasons.
I hope you won't feel I'm deserting you or think badly of me.
Think badly of you, Betsy?!
-Dr Maxwell has some unpleasant news for us.
-An accident at the mill?
No, it's about Jessica. A result of our discussion the other day, I'm afraid.
-What about her?
-Well, in view of all the circumstances, some of the things Wesley's been saying,
and the fact that one of the voodoo people got into your house last night,
-the Commissioner's decided on a legal investigation.
-So I'm on trial.
-I wouldn't put it that way, but...
-there's been a lot of talk. The whole thing's getting out of hand.
-A pretty scene.
-Half the island crowding into the courtroom to watch your dirty linen get scrubbed.
-Let's talk this over.
Talk it over?! Tell them that you're not responsible. That this doesn't rest squarely on your shoulders.
If you'll be good enough to take me to the Commissioner, Doctor,
I think there'll be no need of an investigation.
But why, Mrs Rand?
-What could you have to tell him?
-Jessica is not insane.
-Please, take me to the Commissioner. I can explain the whole thing to him.
-Mother, what are you saying?
She is dead.
Now, Mrs Rand...
She IS dead.
-Living and dead.
-Mrs Rand, you're not seriously trying to tell me that my patient is a zombie?
I'm not mad.
Wesley, let me explain. I wanted to so often.
Now, I have to. Betsy, tell them about the Houmfort.
Tell them what you saw there.
You must, Betsy. They'll have to believe you.
Well, Mrs Rand was at the Houmfort. But there's nothing wrong with that.
-She's gone there for years, trying to take care of those people. To help them.
-I think I understand.
-I've talked a little voodoo to get medicine down a patient's throat.
-But it was more than that, Doctor.
I entered into their ceremonies.
I pretended I was possessed by their gods.
But what I did to Jessica...
was when she wanted to go away with Wesley.
That night, I went to the Houmfort.
I kept seeing her face, smiling because she was beautiful enough to take my family and tear it apart.
Drums, the chanting,
the lights. I heard a voice speaking in the sudden silence.
I was speaking to the Houngan.
I was possessed. I told him the woman at Fort Holland was evil and asked him to make her a zombie.
Then what happened?
I hated myself. On the way home, I said over and over again,
there are no such people,
no strange drugs,
there's no such thing as a zombie.
-You were right.
-I said it, and I made myself believe it.
But when I got here, Jessica was raging with fever.
She was raging with fever. A fever with a long Latin name.
And a bad reputation for its after-effects.
-Usually some form of insanity.
-Dr Maxwell is right, mother.
-You were tricked by your own imagination, Mrs Rand.
-But I am not an imaginative or fanciful woman.
As I understand it, in order to turn a person into a zombie, whether by poison or...
hocus-pocus, you must first kill that person.
-Is that right?
-She was feverish. She was delirious.
But I don't remember her dying.
Or even being in a state resembling death. No coma. Nothing.
I'm afraid you are an imaginative woman, Mrs Rand.
Jessica? She won't obey me.
It's the Houmfort. They're trying to get her back.
But how can they? How could they make her understand? How would she know?
They know how. They have charms that can draw a man halfway around the world. Opiate tricks, magic.
-Everybody knows that.
-We may have believed all that when we were boys, Wes, but we're grown men now.
-We know it's all nonsense.
-I've not forgotten.
I could see what was in your mind when Maxwell was talking.
Just because he didn't know about Jessica's coma, you thought everything he said was wrong.
-And that mother's story was right. But that's ridiculous.
-It is true.
Why did she come out here?
How can they make her move, do anything they want?
-They can make anybody do what they want.
-You're thinking as they want you to think. That's what it's for.
-Conches, their cheap mummery.
-Let me in.
Come with me, Jessica.
You saw that.
I saw nothing that would convince a sober man.
You better get some sleep, Wes.
Why don't you go to bed, Wes? It's been a hard day for all of us.
I'm sorry, Wes.
I think I know how you must feel.
And I am sorry. I only wish there was something I could do.
She ought to be free.
You could free her, Betsy.
You could do it. You're a nurse. You have the drugs.
It'd be so quick.
Her heart beats.
She breathes. That's life, Wes.
I once took an oath to guard life.
I shouldn't have asked it of you. But it was only because I can't make you believe that she's already dead.
Wait a minute.
There's one other thing.
You love Paul.
Then, what good will it ever do you if Jessica's still a...
I'm afraid I love him too much for that.
MEN CHANT "Walee Nan Guinan"
O Lord God most holy,
deliver them from the bitter pains of eternal death.
The woman was a wicked woman, and she was dead in her own life.
Yea Lord, dead in the selfishness of her spirit,
and the man followed her.
Her steps led him down to evil, her feet took hold on death.
Forgive him, O Lord, who knowest the secrets of all hearts.
Yea Lord, pity them who are dead...
And give peace and happiness to the living.
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A Canadian nurse, Betsy, arrives on a Caribbean island to tend an invalid woman who appears to suffer from an unexplained paralysis. The horrific truth soon emerges, however, amid the haunting rhythms of the voodoo drums.