On the Franco-Austrian Frontier during WW I, an oriental priest, chaplain of a French colonial regiment, is condemned to life imprisonment because he possesses the power of turning men into zombies. As the priest,in his prison cell, prepares to burn the parchment containing the location of the secret formula, Colonel Mazovia (Roy D'Arcy, the accented version of Theodore Lorch) kills the priest and takes the partially-burned parchment. After the war, an expedition of representatives from all the Allied countries (or rather, only those with colonial interests) are sent to Cambodia to find and destroy forever the so-called Secret of the Zombies. The group includes Colonel Mazovia; a student of dead languages, Armand Louque (Dean Jagger); Englishman Clifford Grayson (Robert Noland) ; General Duval (George Cleveland), and his daughter Claire (Dorothy Stone.) Armand falls in love with Claire, who accepts his proposal of marriage in order to spite Clifford, whom she really loves. Later, when Claire, following an accident, runs to Cliff for comfort, Armand breaks the engagement, leaving her free to marry Cliff. Further accidents, caused by Mazovia, results in the natives refusing to work and the expedition is forced to return to Pnom Penh. Armand finds a clue which he had overlooked before and returns to Angkor against orders. After viewing an ancient ceremony at a temple, Armand follows one of the servants of a high priest out of the temple, through a swamp, to a mysterious bronze doorway. When the servant leaves, Armand goes through the door to a room paneled in bronze, with an idol holding a gong. He accidentally strikes the gong, and a panel in the wall opens, revealing a small metal tablet. He translates the inscription and realizes that it is the secret for which they have all been looking. He alone now has the power to make zombies out of people, and begins with a practice run on his servant before using his zombie powers in an attempt to coerce the fickle Claire in the movie's climax.
Trivia and CriticismEdit
- When compared with the previous work of Victor Halperin, this film is generally regarded as a disappointment. 
- The original cut of the film had no screenwriting credit, which has led some to conjecture that those involved in production were aware of the weakness of the story.
- Although he is not credited in the film, Bela Lugosi's eyes appear in Revolt of the Zombies whenever zombifying-powers are used. It is the same image of Lugosi's eyes used in the film White Zombie.
- As with similar zombie-films of this era -- like Lugosi's Bowery at Midnight -- the extent to which the zombies in this film would be identified as such by a contemporary audience is perhaps questionable. Although the word "zombie" is in the title of the film, absent is the aggression and brain-eating frequently associated with modern zombies. The zombies portrayed in Revolt of the Zombies appear instead like hypnotized persons.