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The Frozen Dead


A head of its time.

Rod Lott August 23rd, 2013

I've seen many a zombie movie — too many, one could argue successfully — but 1966's The Frozen Dead must be the first in which a member of the undead was so concerned with hair care, Carly Simon probably wrote a song about him. As the pic's mad scientist introduces him, “This one is harmless. He combs his hair continuously, like a vain adolescent.”

frozendead

Said scientist is Dr. Norberg (Dana Andrews, Airport 1975), who lives in London, even if his heart belongs to Germany — Nazi Germany, in fact: “I'm as good a Nazi as I was 25 years ago.” So dedicated to his party is he that Norberg thirsts to bring deceased members of the Third Reich back to their hatemongering lives. He's already succeeded at reviving bodies — it's the brain that's giving him problems — ergo, the combing zombie, not to mention the one who forever bounces an invisible ball.

At Norberg's estate, the arrival of Dr. Roberts (Philip Gilbert, Die! Die! My Darling!), whose severed-dog-head research will go a long way in aiding his experiments, coincides with that of his beautiful niece (Anna Palk, Horror on Snape Island), who's prone to putting her nose where it doesn't belong, but also prone to wearing nightgowns and pointy undergarments.

Anyone who takes The Frozen Dead seriously isn't paying attention. Herbert J. Leder's colorful drive-in flick is as filled with unintentional comedy as Dr. Norberg's wall is hanging with human arms. (I guess I should note that Dr. Norberg's lab contains a wall from which hang many human arms.) How else to explain a movie in which the third act hinges on a talking head in a box? A blue head at that!

It's a schlocky hoot with questionable taste and motives, owing more of a debt to the likes of The Brain That Wouldn't Die than Night of the Living Dead. As with Warner Archive's simultaneously released Hands of a Stranger, various public-domain discs float about, but this print easily bests them all. —Rod Lott

Hey! Read This:

Die! Die! My Darling DVD review
Hands of a Stranger DVD review

 
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