FROZEN DEAD, THE
(director/writer: Herbert J. Leder; screenwriter: story by Leder; cinematographer: Davis Boulton; editor: Tom Simpson; music: Don Banks; cast: Dana Andrews (Dr. Norberg), Anna Palk (Jean Norberg), Karel Stepanek (General Lubeck), Philip Gilbert (Dr. Ted Roberts), Kathleen Breck (Elsa Tenney), Basil Henson (Dr. Tirpitz), Alan Tilvern (Karl Essen), Tom Chatto (Inspector Witt), Oliver MacGreavy (Joseph the butler), Anne Tirard (Mrs. Schmidt), Edward Fox (Norburg’s Brother), John Moore (Bailey the Stationmaster), Charles Wade (Alfie the Porter); Runtime: 105; MPAA Rating: NR; producers; Herbert J. Leder: WB Collection/Seven Arts; 1966-UK)
“Watchable as an outrageous film.”
Reviewed by Dennis Schwartz
Herbert J. Leder (“Pretty Boy Floyd”/”The Candy Man”) directs from his own story this repulsive, twisted and haunting mad scientist Nazi B-film. Though totally absurd, it refuses to be taken any other way but seriously. It’s watchable as an outrageous film with bad taste that could be enjoyable for the right viewer–which I guess is me.
The evil but not fanatical Nazi Dr. Norberg (Dana Andrews, talking English with a heavy German accent), a patriot for the Nazi cause, 20 years ago froze 12 elite Nazi leaders (including his doctor brother-Edward Fox, who turned violent when the experiment failed) with the idea of reviving them in time so the Nazis can rise again with them as leaders. But all his subjects have failed as humans when revived because he can’t revive their brain. Secret Nazi funders support his experiments that he conducts for the last 20 years in an isolated old castle in the country just outside London. His assistant is the duty-bound fanatic Karl Essen (Alan Tilvern), a Nazi clod who gets for his boss dead bodies from the morgue to experiment with and assists in the lab.
The former Nazi, General Lubeck (Karel Stepanek), the head of the experimental program, arrives in the castle with his trusted revolting underling, Dr. Tirpitz (Basil Henson), to see how the experiments are going. There’s also a surprise visit from Norberg’s American college student niece Jean (Anna Palk) and her American college girlfriend Elsa (Kathleen Breck).
The General tells the mad scientist that there are 1500 frozen bodies of former SS officers, frozen when alive, waiting in hidden European caves to be unfrozen. The mad scientist believes if he could only hook them up with a brain, they can be revived but otherwise will be idiots. Norberg wonders how he could get a live brain. So acting on his own, the sadistic Karl murders Jean’s friend and gives his boss her head to continue his re-animation experiments.
Also visiting is the American doctor, Dr. Ted Roberts (Philip Gilbert), also an expert in freezing bodies, who has come to share knowledge in the field with Norberg. But he falls in love with Jean and would do anything to save her when he learns she’s in peril from the visiting Nazis.
Elsa’s brain meanwhile has been kept on a lab table in the lab and is able to communicate telepathically with Jean and warn her that she’s in danger. Elsa’s last words to her rescuers is “Bury me.”
REVIEWED ON 12/18/2021 GRADE: B-