TRAUMAFESSION: Crankenstein of Theater of Guts on The Frozen Dead

I’ve been haunted by the memory of a telepathic, wide-eyed, blue decapitated head with wires protruding out of its skull and frighteningly strong arms dangling from a wall that are controlled by brainwaves. I always wondered if this was a dream, or a traumatic memory that I invented. Now I know that it was this film I’m about to discuss and not THE BRAIN THAT WOULD’NT DIE. That film is a trashy classic in its own right, but I must admit, I was mildly disappointed when I first saw it because as demented as it was, I needed some closure in the form of a whispering blue head that controlled people’s will and minds.

Dana Andrews plays Dr. Norberg, a Ronald Reagan or Walt Disney-esque Nazi with an experimental basement lab (similar to the one Grandpa Munster had). It’s filled with Maytag-like appliances and giant red and green buttons. He lives in a mansion with a butler that looks like a German Michael Berryman. Dr. Norberg is hiding frozen Nazis in his basement and has a failed reputation in cryogenics. His mannerisms and personality have all the charm of a honey-baked ham. The ghoulish prison like lab is filled with cripples and brain surgery failures. Two hippie girls show up outside, one of them is Norberg’s niece Jean and the other will soon be decapitated. His lunkhead, Igor-type assistant must find a brain and the search is on, this will somehow help the Dr. reanimate the Third Reich (not exactly sure how). When Jean’s friend Elsa (Kathleen Beck) is strangled by a loose dimwit in the house, the doctor, a supposed Nazi, actually objects to murder! Did he forget he’s a former Nazi? Later on he tells his murdering assistant that things in this age are different and Nazis only killed for political reasons!

The eerie blue makeup of the woman’s head in the box is a cross between Jambi from PEE WEE’S PLAYHOUSE and Margaret Hamilton. Later on, a burn victim named Mrs. Smith shows up in one of the oddest moments, in an already unhinged ‘60s film, she puts on a leatherface like false face and answers the door. This strange moment is confusing to me and I’m not sure where it ties into the story. As a kid, the blue face gave me the heebie jeebies, especially when she whispers incoherently (I’ll leave the final cryptic words up to the ears of the viewer). THE FROZEN DEAD is one of those bizarre British horror films in league with CIRCUS OF HORRORS, but not as heavy and sadistic as PEEPING TOM. It’s a fun B-movie that was worth revisiting in order to get some confirmation that it all wasn’t some fever childhood nightmare.

UNK SEZ: Make sure you Visit Crankenstein regularly at THEATER OF GUTS!

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9 years ago

Thanks UNK! now I know the terror of a blue Jambi like decapitated head was real!