The Frozen Dead – UK, 1966

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‘Frozen alive for 20 years! Now they return from their icy graves to seek vengeance!’

The Frozen Dead is a 1966 British science fiction horror feature film written, produced and directed by Herbert J. Leder (It!; Doomsday Machine; Fiend Without a Face). The movie stars Dana Andrews, Anna Palk and Philip Gilbert.

Hammer horror regulars Don Banks (The Evil of Frankenstein; The Reptile; The Mummy’s Shroud) composed the strident score, whilst Scott MacGregor (Taste the Blood of Dracula; The Vampire Lovers; Frankenstein and the Monster from Hell)provided the art direction. Although shot in Eastmancolor, US distributors Warner-Seven Arts chose to release it in black and white to save money duplicating prints!

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For twenty years, unrepentant Nazi scientist Doctor Norberg (Dana Andrews) has been experimentally thawing frozen Nazi soldiers who have been kept in suspended animation at his English country estate since the end of World War II. He is awaiting his superiors, General Lubeck (Karel Stepanek) and Captain Tirptiz (Basil Henson), who have been told by Norberg’s assistant Karl (Alan Tilvern) that Norberg’s experiments have been a complete success.

Unfortunately, they haven’t been. Norberg can thaw the body but not the brain. All he can produce are zombie-like beings who can do no more than endlessly repeat the memory of just one action from their past. The worst of them, Prisoner no. 3 (Edward Fox), is extremely violent. And is Norberg’s brother….

Reviews:

“We’re only treated to one rampaging Nazi zombie (as played by Edward Fox, no less), but even he’s a bit crap. However, it’s worth noting that the “Elsa’s head in a box” scenes are incredibly effective, and almost make it worth seeking out the film by themselves. Bathed in an eerie blue light and glaring balefully at her captors, she’s the real star of the show.” British Horror Films

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“Dana Andrews is actually quite good in this mess, giving his character of Dr. Norberg some layers that went above and beyond the call of duty for a film of this caliber. Character actor Alan Tilvern plays a goofy Igor-like character who manages to spice things up by going bat-guano crazy. It’s too bad the rest of the movie didn’t give these two more to work with.” Victor Medina, Cinelinx

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The Brain That Wouldn’t Die is noteworthy for Virginia Leith’s talkative, taunting performance as that film’s body-less head. In The Frozen Dead, the honor goes to Kathleen Breck as the hapless Elsa. Her subtler, more tortured and mostly mimed performance is actually quite good, in unrealistic surroundings realistically expressing the horror of finding oneself disembodied and at the mercy of loopy scientists.” Stewart Galbraith IV, DVD Talk

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“Seriously, folks: despite being an enjoyably bad B-movie, The Frozen Dead has a somewhat disturbing quality to it that won’t let you forget about it. But, of course, on the upside, we do get to see a wall of severed arms come to life and strangle Nazis. I mean, you can’t go wrong with that, right?” Luigi Bastardo, Cinema Sentries

“The best things about this unscary movie are the art direction and the living head which features prominently in the production.” Alan Frank, The Horror Film Handbook

Choice dialogue:

“Bury me, bury me…”

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Cast and characters:

  • Dana Andrews … Dr. Norberg – Night of the Demon
  • Anna Palk … Jean Norberg – Tower of Evil; The Nightcomers; The Earth Dies Screaming
  • Philip Gilbert … Dr. Ted Roberts
  • Kathleen Breck … Elsa Tenney
  • Karel Stepanek … General Lubeck
  • Basil Henson … Dr. Tirpitz
  • Alan Tilvern … Karl Essen
  • Anne Tirard … Mrs. Schmidt
  • Edward Fox … Prisoner #3, Norberg’s Brother
  • Oliver MacGreevy … Joseph the Butler
  • Tom Chatto … Inspector Witt
  • John Moore … Bailey the Station Master
  • Charles Wade … Alfie the Porter

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Categories: 1960s, British, Nazi horror, zombie

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