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A Farewell To "Arms".
on November 5, 2013
THE FROZEN DEAD is another one of those movies that made an impression on me from seeing it on the small screen. By the time it was released (1967) I was in high school and had discovered British horror but I still had my roots in really low budget American horror movies. This film managed to capture something of both. It was made in England but the plot was recycled from 2 classic American cheapies made in the early 1960s, MADMEN OF MANDORAS (THEY SAVED HITLER'S BRAIN) and THE BRAIN THAT WOULDN'T DIE. FROZEN DEAD had a bigger budget and like most Brit horror films set outside of the Gothic tradition, it was played straight without a hint of camp. Many horror fans prefer the over-the-top approach but, like the classic supernatural stories of the 19th and early 20th centuries, I find the less is more approach to be more substantial and a lot more satisfying.
Like the two other movies I mentioned, this film deals with keeping a detatched head alive but here it's more than just that. There are arms and entire bodies that have been kept frozen while Nazi scientist Dana Andrews (complete with a fairly convincing German accent) attempts to revive them. The key subplot involves his daughter's friend (Kathleen Breck) whose head, after an assault, is being kept alive to aid in the experiments. The look of the head with it's exposed brain under a glass dome and the helplessness and quiet suffering of the victim, make this a movie that once seen, cannot easily be forgotten. Check on the user comments on imdb to see what I mean. In addition to the head, a key scene involves the aforementioned disembodied arms. Long unavailable, THE FROZEN DEAD was made back-to-back with IT!, the Roddy McDowall Golem movie.