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Tuesday, September 3, 2013

'The Frozen Dead:' The Fascist and the Flash Frozen

The Frozen Dead (1966)
Just as B-movie king Dana Andrews' film "Zero Hour!" directly inspired the Zucker brothers to make comedy classic "Airplane," Andrews 1966 movie "The Frozen Dead," which includes a reference to a mute character with a subnormal (rather than abby normal) brain, likely contributed to the inspiration for Mel Brooks' "Young Frankenstein." "Frozen" additionally clearly was a factor in producing the wonderfully campy 1968 made-for-TV movie "They Saved Hitler's Brain."

Warner Archive's recent DVD release of "Frozen" gives fans of classic scifi a good chance to judge the accuracy of the above assertions regarding that film for themselves.

The wonderfully perverse premise of "Frozen" is that Dana Andrews is German scientist Dr. Norberg, who froze Nazi soldiers alive at the end of WWII to provide subjects for his experiments in reanimation. The objective was to help rebuild the Nazi empire once the heat died down. (Insert your own Walt Disney joke here.)

Twenty years later, elite Nazi leaders visit Norberg at the English castle where he is conducting his clandestine work. The purpose of the visit is to check up on Norberg and prompt him into succeding.

Norberg's inability to properly restart the human brain prompts recruiting American scientist Ted Roberts to help; Roberts' arrival roughly coincides with a surprise visit from Norberg's niece Jean who knows absolutely nothing about the true nature of her uncle's work. Jean's friend Elsa accompanies her but ends up getting the full Ted Williams (or "Futurama") treatment.

Jean's increasing curiosity regarding her uncle's vocation, her investigation regarding the sudden disappearance of Elsa, and her inadvertent involvement in the experiments drive much of the well-paced action.

The final analysis regarding "Frozen" is that it fulfills its purpose well. It depicts Nazis as a cold and ruthless lot and has enough zombie-like creatures and terrorized coeds to satisfy any fan of good low-budget horror and scifi fans.

Anyone with questions or comments regarding "Frozen" is welcome to email me.