Rupert Pupkin Speaks: My Warner Archive Grab Bag: THE FROZEN DEAD, TORMENTED & HANDS OF A STRANGER ""

Monday, September 2, 2013

My Warner Archive Grab Bag: THE FROZEN DEAD, TORMENTED & HANDS OF A STRANGER

THE FROZEN DEAD(1966; Hebert J. Leder)
Nazi-sicles! Brain stealing!
Dana Andrews plays a German scientist whose big project is thawing out and reviving Nazi soldiers 20 years after WWII. See also things like: THE BRAIN THAT WOULDN'T DIE and THEY SAVED HITLER'S BRAIN. This film feels like something you'd catch on late night television in the late 70s or early 80s. Could pretty easily have been fodder for the MST3K gang I would think, but plays fine as standards creepy scifi. It's neat to see a film like this in color as most of the genre fare of this type seems to have been made in the B&W era. It has a little splash of swinging 60s to it(fashion wise). I kind of wish Dana Andrews had made more films like this and with even stranger material. As it is, it's fun to listen to him try to maintain a German accent for 95 minutes.

TORMENTED(1960; Bert I. Gordon)
Speaking of MST3K, they made a regular practice of skewering the films of Mr. Bert I. Gordon. AMAZING COLOSSAL MAN, BEGINNING OF THE END and many more of his movies(including TORMENTED) were featured in episodes of the cult favorite TV Show. After seeing the movie, I'd kind of like to check out that episode as its kind of a hoot.
After his jilted lover plummets to her death, a jazz piano player(Richard Carlson of CREATURE FROM THE BLACK) can't shake the feeling that she's hauntedly stalking him. He sees ghostly footprints appear on the beach behind him, records play by themselves and general haunting goings-on occur all around him. The best moments are when the ghost's floating head appears in various places.
"I told you Tom, no one will ever have you but me!"
Lots of big blaring musical stings abound. Story feels like something William Castle would have had a hand in. One of the better Bert I films I've seen, even if its quite cheesy.

HANDS OF A STRANGER(1962; Newt Arnold)
"They Gave Him the Hands of a Killer!"
We're quite familiar with this story by now. We've seen a version with Peter Lorre(THE BEAST WITH FIVE FINGERS), Jeff Fahey(BODY PARTS) and other folks. Man loses hands in accident, and has them replaced with the hands of a killer. Soon after the transplant, things go sour with the new hands. One thing this interpretation has going for it versus earlier ones is that it came out in 1962. While still B&W and very tame in comparison to the aforementioned BODY PARTS it has it's own drive-in/late night horror host programming feel to it that some may find charming. The score is more than a little melodramatic and overwrought though and that does no service to the actors or the script(though there is a decent amount of over-acting here as well). It literally has moments of  "dun dun DUN!" that border on self-parody. That being said, this movie could serve a group of B-Movie fanatics well with a six pack or two on a Friday night.

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