The Diabolical Dr. Z (Le Diabolique Docteur Z/ Miss Muerte/Dans le griffes du Maniaque/Miss Death and Dr. Z, 1965)


US Koch Lorber - Redemption Blu-ray edition Region A

Text written 2020-06-23


One of the very best films of Jesús "Jess" Franco, that should be an undisputed fact among the idiosyncratic director's many fans, and possibly the
best from his early black & white period. Definitely on my Top 3 Franco list. It's a Revenge Mad Doctor Mind Control horror beautifully and stringently
done before the tiresome overuse of camera zooms, and mostly then into women's crotches, the Jess Muff zoom.

What is it then that makes this film so good ? For sure three things: 1. The films is very atmospherically shot by Alejandro Ulloa and for some unknown
reason Tim Lucas in his audio commentary doesn't tell us where this film were shot, but 2 locations can be seen on signs. Singen - a south German town
at the border to Switzerland and Breslau (or Wroclaw) situated in south-western Poland, and a place called Hartog is mentioned too, unknown to me.
The chase scene with morning fog through the streets of some old town (Breslau?) when professor Moroni is followed by Miss Death and Irma Zimmer
is almost cinematographic art. Just beautiful.

2. A very fine soundtrack by Jess long-time collaborator Daniel White, jazzy and almost avantgardistic, and he also plays a small part in the film as some
quirky Scotland Yard guy observing the police work of Inspector Tanner (played by Jess, and a re-occurring figure in his films), and ...

3. The GORGEOUS Estella Blain as Miss. Death - Nadia, she's hypnotic as the mysterious cabaret dancer with the long deadly nails dipped in Curare.

Old US Mondo Macabro DVD edition

Howard Vernon plays a professor in this film, but his name is not Orloff and he's not mad. But he was to return to his Dr. Orloff part (as first seen in Jess
1961
Gritos en la Noche) many times the following 2 decades. This time the disciple of Dr. Orloff, Antonio Gimenez Escribano's Dr. Zimmer is the Doctor.
Dr. Zimmer is a neurology scientist, he's wheelchair bound and assisted by Barbara (Lucia Prado) and his daughter Irma (Argentinian actress Mabel Karr).
He's experimenting with his Z-ray on animals and a human, escaped murderer Hans Bergen (Guy Mairesse).

Following the work of ill-reputed Dr. Orloff, Zimmer has managed to locate the nervecenters that govern Good and Evil. and with his Z ray machine he can
neutralize or stimulate these zones. But, when presenting this major discovery how to turn a dangerous criminal into a peaceful being at a Neurological
Conference he's maligned and ridiculed by his colleagues, and Dr. Zimmer dies from a heart-attack.

Irma promises to continue his work and to extract revenge. Professor Vicas (Howard Vernon, Professor Moroni and Professor Kallerman has to die and as
the tool for this important mission she uses a mysterious and beautiful cabaret nightclub dancer, Miss Muerte - Nadia (Estella Blain).
Using the Z ray machine as a mind-control device Irma turns Bergen and Nadia into killer machines and some curare on Nadia's nails is useful too.
The scenes with Miss Muerte and Vernon on the train and the chasing of Moroni through empty streets are highly impressive.

The US Blu-ray presents the film in 1.66:1 widescreen ratio, black & white, with an english or french audio LPCM stereo (and i chose the french one and
it sounded great) with english subtitles. Region A.
Extras: Only an audio commentary from Tim Lucas (a pretty old one i think) and a Trailer

 

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