Monday, May 18, 2009

The Frozen Dead and It!: World Premiere in Beautiful Downtown Newark

Wow, it was 1967 and a bunch of us got the balls to go into wonderful post riot torn Newark , N.J. to see a world premier of two not so classic horror films. Both directed by Herbert J Leder, they were released by Warner Brothers/Seven Arts. Both had one name, Dana Andrews and Roddy McDowell. The theater was the Bradford.

Frozen Dead was in black & white, though there are reports of it being filmed in color. Dr Norberg is a Nazi scientist living in the English countryside. He has about 1500 elite Nazi soldiers frozen. His job, thaw them out so they can finish WWII. Problem is their brains are damaged when they are thawed out, making them violent psychopaths.

The doctor’s niece, Jean, and her friend Elsa visit the castle. After the Doc messes up another experiment, he decides he needs a live brain to experiment on. His assistant drugs Elsa and lets one of the more violent Nazi zombies kill her. The keep her head alive, just like the girl in the Brain that Wouldn’t Die, in a cabinet.

Elsa’s head has telepathic powers. She communicates with Jean , who she scares the shit out of. An American scientist, Ted Roberts arrives and says he saw a girl matching Elsa’s description leaving on a train. Actually it was a girl wearing Elsa’s clothing. Ted is impressed when he see Elsa’s severed head. Jean is learning too much as her father is one of the frozen krauts. They decide to kill her, but Elsa warns her. After discovering that her uncle is a Nazi, she is taken into a room with a bunch of severed arms mounted on the wall. Elsa gains control of the arms and they strangle the doctor and his sadistic assistant. Elsa’s head pathetically moans “bury me over and over again at the films end. At this point we all wanted to see this film buried as well.

It! Was in color and featured Roddy McDowell channeling Anthony Perkins. Roddy is the assistant curator of a museum. Roddy and the head curator go to a warehouse that had burned down and find the original Golem. When the curator uses the Golem as an umbrella stand, he gets his head crushed. A worker, who strikes a match on the statue, has it fall on him and crush him to death.

Roddy, who lives in a flat with his dead mother, figures the head curator job will be his. He also realizes that, as the legend states, that once revived in the 20th century, the Golem can’t be stopped. Roddy uses the Golem to dispose of his enemies. He also has a crush on the former curator’s daughter, Ellen. Roddy not only uses the Golem to kill his enemies, he boasts to Ellen that It will do anything it asks, so he has It destroy the London Bridge.

Roddy, who is getting crazier by the minute, tries to destry the creature that he caused to become indestructible. He gets thrown in an asylum, but the Golem gets him out and takes Roddy, Ellen and the dead mother to a country estate. After freeing Ellen , they drop a small nuke on Roddy’s place. After the mushroom cloud subsides, we see the Golem wadding into the ocean to await the sequel. He is still waiting.

Not really a bad double bill, but the ghetto audience verbally ripped the two pictures to shreds. That’s why I loved going to a grindhouse like this where the patrons became part of the show.
42nd Street Pete

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