(UK - 1966; US release 1967)
Written and directed by Herbert J. Leder. Cast: Dana Andrews, Anna Palk, Philip Gilbert, Kathleen Breck, Karel Stepanek, Basil Henson, Alan Tilvern, Edward Fox, Oliver MacGreevy, Ann Tirard, Tom Chatto. (Unrated, 95 mins)
A longtime late-night TV favorite of horror fans back in the '70s and '80s, THE FROZEN DEAD boasts a memorably catchy title that only partially applies to the horrors contained in the entertainingly disjointed film. Boasting more ideas than it can handle, THE FROZEN DEAD would seem to have arrived at the Nazisploitation party about a decade early, with Nazi zombie films like Ken Wiederhorn's SHOCK WAVES (1977), Jean Rollin's ZOMBIE LAKE (1980), and Jess Franco's OASIS OF THE ZOMBIES (1981), to the post-SALON KITTY (1976) wave of Italian scuzz that became popular around the same time. The trend even included the prestigious THE BOYS FROM BRAZIL (1978), which gave us Gregory Peck as a crazed Josef Mengele trying to create clones of Hitler (as much as we should, we also can't forget a bottom-scraping Veronica Lake trying to resurrect Hitler with flesh-eating maggots in 1970's FLESH FEAST, which proved to be the star's swan song). For the most part, however, despite its Nazi angle, THE FROZEN DEAD is more in line with the severed-headsploitation subgenre that became a strange Z-movie phenomenon in the 1960s. The 1959 German film THE HEAD was released in the US in 1961 and soon we had THE BRAIN THAT WOULDN'T DIE (1963) and THE MADMEN OF MANDORAS (1963), better known under its 1968 TV re-edit THEY SAVED HITLER'S BRAIN. Written and directed by American Herbert J. Leder (who scripted 1958's FIEND WITHOUT A FACE), the British-made THE FROZEN DEAD is still B-movie trash, but it's glossier and better-made than others of the severed head/Nazi undead ilk and boasts several iconic images that have stuck with fans for nearly 50 years.
Golden Apple Award for "Most Cooperative Actor." Best known for classics like LAURA (1944), A WALK IN THE SUN (1945), THE BEST YEARS OF OUR LIVES (1946), BOOMERANG! (1947), and WHILE THE CITY SLEEPS (1956), Andrews hadn't quite fallen on hard times by 1966 but he'd hit some rough patches along the way. He was still very much in-demand and turning up in occasional noteworthy films like Jacques Tourneur's NIGHT OF THE DEMON (1957), but his alcoholism was causing some problems and ultimately got him bounced from the A-list. That, coupled with the sin of getting older, relegated him to supporting roles in big movies and starring roles in smaller ones. In 1964, Andrews' 29-year-old son died suddenly from a cerebral hemorrhage, after which the veteran actor threw himself into his work, starring or co-starring in no less than eight films just in 1965, including the military epics IN HARM'S WAY and BATTLE OF THE BULGE, the low-budget old-timer western TOWN TAMER, the sci-fi outing CRACK IN THE WORLD, the germ-warfare cult classic THE SATAN BUG, the absurdist comedy THE LOVED ONE, and the Italian 007 ripoff SPY IN YOUR EYE. Like many aging leading men making the transition to character actor, Andrews went where the work was, whether he was playing a Nazi mad scientist in THE FROZEN DEAD or a square family man terrorized by some crazed kids looking for kicks in HOT RODS TO HELL (1967). He quit drinking by the early 1970s and kept busy playing old ranch owners in westerns, old generals in war movies, and on TV shows and made-for-TV movies, not to mention inevitable appearances in a 1970s disaster movie (AIRPORT 1975), on THE LOVE BOAT, guesting on various talk shows, and even popping up in GOOD GUYS WEAR BLACK (1978), an early Chuck Norris vehicle. Andrews retired from acting after a supporting role in 1985's little-seen JFK drama PRINCE JACK and was soon diagnosed with Alzheimer's. He spent his remaining years in a Los Angeles-area nursing home where he was frequently visited by old Hollywood friends, including Burt Lancaster, who was visiting Andrews at the facility in 1990 when he suffered a massive stroke from which he never fully recovered.