“The professor is a genius and it’s a pleasure to work with him. But he’s now beginning some experiments that, in my opinion, … exceed certain ethical limits.” Ethics are such a bother, don’t you agree? Join this episode’s Grue-Crew – Chad Hunt, Daphne Monary-Ernsdorff, Doc Rotten, and Jeff Mohr – as they take in Die Nackte und der Satan (1959), also known as The Head, a German film neck-deep in head transplants.
Decades of Horror: The Classic Era
Episode 164 – The Head (1959)
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A scientist invents a serum that keeps a dog’s head alive after its body dies. When the scientist dies of a heart attack, his crazed assistant cuts off his head and, using the serum, keeps the doctor’s head alive and forces it to help him on an experiment to give a hunchbacked nun a new body.
- Writer/Director: Victor Trivas
- Music: Willy Mattes (composer); Erwin Lehn (arranger/conductor)
- Weird Lab Music: Lasry-Baschet (Baschet Brothers, Yvonne and Jacques Lasry)
- Cinematographer: Georg Krause
- Art Director: Hermann Warm
- Makeup Department: Karl Hanoszek, Susi Krause (as Susanne Krause)
- Selected Cast:
- Horst Frank as Dr. Brandt – alias Dr. Ood
- Karin Kernke as Schwester Irene Sander
- Helmut Schmid as Bert Jaeger
- Paul Dahlke as Police Commissioner Sturm
- Dieter Eppler as Paul Lerner
- Kurt Müller-Graf as Dr. Walter Burke
- Christiane Maybach as Stella – alias Lilly
- Michel Simon as Prof. Dr. Abel
- Osman Ragheb as Franz – the Bartender (uncredited)
- Maria Stadler as Mrs. Schneider (uncredited)
- Barbara Valentin as Animierdame und Tänzerin in der ‘Tam Tam’ Bar (uncredited)
This little German sci-fi horror B-movie may have slipped past many a monster kid’s radar. In the film, one crazed scientist gets one-upped by an evil scientist who takes not only the first scientist’s life – reducing his life to a head on a plate – but also uses his discoveries to perform some head-swapping shenanigans. This film is strange, bizarre, weird, silly… yet, oddly entertaining. The Grue-Crew has so many thoughts to share regarding The Head (1959).
At the time of this writing, The Head can be found streaming from the Classic Sci-Fi Movie Channel, the Classic Horror Movie Channel, Tubi, and Dark Matter TV. The film is currently available on disc as The Head (1959) (Die Nackte und der Satan) [Blu-Ray, Reg.A/B/C Import – Germany] from Anolis.
(NOTE: Currently, all of the streaming options are the American version with roughly five minutes cut from the runtime, music substitutions, and English dubbing as the only language option. The Blu-ray has German and English language and subtitle options, the original music, and a commentary by Tim Lucas. The German language version delivers far more emotional impact to the viewer while the English dubbing comes off as a bit flat with awkward and simplified phrasing. And since the music is one of the attractions for me, the Blu-ray is a far better experience, although a bit pricey. – JLM)
Gruesome Magazine’s Decades of Horror: The Classic Era records a new episode every two weeks. Up next in their very flexible schedule, as chosen by Doc, is The Revenge of Frankenstein (1958), Peter Cushing as the Baron in a Hammer FIlm? And of course, Michael Ripper? Yay!
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To each of you from each of them, “Thank you so much for watching and listening!”