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The Head
The Head
Actors: Jason Candler, Maia Danziger, Eric Fogel, Dick Rodstein
Director: Eric Fogel
Genres: Indie & Art House, Horror, Science Fiction & Fantasy
NR     2003     1hr 37min

Platform:  DVD MOVIE Publisher:  ALPHA VIDEO Packaging:  DVD STYLE BOX A scientist's procedure for keeping body parts functioning is turned against him when a demented assistant decapitates him and keeps his head alive in ...  more »

     
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Movie Details

Actors: Jason Candler, Maia Danziger, Eric Fogel, Dick Rodstein
Director: Eric Fogel
Genres: Indie & Art House, Horror, Science Fiction & Fantasy
Sub-Genres: Indie & Art House, Horror, Science Fiction
Studio: Alpha Video
Format: DVD - Black and White - Subtitled
DVD Release Date: 03/18/2003
Original Release Date: 01/01/1962
Theatrical Release Date: 01/01/1962
Release Year: 2003
Run Time: 1hr 37min
Screens: Black and White
Number of Discs: 1
SwapaDVD Credits: 1
Total Copies: 0
Members Wishing: 0
MPAA Rating: NR (Not Rated)
Languages: German

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Movie Reviews

Thank you alpha!!! a rare gem in German cinema
Scott Jeune | kerhonkson, ny | 05/20/2003
(4 out of 5 stars)

"This is the best severed head film you're ever gonna see! I had first heard about this film in Cahill and Toombs' "Immoral Tales" as an exemplar of low budget German exploitation... and now that I have seen it I keep thinking "why haven't more people been after this?" It works artistically on the same kind of level as "Eyes Without a Face" but with a bit more, well, concreteness and less poetry. It tells the story of Dr. Ood who joins with a group of scientists and dispatches them one by one so he can further their experiments in keeping heads alive but with his own amoral vigour. A hunchbaked woman enters in and has her head put on a murdering stripper's body, and the film keeps it in a grey area about how much the hunchback might know about her surgery beforehand while still making her a believable heroine. In the meanwhile Dr. Ood loses it every time he sees a full moon (in a weird note, his triangularly bushy eyebrows seem to naturally fit in with the set... trust me on this.) And last but not least, the real star of the film, Herbert Warm, who with Bruno Monden, created sets for this film, and made it the last Great German Expressionist Film. He had worked on "Cabinet of Dr. Caligari" and you can tell here in the way that all walkways turn angles and lead upwards and all the shadows are constructed in a thin and chiascuro kind of way that go vertically. And that living room and staircase with the Michealangelo... picture Dr. Caligari having a swinging luxury bachelor pad and you get the idea (and it works). I've never seen sticks, yes, sticks, used so effectively in a film. One star off for non Anamorphic and beat up public domain, but I've seen far, far worse, and just thank Alpha for making it available as they have."
"He's a little strange...the result of a brain operation."
cookieman108 | Inside the jar... | 10/20/2004
(3 out of 5 stars)

"Three heads in a fountain, each one seeking happiness, thrown in by three hopeful lovers, which one will the fountain bless...actually the original song specifies coins rather than heads, but I think both work just as well...The Head (1959) aka A Head for the Devil aka Die Nackte und der Satan aka The Screaming Head, written and directed by Victor Trivas, stars prolific German actor Horst Frank (The Vengeance of Fu Manchu) and Karin Kernke (Schoolgirl Report Part 12: Young Girls Need Love) in a sinister tale of disembodied heads, murder, with a dash of kink.

As the film begins, we notice a strange character, we later find out his name is Dr. Ood (Frank), lurking outside the laboratory/bachelor pad of Prof. Dr. Abel (I'm serious, that's what it says on the sign outside...it seems kind of unusual to use both titles, but I guess if you've managed to amass the credentials, why not use them?). Turns out he's looking for a job, and he seems to know something of Dr. Abel, specifically his experiments with keeping body parts alive well after the host has passed, by using his own specially developed `Z' serum. Ood manages to worm his way into Dr. Abel's employment (I would have done a background check myself, but hey, that's just me), and soon finds himself performing a heart transplant on Abel as he has a bum ticker, and, as luck would have it, a vagrant has just suffered terminal injuries (oh happy day!), and Abel has managed to acquire the man, and his still functioning heart, for himself. Anyway, the bum croaks before the transplant takes place, so Ood decides the only thing to do is remove Abel's head and keep it alive, which he does, as he wants whatever secrets Abel possesses. Abel comes to, and once he realizes his new position, that of a head resting on a counter living off machines, he starts to realize what a monster Ood really is (I bet he was wishing he did that background check now...), but wait, Ood has more plans...after dispatching a troublesome associate, Ood performs another operation, transplanting the head of a local hunchbacked nurse (she'd been in contact with Dr. Abel and his associate hoping for some sort of operation to make her `normal' again), played by Kernke, onto the body of a local striptease dancer (next time you're in the Tam Tam Club, don't bother asking for Lily, as she no work there anymore). The nurse, unaware of Ood's actual plans, awakens, and Ood feeds her a story about how he `grew' a new body for her, but she soon learns otherwise as various facts begin to emerge. She tries to escape Ood's clutches (he seems interested in her more than just as a patient), but Ood feels she owes him, and isn't too eager to let her just walk away.

I did enjoy this movie a lot, as my original impression was that of a funky B film, so I wasn't expecting a lot. The direction is pretty stylistic of what I would loosely describe dark and brooding, accompanied by well designed and put together sets, especially those of the complex and sophisticated laboratory (Abel's disembodied head set up looks entirely realistic). The use of light and dark shadows lends a real atmospheric tone that reminds me of the Universal monster films of the 30's. Also, the music, the spooky stuff, at least, enhanced the film greatly with its' sinister, ethereal quality. Now for the bad...there seemed to be some real odd transitioning between some of the scenes, unnecessary fades, sharp, harsh cuts and such, that tend cause a number of scenes to just not fit together as well as they're supposed to...the result is a jarring effect that took me out of the story, as now I was trying to figure out how two adjacent scenes were supposed to fit together. Also, since this was a German production, the film has been dubbed into English. The dialog used in the dubbing can be pretty awkward, and while it may be `grammatically' correct, it lacks the even flow of what most of us are used to with regards to normal conversation. It's like the German script was translated word for word into English, and then used `as is', without any of the necessary refinements one would have to make accounting for variances in structure between two languages. I will admit it was kinda funny at times, especially when a character would make an obtuse declaration for no real apparent reason. The actors seemed to perform well, but given the dubbing, it's hard to say for sure. Frank presented a really interesting character, sort of wild-eyed and creepy, and made for a great, classic mad scientist. One part that seemed funny to me was when he transplanted the hunchback nurse's head onto the stripper's body, he must have also installed some breast implants, as the rack on the stripper's body (now with the nurse's head) was greatly increased.

The full screen picture (I'm pretty sure this is the original aspect ratio here) on this DVD released by Alpha Video looks very poor. Alpha Video seems to specialize in acquiring movies and such that have lapsed into the public domain (movies where the original copyright has expired and now anyone can release it...the Capra film It's a Wonderful Life is probably the most famous example, and that's why it always seems to be playing on some channel during the holidays, as it doesn't cost anything to show), so, subsequently, the source print is riddled with lines, white speckling, and other various forms of age deterioration. Most of the money for this release seems to have been put into the cover art for the DVD box, which seems to be standard practice for Alpha...no special features here, just a decent movie with inherent flaws, transferred to DVD from extremely poor source material, and offered at a very low price.

Cookieman108
"
Head Cheese!
Bindy Sue Frønkünschtein | under the rubble | 06/23/2003
(5 out of 5 stars)

"A scientist is working on a way to keep body parts alive without a body. Enter Dr. Ood (Horst Frank), an evil psychotic with ideas of his own! He decapitates the good scientist (Helmut Schmid) and keeps his severed head alive. This is my favorite part, as the head is shown very realistically alive by itself! Excellent special effects illusion! There's also the hunchback nurse, who is used by Ood, who gets her a "new and improved" body! This is a dark film. I love it's cheese factor! It would make a fantastic triple feature with: "The Brain That Wouldn't Die" and "The Atomic Brain". "The Head" is a classic of horror, betrayal, and revenge. Fans of mad scientists will drool! Beware of Serum Z..."
If you only buy one severed head movie this year...
Motown Missile | Palookaville, USA | 04/21/2004
(4 out of 5 stars)

"Wow! If you're a fan of classic Universal Studios-type atmosphere, look no further than "The Head". Pure unadulterated drive-in fare, "The Head" brings back fond memories of the 60's, when TV horror hosts like Sir Graves Ghastly and others would screen lesser-known gems like this one on Saturday afternoons.
Alpha Video is to be commended for making stuff like this available for a reasonable price; if any criticism could be levelled at them, it's that the print was not particularly good, and it shows in the transfer. Still, the film itself will make you forget all about that..it's really good! The actor who portrays Dr. Ood is especially memorable, like Peter Lorre without all the mannerisms. Buy it NOW!"