Friday, February 15, 2019

Beyond Naschy #26 - THE DIABOLICAL DOCTOR Z (1966)

The Naschycast returns with our ninth anniversary episode! We dive back into the films of beloved Spanish filmmaker Jess Franco with THE DIABOLICAL DR. Z (1966). This is one of the director's final black & white movies and is considered by many to be his most accomplished work. I'm not sure where I would rank it on Franco's long list of credits but it is certainly a fantastic and beautiful horror film that features several amazing performances. It also has one of the best revenge seeking female mad scientist characters in cinema history. The lovely and deadly Doctor Zimmer is not someone you want to antagonize! Especially not when she can bend to her will the incredible nightclub dancer Nadia (a.k.a. Miss Death) whose long fingernails are laced with poison! And did I mention the murderous, mind-controlled escaped convict willing to strangle anyone blocking the destructive path of this mad woman? Strap in or, more likely, be held down by scary robotic arms for this amazing film!

Troy and I ramble our way through a discussion of this Spanish Horror classic marveling at the clarity and sharpness of the print available on the Kino Blu-Ray. The black & white  cinematography of Alejandro Ulloa is remarkable to see in high definition. As fans of his director of photography work for Naschy's lushly colorful EL CAMINATE (1979) and NIGHT OF THE WEREWOLF (1981) we're amazed by his ingenuity at presenting shades of light and darkness without losing detail. Even if the film was only half as good as it is Ulloa's skill would make this a must-see for curious cinema aficionados.

We pick apart the plot, question the need for certain evil elements and gush about the intelligence of the script. Some time is spent on co-writer Jean-Claude Carrière's amazing career with me delighting in talking about his late 1950's Frankenstein sequel novels. The adult nature of the story is discussed as we make note of possible censored spots in the narrative. The amusing onscreen roles played by Franco and his longtime musical collaborator Daniel White are pointed out so that we can praise their acting talent. And we can't resist taking note of Franco's kitty co-star in one scene and his rather direct directorial touch with this wandering performer. Meow!

Any comments or questions can be sent to or dropped on the Naschycast Facebook page. We read out a couple of missives in the final few minutes of this episode and they stir some unexpected conversation, as always. Thank you for downloading and listening to the show. We'll be back next month with more Spanish Horror!

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