The Diabolical Doctor Z is a 1965 Spanish/French science fiction horror film, originally titled Miss Muerte (“Miss Death”) and Dans les griffes du maniaque (“In the Grip of the Maniac”). It was directed by Jesús Franco, from his own screenplay, which was co-adapted with Jean-Claude Carrière.
The movie stars Mabel Karr, Estella Blain, Fernando Montes, Guy Mairesse, Marcelo Arroita, Howard Vernon, Lucia Prado and Antonio Jimenez Escribano. Jesus Franco and composer Daniel White both have uncredited roles as police inspectors.
When Doctor von Zimmer (Doctor Z) dies from a heart attack after his mind control experiments have been dismissed by critics, his daughter Irma (Karr) avenges him, using an exotic dancer with long deadly fingernails clad in a skull-mask and a revealing bodysuit (Blain) as her bizarre human murder weapon…
“The idea of the sultry female with ‘dangerously’ long fingernails that both intimidates and attracts men is a well worn concept, both visually and in literature, but the idea to actually feature said appendages as an instrument of death in a movie is truly male fantasy taken to it’s most demented extreme.” Films from the Far Reaches
“The film features several memorable sequences, often involving heart-pounding chases … Also notable, of course, is Miss Death’s weird and kinky dance routine – complete with fetching outfit!” Latarnia.com
“Even with it’s clunkier moments (jump-cuts, continuity issues, etc.), the film is dynamic in writing and inventive in execution. One thing I greatly appreciate about Doctor Z is the pacing; it just flies by! In the shadow of Doctor Orloff, this films packs on the weirdness, the beauty, and the fun.” Cinema Somnamulist
“Every scene is interestingly framed, beautifully photographed, and stylishly designed, and is accompanied by an offbeat discordant music score.” Videohound’s Complete Guide to Cult Flicks and Trash Pics
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“This picture seems poised between nightmare and crude sensationalism, lacking the sadistic exuberance of Gritos en la noche but not yet a callous exploitation of sadism, as in his numerous women-in-prison movies…” The Aurum Film Encyclopedia: Horror, edited by Phil Hardy
In the UK, The Diabolical Doctor Z was released by D.U.K. Films on a double-bill with Italian horror film The Embalmer.
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