JESS FRANCO MONTH: The Diabolical Dr. Z (1966)

This movie is also called Miss Muerte, which is a great title, and it’s about Dr. Irma Zimmer, the daughter of Dr. Orloff’s student Professor Zimmer, who has made a machine that can make people into zombies. Four of the old man’s colleagues led him to an early death, so Dr. Irma uses the machine to control the firecracker sexual force that is Miss Muerte (Estella Blain), whose chief weapon is her poison-tipped fingernails, cuticles which she’s using to kill anyone connected with the death of Irma’s father.

Let me go back for a second. The movie called The Diabolical Dr. Z starts with Dr. Z dying. Also, in the Franco Cinematic Universe, I have discovered that if you are a doctor with any degree of evil whatsoever, you must know, be friends with or be a pupil of Dr. Orloff.

All of this is set to the notes of jazz, with strange angles and billowing smoke and fog following the same logic as the music playing. Meanwhile, Inspector Tanner and Inspector Green are played by a quite youthful Franco and composer Daniel J. White. This can be seen as a meta exploration of the authority of the director upon the movie or probably more truthfully two guys getting in front of the camera because there isn’t enough money to hire anyone else.

Also the notion of domination, submission and control will soon become even more a part of Franco’s films. You can see many of the themes he’d explore take their first filthy little steps here.

You can watch this on KInoCult.

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