Dr. Zimmer (Antonio Jimenez Escriboano) is a scientist who has been experimenting in mind control. His aim is to take convicted criminals and change them into productive citizens. He has experimented on animals with some success. At a conference he explains his theory. He also tells the assembled group of scientists that he wants to get permission to try his experiments on humans. They are not aware that he has already done an experiment on a human. The scientists at the conference ridicule him. Dr. Zimmer, who is already in a wheelchair, has a heart attack and dies in front of the other scientists. Before he dies he makes his daughter, Irma (Mabel Karr), promise to continue his experiments.
Later one of the scientists gives her his condolences. Philippe (Fernando Montes) was in medical school with Irma and is not as closed minded as the other older scientists. He takes her to dinner to get her mind off of her pain. At dinner there is a performer who bills herself as Miss Death. Her real name is Nadia (Estella Blain). Miss Death performs an interpretive dance. Irma is intrigued by the dance. Thoughts of revenge begin to enter her mind.
The next day Irma picks up a hitchhiker. They stop for awhile to take a swim in a lake. Irma runs over the hitchhiker killing her. She then stages a car accident to make it look like she died in a fiery crash. While trying to set the car on fire Irma accidently burns the lower half of her own face. Irma, now totally unhinged, performs surgery on her own face.
To extract her revenge Irma kidnaps Nadia and takes her to the family’s abandoned mansion. The house is set deep in the country. Nadia is extremely beautiful and possesses long pointy fingernails. Irma plans on putting those fingernails to good use as a weapon against the men she believes were responsible for inducing her father’s heart attack and killing him. The human experiment Dr. Zimmer performed was used to create a zombie slave out of an escaped criminal, Hans Bergen (Guy Mairesse). Irma now plans on using the same treatment to turn Nadia into her own slave.
“The Diabolical Dr. Z” AKA “Miss Muerte” was released in 1965 and was directed by Jesus “Jess” Franco. It is a Spanish horror film and was loosely based on the 1940 novel “The Bride Wore Black”. “Miss Muerte, or Miss Murder, is a more appropriate name for the film since Dr. Z. dies early on in the film. Miss Murder could apply to either Nadia or Irma.
Dr. Zimmer is portrayed as a disciple of Dr. Orloff. Orloff was a character in a few other Franco movies. Franco specialized in horror, sexploitation, soft core porn, spy thrillers, comedy, crime and just about every genre there is. I believe he was even involved in a few musicals early on. He was a director, writer, producer, composer, actor and whatever else was needed. Franco himself is also in the film. He plays Inspector Tanner.
If you like Eurotrash, this is a really good one. There is a nice array of interesting mad scientist wiz bangs and some noir style visuals. Franco’s use of light and shadows add an eerie touch. The entire film is full of interesting camera angles and the story is awesomely freaky. The character of Irma is wonderfully insane. It’s a fun movie to watch.