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The Head (1959)

Die Nackte und der Satan (original title)
A scientist invents a serum that keeps a dog's head alive after its body dies. When the scientist dies of a heart attack, his crazed assistant cuts off his head and, using the serum, keeps ... See full summary »


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Complete credited cast:
Horst Frank ... Dr. Brandt - alias Dr. Ood
Karin Kernke ... Schwester Irene Sander
Helmut Schmid ... Bert Jaeger
Paul Dahlke ... Police Commissioner Sturm
Dieter Eppler ... Paul Lerner
Kurt Müller-Graf Kurt Müller-Graf ... Dr. Walter Burke
Christiane Maybach ... Stella - alias Lilly
Michel Simon ... Prof. Dr. Abel


A scientist invents a serum that keeps a dog's head alive after its body dies. When the scientist dies of a heart attack, his crazed assistant cuts off his head and, using the serum, keeps the doctor's head alive and forces it to help him on an experiment to give his hunchbacked nurse assistant a new body. Written by frankfob2@yahoo.com

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


It Just Won't Lay Down And Stay Dead! See more »


Horror | Sci-Fi


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West Germany



Release Date:

24 July 1959 (West Germany) See more »

Also Known As:

The Head See more »

Company Credits

Production Co:

Rapid Film See more »
Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:


Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
See full technical specs »

Did You Know?


Michel Simon, a major star in France at the time, had used some tainted makeup on a previous film that had resulted in his body and face becoming temporarily partially paralyzed. Since that time he had been unable to find work and took a role in this low-budget German horror film because he needed the money and only his head would be shown, and he didn't think a film of this caliber, which could adversely affect his career, would be seen on the rest of the continent. Unfortunately he was wrong, and the film was in fact a hit on both sides of the Atlantic. See more »


When Bert begins playing his flute, he abruptly stops, but his music continues playing. See more »


Stella, alias Lilly: You mean you're still doing those awful experiments?
Dr. Brandt, alias Dr. Ood: I'm now LEGALLY a doctor.
See more »


Referenced in Horst Frank - Der Flußpirat vom Mississippi (2010) See more »

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User Reviews

The body by Ood
1 July 2012 | by Chase_WitherspoonSee all my reviews

Psychotic Dr Ood (crazy-eyed Frank) is a maniacal genius who has the opportunity to perform a miraculous operation with a secret serum Z, when his boss dies on the operating table mid-experiment. Preserving Michel Simon's head for the purposes of its extraordinary brain content, the twisted Dr Ood is soon looking for another victim on whom to perform his gruesome experiments, when the crippled Sister Irene (Kernke) reluctantly agrees to undergo an operation that promises to correct her debilitating condition, stooped like Quasimodo with a shuffling gait to match. But the once unassuming woman, who cannot bear to look upon her hideous deformity, soon discovers that perfection comes at an unaffordable cost.

Frank is unhinged as a deranged Doctor who makes serious overtures toward Kernke, even after he's turned her into some perverted Frankenstein's monster. Veteran French actor Simon is given little to do but screw up his face while his head sits atop a water cooler, sans body. Kernke has a likable character and Dieter Eppler makes a reasonable fist of the hero, even if he's something of a cuckold. You might also recognise prolific German-International actor Helmut Schmid as the docile mechanical engineer Bert who becomes concerned with Dr Ood's peculiar activities.

Occasionally atmospheric and displaying good use of sets and lighting, the preposterous premise shouldn't necessarily paint itself into a corner, after all, Jason Evers succeeded in "The Brain that Wouldn't Die" and even Steve Martin was able to coax a laugh or two from "The Man With Two Brains" (I won't include "The Thing with Two Heads" in this analogy). Frank is better than the material with which he had to work, yet unfortunately, his credentials don't spare much goodwill on this modest little sci-fi that attempts to double as a psycho-thriller but fails to reach its potential.

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