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The Diabolical Dr. Z

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

The Diabolical Dr. Z
Spanish theatrical release poster
Directed byJesús Franco[1]
Screenplay byJean-Claude Carrière[2]
Based ona story by Jesus Franco[2]
Produced by
CinematographyAlejandro Ulloa[1]
Edited byJean Feyte[1]
Music byDaniel White[1]
  • Hesperia
  • Speva
  • Ciné Alliance[1]
Distributed byMercurio
D.U.K. Films
U.S. Films Inc.[2]
Release dates
  • August 1966 (1966-08) (Madrid)
  • 22 November 1967 (1967-11-22) (France)
Running time
87 minutes[2]
  • France
  • Spain[1]

The Diabolical Dr. Z (Spanish: Miss Muerte) is a 1966 French-Spanish horror film directed by Jesús Franco. The film stars Mabel Karr as Irma Zimmer, a surgeon who creates a machine that turns people into zombified slaves. Ms. Zimmer is the daughter of a Professor Zimmer (a disciple of Dr. Orloff), who was hounded to his death several years earlier by four of his scientific associates. Zimmer uses the machine to control an erotic dancer named Miss Muerte (Estella Blain) who uses her long poison-tipped fingernails to murder the people Ms. Zimmer holds responsible for her father's death.

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Woman seeks to avenge her father's death by using a local dancer, with long poisonous fingernails, to do her bidding.


  • Estella Blain as Nadia
  • Mabel Karr as Irma Zimmmer
  • Howard Vernon as Dr. Vicas
  • Fernando Montes as Philippe
  • Marcelo Arroita Jauregui as Dr. Moroni (as Marcelo Arroita
  • Cris Huerta as Dr. Kallman
  • Antonio Escribano as Policeman (as Albert Bourbon)
  • Guy Mairesse as Hans Bergen


The Diabolical Dr. Z was written and Jean-Claude Carrière based on a story by director Jesús Franco.[3][4] The film is loosely based on the 1940 novel The Bride Wore Black.[5] The film's opening credits state that it is based on "a novel by David Khune" which is an alter-ego for director Jesús Franco.[6] Franco would later re-use elements from the plot of The Diabolical Dr. Z in his later films including The Blood of Fu Manchu (1968) and She Killed in Ecstasy (1971).[7]

Despite being one of Franco's favourite films of his earlier period, Franco has stated that the film "shouldn't have been made... Censorship was causing me troubles."[8][9]


The Diabolical Dr. Z was released in Spain in August 1966 under the title Miss Muerte with a running time of 86 minutes.[10] The film had 360,990 admissions in Spain and grossed a 2019 equivalent of 30,787.00€ domestically.[11] It was released in France on 13 September 1967 under the title of Dans les griffes du maniaque (lit.'In the Grip of the Maniac') with a running time of 88 minutes.[2] It was dubbed in English and shown theatrically in the U.S. in 1967.[12]

The Diabolical Dr. Z was released on DVD by the Mondo Macabro label on 29 April 2003.[13] A Blu-ray was released by Kino International in 2018, with Budd Wilkins of Slant Magazine noting that it surpassed the "already visually impressive" DVD from Mondo Macabro.[14]


In a contemporary review, the Monthly Film Bulletin noted that Franco "shows an eye for unusual images-notably in Miss Death's bizarre but rather tame dance act"[1]

From retrospective reviews, The online film database Allmovie gave the film three stars, praising it as "One of Franco's most entertaining films, Miss Muerte is a great improvement over the similar El Secreto del Dr. Orloff"[15]

See also



  1. ^ a b c d e f g h "Miss Muerte (The Diabolical Dr. Z)". Monthly Film Bulletin. Vol. 34, no. 396. British Film Institute. 1967. p. 175.
  2. ^ a b c d e Thrower, Stephen (2015). Murderous Passions: The Delirious Cinema of Jesús Franco. Strange Attractor Press. p. 100. ISBN 978-1-907222-31-3.
  3. ^ Thrower, Stephen (2015). Murderous Passions: The Delirious Cinema of Jesús Franco. Strange Attractor Press. p. 100. ISBN 978-1-907222-31-3.
  4. ^ "Miss Muerte". Fiche Film - La Cinémathèque française (in French). Retrieved March 18, 2013.
  5. ^ Armstrong et al. 2007, p. 181.
  6. ^ Labanyi & Pavlović 2012, p. 169.
  7. ^ Shipka 2011, p. 205.
  8. ^ Shipka 2011, p. 182.
  9. ^ Shipka 2011, p. 189.
  10. ^ "The Diabolical Dr. Z". Turner Classic Movies. Retrieved March 18, 2013.
  11. ^ "Miss Muerte". The Spanish Film Catalogue. Retrieved July 18, 2019.
  12. ^ Thrower, Stephen; Grainger, Julian (2015). Murderous Passions: The Delirious Cinema of Jesús Franco. Strange Attractor Press. ISBN 978-1-907222-31-3.
  13. ^ "The Diabolical Dr. Z". Allmovie. Rovi Corporation. Retrieved March 18, 2013.
  14. ^ Wilkins, Budd (March 24, 2018). "The Diabolical Dr. Z". Slant Magazine. Retrieved September 17, 2018.
  15. ^ Firsching, Robert. "The Diabolical Dr. Z - Overview". Allmovie. Rovi Corporation. Retrieved March 18, 2013.


External links

This page was last edited on 23 March 2023, at 06:25
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