The Living Head (1963)

THE LIVING HEAD (1963)
(a.k.a. LA CABEZA VIVIENTE)
Article #1204 by Dave Sindelar
Viewing Date: 7-1-2004
Posting Date: 11-28-2004
Directed by Manuel San Fernando and Chano Urueta
Featuring Mauricio Garces, Ana Luisa Peluffo, German Robles

When scientists remove artifacts and bodies from an Aztec burial tomb, they come under the sway of a curse that threatens to destroy them all.

Those Mexicans sure knew how to pile it on. Though at heart this is your basic mummy movie, we get a lot more here than just a mummy killing people. Our mummy in this case isn’t bandaged, and though he walks stiffly at times, at others he’s unexpectedly limber and agile. He’s also a talker; if he catches you, rest assured that you will be treated to a long boring speech about the nature of your sacrifice before he finally kills you. Of course, he’s not the brains of the outfit here; credit for that must go to the living head of the title. This head has amazing powers; he can glare at you, he can make his mask magically disappear, and he can have big fake spiders crawl over his face without letting it freak him out. He himself gets a little loquacious towards the end of the movie. And if this terrifying duo isn’t enough, they also have their human slave; apparently anyone who wears that flashing mood ring found in the tomb can come under the power of that head. This person is absolutely necessary; after all, with the mummy busy killing and talking the ears off his victims, we need someone to tote that head around. Unfortunately, the mummy isn’t allowed to kill the third person in the series (I can only assume that this is some sort of obscure Aztec law), and the last fifteen minutes of the movie deals largely with the difficulty of getting those pesky human slaves to do what they’re told (good help is hard to find) and trying to sort out just who is allowed to kill who; it’s at this point that the living head starts putting in his two cents. This last sequence of the movie makes for some great comedy, but it doesn’t quite make up for the fact that most of this movie is slow-moving and dull. Fans of THE BRAINIAC will recognize some of the actors, some of the music, and even some of the dates that flash by on the screen to indicate the passage of time.

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