The Living Head
"The Living Head" (1963) is the K. Gordon Murray dubbed version of "La Cabeza Viviente", a Mexican horror film that brings the classic mummy story to Mesoamerica. In it, an Aztec priest and priestess are entombed with the severed head of a famous general. Centuries later, a trio of archeologists discovers the tomb. The priestess turns to ash; the priest and Captain Cabeza remain remarkably fresh. One of the archeologists retrieves a trinket the priestess had worn, little suspecting it is The Ring of Death that will blink and make soft pinging noises whenever the severed head wants someone killed. The ring winds up on the finger of the archeologist's daughter, Marta, who just so happens to look just like the priestess (though no one seems to notice this). Why she is willing to wear the hideous ring is also not thoroughly established, though in this film, just helping the plot along is reason enough.
According to historical accounts and archeological evidence, the Aztecs incorporated human sacrifice into their practices. In its depiction of the removal of a sacrificial victim's heart in the opening scene, "The Living Head" may not be too off base. There is no evidence, however, that killer blinking rings and the undead have ever been recovered from Aztec tombs.
Lori HunsakerLori Hunsaker, Deputy State Historic Preservation Officer with the Utah State Historic Preservation Office, discusses archaeology and the film "The Living Head."
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