Thursday, November 13, 2014

Creature with the Atom Brain (1955)

Note:  This review was originally posted to my Epinions account.

In my quest to find really cheesy and bad movies, I came across The Giant Claw.  When I ordered it from NetFlix, It was paired with The Creature with the Atom Brain, so I decided to see if I could get an extra review out of it.  I have to admit that this movie is better than The Giant Claw, but not by much.

The plot is simple.  A gangster that’s supposedly in Europe makes his way to America and teams up with a German scientist who’s working on some sort of mad-scientist project.  With the gangster’s funding and the scientist’s  knowledge, they find a way to reanimate dead bodies that they’ve stolen from the morgue.  In return for the funding, the gangster wants to use the bodies to kill those that put him away.  It sounds like a great plan.  Someone ends up dead and you were nowhere to be seen.

This is where it gets strange.  The reanimated bodies are controlled from a computer back at the lab.  The person controlling them simply looks at a monitor to see what they’re doing and speaks into a microphone to command them.  (The zombies retain no memory, but know how to follow commands.)  The dead body can speak, but is always in the voice of the person controlling them.  It’s not clear why this is or how the zombie knows what’s an order and what’s to be spoken.

What got me most was that the police noticed a connection after two homicides.  Somehow, they knew that some sort of creatures were involved.  The identity of the gangster is worked out not to long after that.  Granted, they had finger prints from dead people and radioactive blood.  That would be a little obvious, but of the first two murder victims, one was a district attorney and the other was a gangster.  It seemed a bit rushed.

The science is somewhat good, but nothing on par with today’s stuff.  The forensics lab apparently consists of a small centrifuge and a basic microscope.  Also, the scientist becomes radioactive despite wearing protective clothing.  He’s so radioactive, in fact, that he’s able to make a beer set off a Geiger counter after a few seconds of exposure.  I don’t know if that’s how radioactivity works.  It seems more like a way to have the police know that where the scientist was.

I think most people, having seen today’s big-budget movies, would not be impressed by The Creature with the Atom Brain.  This is the kind of movie I’d expect either on a specialty movie channel or something that the broadcast networks might show late at night.  In fact, I don’t know if they release it alone any more.  If you wanted to get just this movie, you might have to find it on VHS at a garage sale.

At 69 minutes, it was just the right length.  On a side note, I’ve always wondered why people in movies like this never become alarmed at someone talking in a monotone voice.  If someone came up to you and started speaking in a flat voice, wouldn’t you become just a little worried?

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