Sunday, April 21, 2013

El Professore Movie Review: Creature With the Atom Brain


1955
Director: Edward L Cahn
Starring: Richard Denning, Angela Stevens, Michael Granger, Gregory Gale
* * *
Directed by the ever dependable low budgeteer Edward L Cahn, 'Creature With the Atom Brain' is a fun, exciting and creepy addition to the 50s sci fi cycle.

Full review after the break.


The unusual (for it's time) story deals with deported American gangster, Frank Buchanon (Michael Granger) who forces ex-Nazi scientist, William Steigg (Greggory Gale) to create zombies by resurrecting corpses through radiation in order to use them through radio remote control to get his revenge on his enemies. Enter Dr. Chet Walker (Richard Denning - fresh from battling The Creature From the Black Lagoon) to get to the bottom of things.

Featuring a script penned by long time genre vet, Curt Siodmak that is wryly (and wrongly) sexist in regards to Walker's wife (Angela Stevens), 'Creature With the Atom Brain' is pure '50s pulp nonsense. None of the perfs (except Dennings) stand out in the least and the non-budget occasionally gets in the way, yet this film manages to be consistently entertaining through the basic concept of remote controlled, reanimated corpses, something that was new and terrifying in it's day. Cahn films these scenes for maximum creepiness (the film's opening is shown from the unseen zombie's point of view, he kills his first victim by breaking his back with ease; shown only in shadow). Much of the film will cause viewer guffaws now but in 1955, this was considered positively nightmarish for the young and impressionable. The finale is especially memorable; knowing the gig is up, Buchanon sends all of his indestructible zombies out to attack the police. It is a shocking and exciting sequence, with what may be the first cinematic use of "exit wounds" (the bullets are shown exiting bloodlessly through the zombies' backs). Very cool stuff.

'Creature With the Atom Brain' has had something of a resurrection in recent years with it's late night airings on TCM followed by it's long overdue release on a dvd. It also must have left an impression in the music world as it's title was used for an alternative Belgian rock band as well as a song (containing lines from the movie itself) by Roky Ericson and the Aliens.

2 comments:

  1. Directed by the ever dependable low budgeteer Edward L Cahn, 'Creature With the Atom Brain' is a fun, exciting and creepy addition to the 50s sci fi cycle. roulette tipps

    ReplyDelete
  2. This movie reminds me on "Alarm from outer space" - another 50's classic system strategie

    ReplyDelete