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Creature with the Atom Brain

USA 1955
produced by
Sam Katzman for Clover Productions/Columbia
directed by Edward L. Cahn
starring Richard Denning, Angela Stevens, S. John Launer, Michael Granger, Gregory Gaye, Linda Bennett, Tristram Coffin, Harry Lauter, Larry J. Blake, Charles Evans, Pierre Watkin, Lane Chandler, Edward Coch, Richard H. Cutting, Karl 'Killer' Davis, Eddie Foster, Terry Frost, Don C. Harvey, Paul Hoffman, Nelson Leigh, Michael Ross, Dick Crockett, George Bruggeman, Charles Horvath, Boyd 'Red' Morgan
story and screenplay by Curt Siodmak

review by
Mike Haberfelner

Available on DVD !

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Two men coming from different corners of the legal spectrum, a casino owner with ties to the underworld and a district attorney, are murdered under mysterious circumstances, both by men considered dead who crushed their heads with superhuman strength and left traces of radioactivity on the scenes of crime. Police scientist Dr. Walker (Richard Denning), who also happens to be the investigating detective Harris's (S. John Launer) soon comes up with an idea to fantastic to be true, that someone has found a way to reanimate the dead using nuclear power and to control them remotely - and of course he's right, but nobody believes him at first. But he and Harris also come up with a suspect, mobster Buchanan (Michael Granger), who was deported several years back, and has vowed his revenge on all those instrumental in his deportation. So the rest of this bunch are rounded up and offered police protection - but all turn down the offer until one of them turns up murdered like those above ... and this is when Walker's theories become mainstream, and catch the attention of Buchanan, who's indeed hiding out in town, and has teamed up with a Nazi scientist, Dr. Steigg (Gregory Gaye), who's responsible for the scientific part of raising the dead, while the revenge part's all Buchanan's doing. Buchanan tries to lure Walker into a trap, but accidently he catches Harris instead, whom he soon turns into a mind-controlled corpse to go after Walker. This doesn't only fail but by performing autopsy on Harris, Walker finds out how Buchanan and Steigg's principle to control the dead works, and searching the area with Geiger counters they can soon find a trail to Buchanan's hideout. Thing is, cornered, Buchanan releases all the corpses in his possession, who can't be shot or otherwise destroyed and who might just be an unstoppable force against all humankind ...

 

It's safe to say one can't really expect a masterpiece watching a Sam Katzman movie, as he has always been a very budget conscious producer keen on jumping any bandwagon there is. But that out of the way, Creature with the Atomic Brain is by no means a bad piece of Cold War sci-fi horror, it's solidly directed by veteran Edward L. Cahn, and likewise solidly scripted by Curt Siodmak, another genre veteran, while the ensemble cast ably carry the thing. That said, sure, the science part of science fiction is very far-fetched, and in terms of spectacle the film might be a bit underwhelming, but as a grenre thriller with shades of paranoia, this works as a very entertaining time capsule nevertheless.

 

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review © by Mike Haberfelner

 

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Robots and rats,
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shopping mall Santas,
love and death and everything in between,
Tales to Chill
Your Bones to

is all of that.

 

Tales to Chill
Your Bones to
-
a collection of short stories and mini-plays
ranging from the horrific to the darkly humourous,
from the post-apocalyptic
to the weirdly romantic,
tales that will give you a chill and maybe a chuckle, all thought up by
the twisted mind of
screenwriter and film reviewer
Michael Haberfelner.

 

Tales to Chill
Your Bones to

the new anthology by
Michael Haberfelner

 

Out now from
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On the same day
a Burglar wants to kill you
and your Ex wants
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you can't decide
WHICH IS WORSE!!!

 

A Killer Conversation

produced by and starring
Melanie Denholme
directed by
David V.G. Davies
written by
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starring
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out now on DVD