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CREATURE WITH THE ATOM BRAIN (1955)


scsu1975
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http://crackle.com/c/Creature_With_The_Atom_Brain

Decent 50s sci-fi, with Richard Denning (neatly coiffed as always) playing a police doctor tracking down who, or what, is bumping off several important people. Michael Granger plays mobster Frank Buchanan. Granger enlists the aid of a German scientist (is there any other kind) Dr. Wilhelm Steigg, played by Gregory Gay. Steigg is a specialist in "amygdale stimulation," and has discovered a method for re-animating corpses by pumping some weird fluid into their veins, transplanting some weird stuff into their brains, and turning the eyeballs into miniature televisions. Naturally, he has done this for the good of mankind, but Buchanan has other ideas ... like using the creatures to knock off his enemies. The film starts to fall apart when Homicide Captain Dave Harris (John Launer) is turned into a creature, yet it takes the cast members quite awhile to notice the scars running around his forehead.

The rest of the cast is rather unusual ..."Killer" Karl Davis, Charles Horvath, and Dick Crockett turn up as creatures. Tris Coffin plays the D.A., and the always useful Pierre Watkin plays the Mayor of the city. However, my favorite character is Radio Broadcaster Dick Cutting. Folks, you just can't make this stuff up.

The film runs around 70 minutes and has some production value. Denning gives it his best shot, despite having to wear a ridiculous flat hat. However, Granger takes the fashion prize, wearing the worst-fitting suit since Frank Gerstle.



"Look Doc, you can mess with the brains and the eyes, but don't touch these."
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Michael Ross (right) misunderstands when Tris Coffin tells him to "take the wheel."
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In this unused scene from Fantastic Voyage, two scientists investigate a patient
with Irritable Bowel Syndrome.
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John Launer brags in front of the boys.
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"That's the worst set of hair plugs I've ever seen."
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Another Town Hall meeting is disrupted.
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  • 2 weeks later...

Another great, great review. This is one film that I enjoy recommending as an early CSI type, with Richard Denning having his geiger-counter always nearby. Just amazing. The finale - where a truckload of Army doggies pile out and go hand-to-hand with radioactive zombies in someone's front lawn - is terrific.

 

The film's bad guy, a deported Italian mobster given the screen-name of "Buchanan" is the earliest example of Poitical Correctness. The Kefauver Hearings in 1950-51 were criticized because they seemed to link some Italian-Americans, their historic Italian names and the Mafia (which, remember, didn't exist!) together.

 

It's odd to see this film's Mafioso named "Buchanan" therefore. I kept wondering, did this guy escape and open up a hotel called The Shady Rest on an all-but-lost railroad junction a decade later? I just knew Edgar wasn't for real...

 

Thanks again, Rich. Great stuff - as always.

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