Saturday, March 21, 2009

Movie Review: Atomic Brain (1964)

The Atomic Brain
THE ATOMIC BRAIN - Sci-fi Schlock From 1964 - Movie Poster

Written by Sue Bradford, Dean Dillman Jr., Jack Pollexfen, & Vy Russell
Directed by Joseph V. Mascelli

Bradford Dillman .... Narrator
Frank Gerstle .... Dr. Otto Frank
Frank Fowler .... Victor
Marjorie Eaton .... Hetty March
Erika Peters .... Nina Rhodes
Judy Bamber .... Bea Mullins
Lisa Lang .... Anita Gonzalez

Dr. Frank is engaged in a series of secret medical experiments in which he transplants a living animal brain into a recently deceased human body. The secret to the process is the Cyclotron, a large glass tank which encircles the corpse in fog and somehow returns it to life. In order to keep a fresh supply of corpses, Dr. Frank has to steal them from local cemeteries and funeral homes, aided by one of his brutish "mistakes" Hans, his animalistic servant with a canine brain and an instinct to kill.

The objective of these experiments is to one day transplant a human brain, ensuring longevity and possibly even immortality. They are funded and housed by Mrs. March, a crotchety old heiress who's not yet ready to give up the ghost, under the condition that when the procedure is perfected she will be given a healthy, young, beautiful body.

THE ATOMIC BRAIN - Sci-fi Schlock From 1964 - Hottie With A Body
Dr. Frank realizes that the corpses he's stealing aren't nearly fresh enough, and so Mrs. March hires three beautiful women to "work" for her, until the time is right. She sizes them up like patrons of a legalized whorehouse and the doctor examines them for any health issues. They all pass muster, and there's just one more experiment to go before the big day.

The living body of one of the girls is implanted with a feline brain, and she becomes a full-fledged catwoman, tracking mice and lapping milk out of a saucer. It's a complete success, and now it's Mrs. March's turn to become the hottie-with-a-body she's so long been waiting for.

But mad science never goes according to plan.

The Atomic Brain is poorly edited, written and acted, but we have to keep in mind the technological limitations of the day and the fact that this is the type of film cranked out in mass quantities at the time. If it were to be made today, nobody would watch it, plain and simple. But it's worth a viewing, if only as a piece plucked out of the retro time capsule of yesteryear.

ALSO KNOWN AS: Monstrosity

72 minutes
Black & White
United States

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