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Several years earlier gangster Frank Buchanan was deported to his native Italy through the efforts of law enforcement authorities and rival gangsters who inform on him. While in Europe he meets scientist Wilhelm Steigg, who has perfected a method of reanimating dead people and controlling their behavior with oral commands. Buchanan underwrites Steigg's experiments and uses his technology to wreak revenge on his enemies. Unfortunately radioactive poisoning is a by-product of the process, and authorities use radiation detecting devices like Geiger counters to pinpoint the source of the sinister plot. Written by
Gabe Taverney (email@example.com)
One might think with the extremely low budget, the lack of true star power, and a title like Creature with the Atom Brain that this project would be nothing more than many of the same types of science fiction/horror films grinded out in the 1950s, but it is better than you might expect. Sure, it looks pretty cheaply made. Yes, Richard Denning is it when it comes to a name your average 50's movie fan might know. Like other movies of its era and genre, the film is fast-paced and to the point without a lot of expository information given to the audience. What makes this film a bit different is that the story, even though quite ridiculous in and of itself, is rather inventive and the script keeps to that inventiveness quite nicely. Both the story and script are the work of Curt Siodmak, the famed horror/science fiction writer of such films as The Wolfman, I Walked with a Zombie, and so many others. The story is simply that a gangster who had been run out ten years ago comes back with a German scientist that has discovered how to reanimate dead bodies with uranium. The gangster then commands these dead bodies with a microphone and looks at what they see through their eyes on a big screen as they are sent to avenge those men that put Frank Buchanan(said gangster) in exile. The dead bodies have super human strength but otherwise look somewhat normal except for cutting lines around their foreheads. Some of the scenes with the dead are very persuasive, and director Edward L. Cahn knows how to keep the pace tight and the action relevant. The acting including lead Denning as the man able to solve the mystery of the dead rising and taking their revenge is adequate with S. John Launer as Captain Harris, Denning's partner, standing out in an interesting role. Angela Stevens as Denning's wife has little to do, but she looks very nicely doing it nonetheless.Michael Granger and Gregory Gaye play Buchanan and the scientist respectively and are also adequate. But the real stars of this film are the script and Cahn's solid direction with limited resources. The hideout for Buchanan and the way they crawled through these blowing tubes were really inventive uses of limited means. While not a great film, Creature with the Atom Brain is a solid 50's sci-fi addition and quite possibly even a forerunner to movies like The Night of the Living Dead.
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