Creature with the Atom Brain (1955)

Unrated  |   |  Crime, Horror, Sci-Fi  |  July 1955 (USA)
Your rating:
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 -/10 X  
Ratings: 5.4/10 from 749 users  
Reviews: 40 user | 16 critic

An ex-Nazi mad scientist uses radio-controlled atomic-powered zombies in his quest to help an exiled American gangster return to power.



(story), (screenplay)
0Check in

On Disc

at Amazon

Learn more

People who liked this also liked... 

Action | Adventure | Fantasy
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 5.1/10 X  

Zombie-like, dead crewmen of a sunken ship have always prevented salvagers from claiming the wreck's legendary box of diamonds, but will a new group of treasure hunters succeed?

Director: Edward L. Cahn
Stars: Gregg Palmer, Allison Hayes, Autumn Russell
Drama | Sci-Fi
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 5.6/10 X  

In an attempt to discover the composition of meteors, three astronauts are sent out into space in three specially designed rockets. Their mission is to capture a meteor and bring it to ... See full summary »

Directors: Richard Carlson, Herbert L. Strock
Stars: William Lundigan, Herbert Marshall, Richard Carlson
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 5.2/10 X  

Five astronauts successfully fly to Mars where they encounter seemingly friendly and advanced inhabitants who harbor covert plans to use their ship to invade Earth.

Director: Lesley Selander
Stars: Marguerite Chapman, Cameron Mitchell, Arthur Franz
Action | Adventure | Horror
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 5.2/10 X  

Gor, a powerful criminal brain from the planet Arous, assumes the body of scientist Steve March. Through March, he begins to control the world by threatening destruction to any country ... See full summary »

Director: Nathan Juran
Stars: John Agar, Joyce Meadows, Robert Fuller
Adventure | Fantasy | Sci-Fi
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 5.8/10 X  

Three men and a woman crash-land in a deep crater in Antarctica, where they find a prehistoric world.

Director: Virgil W. Vogel
Stars: Jock Mahoney, Shirley Patterson, William Reynolds
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 5.3/10 X  

Dr. Conway has perfected a machine which he believes will predict earthquakes, and has determined that one will strike California within 24 hours. He and his patron, Dr. Morton, attempt to ... See full summary »

Director: Fred F. Sears
Stars: Kathryn Grant, William Leslie, Tristram Coffin
The Werewolf (1956)
Sci-Fi | Horror
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 5.9/10 X  

Two scientists come across an auto accident, and find an unconscious man in the wreck. They take him back to their lab and inject him with a serum they have been working with. Unfortunately... See full summary »

Director: Fred F. Sears
Stars: Steven Ritch, Don Megowan, Joyce Holden
Fantasy | Horror | Sci-Fi
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 4.1/10 X  

Global panic ensues when it is revealed that a mysterious UFO is actually a giant bird that flies at supersonic speed and has no regard for life or architecture.

Director: Fred F. Sears
Stars: Jeff Morrow, Mara Corday, Morris Ankrum
Sci-Fi | Horror
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 5/10 X  

Aliens, contacting scientist Adam Penner, inform him that they have been on the moon for twenty thousand years, undetected due to their invisibility, and have now decided to annihilate ... See full summary »

Director: Edward L. Cahn
Stars: John Agar, Jean Byron, Philip Tonge
The 27th Day (1957)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.3/10 X  

Five individuals from five nations, including the "Superpowers," USA, USSR, and China, suddenly find themselves on an alien spacecraft. An alien gives each a container holding capsules. No ... See full summary »

Director: William Asher
Stars: Gene Barry, Valerie French, George Voskovec
Sci-Fi | Horror
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 3.9/10 X  

Strange things are happening in Riverdale, Illinois. A huge, seemingly alien structure has been found jutting out of the earth. Sent to investigate the origin of the mysterious object, ... See full summary »

Director: Bruno VeSota
Stars: Ed Nelson, Alan Jay Factor, Cornelius Keefe
Horror | Sci-Fi
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.4/10 X  

An alien agent from the distant planet Davana is sent to earth via a high-tech matter transporter. There he terrorizes Southern California in an attempt to acquire blood for his dying race, the result of a devastating nuclear war.

Director: Roger Corman
Stars: Paul Birch, Beverly Garland, Morgan Jones


Complete credited cast:
Richard Denning ...
Dr. Chet Walker
Joyce Walker
S. John Launer ...
Capt. Dave Harris
Michael Granger ...
Frank Buchanan
Gregory Gaye ...
Dr. Wilhelm Steigg (as Gregory Gay)
Linda Bennett ...
Penny Walker
Dist. Atty. MacGraw
Harry Lauter ...
Reporter #1
Larry J. Blake ...
Reporter #2 (as Larry Blake)
Charles Evans ...
Chief Camden
Pierre Watkin ...
Mayor Bremer


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 (

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis


Based on Scientific Facts! See more »


Unrated | See all certifications »




Release Date:

July 1955 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Le tueur au cerveau atomique  »

Company Credits

Production Co:

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:

(Western Electric Recording)

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
See  »

Did You Know?


Columbia booked this across the United States as a standard double bill with It Came from Beneath the Sea (1955) See more »


Jet planes are supposedly shown patrolling the city air space in order to detect a house emanating radioactivity. It's ludicrous to think that an aircraft traveling at supersonic speed would be able to isolate radioactivity in a single building. See more »


Penny Walker: [about her new doll] I'm going to call her Dave.
Dr. Chet Walker: Dave? Dave's a boy's name, that's a girl doll.
Penny Walker: I don't care... I know, I'll tell all my friends she's a tomboy.
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

This FAQ is empty. Add the first question.

User Reviews

Uncle Dave
29 October 2006 | by (Kentucky) – See all my reviews

Fans of late night 1950's science fiction (insert Cleveland's "Goulardi" show here) remember this not as "Creature with the Atom Brain" but as the movie with Uncle Dave. John Launer (in his first movie role) played police Capt. Dave Harr, whose niece was seven year old Penny Walker (Linda Bennett). Care is taken early to show that Penny adores her Uncle Dave and late in the story (in the most famous scene in the whole 50's sci-fi genre) he visits her on her birthday. But it is the re-animated Uncle Dave, whose changed voice Mrs. Walker credits to a cold. She leaves Penny in the living room with Dave and goes into the kitchen. Penny then gives Dave her doll Henrietta. Cut to Mrs. Edwards startled face when she hears Penny screaming in the living room. Poor Henrietta!

Launer pretty much steals the film from the rest of the cast, both before and after he is killed. As Captain Harr he cracks wise in every scene and his dialogue is actually extremely funny.

The premise, to quote Penny's father (Richard Denning): "Remote-controlled creatures, their brains powered by atomic energy, roaming the streets, directed from a central point".

The background involves the deportation of Frank Buchanan (Michael Granger), an American gangster who vows revenge and finances a not so mad German scientist (Gregory Gaye) who is developing a process (based on then trendy radioactivity) to animate dead bodies. They set up a laboratory in the lead lined walls of a LA mansion, steal a few bodies from the morgue, and begin a cottage industry of wiping out Buchanan's list of enemies.

The scientist spends most of his screen time complaining about the corruption of his noble experiment for evil means. The set design for the lab is unexpectedly elaborate and the sequences of the two men crawling around in a 1950's idea of radiation suits are especially effective.

One of their creatures in the climatic scene looks a lot like Treat Williams. This scene has a "Night of the Living Dead" flavor. Although the authorities have discovered that the bodies are controlled by electrodes surgically planted in their brains, they conveniently fail to mention this to the police and national guardsmen who are fighting the monsters; allowing the climatic scene to continue until other means are found to deactivate the creatures. Up until this scene, the movie deliberately used almost entirely wide master shots, much like the "mise en scene" (limited editing cuts within a scene) technique of some Hitchcock films. Probably done for budget reasons, it serves nicely to set up the climax, which is full of sudden cuts to extreme close-ups of the walking dead. This must have been quite frightening on the big screen, particularly after being accustomed to the more distanced style of the first sixty minutes of the film.

I suggest that potential viewers ignore the IMDb voting, this is a scary horror/sci-fi film done with a trace of self-parody. Another one of Producer Sam Katzman's money making B-movies; where he exploits the growing fear of a nation learning to deal with the atomic age, and its fascination with the concept of radioactivity.

12 of 12 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

Message Boards

Recent Posts
DVD release efrasnel-1
Creature With the Atom Brain on 10-27 @ TCM kooljerk666
Age of Penny (the daughter) in question? gcassidy2
Doesn't that guy with the pipe - skylands
Discuss Creature with the Atom Brain (1955) on the IMDb message boards »

Contribute to This Page

Create a character page for: