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Edward L. Cahn
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Alan Jay Factor,
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)
Having just seen this for the first time, I was pleasantly surprised; this is a solid, well-acted and scripted, somewhat tongue-and-cheek but scary horror/sci-fi film with a premise simutaneously nightmarishly banal/outrageous: a petty American criminal (looking like a cheap burley thug, the kind who would "threaten" George Reeves on the cheap sets on the t.v. Superman) hooks up in Europe with a German (read: Nazi) scientist experimenting with neural stimulation, and uses the doctor to seek revenge on his enemies by having the doctor's lab subjects become zombiefied killing machines, all via t.v. screens and microphones. The scenes of the gangster and the conflicted scientist constantly standing in front of the screens is at once deliberately "boring" and yet so weirdly disturbing. Even more disturbing and nightmarish are the two of them constantly donning radiation suits to crawl through what looks like some sort of embryonic white plastic tunnel to get to the lab and work on the zombies brains. The science fiction is contrasted humorously with the white-picket fence-ish 1950's domesticity of Richard Denning and his little family. Ah, Richard Denning! Golden wavy-haired, stalwart, fine-figured, supremely handsome, serious yet light-hearted, flirting with his wife yet always ready at a moment's notice to follow up any lead as a police doctor. One of the delights of this movie is a sort of spoof of pipe-smoking! Denning and a detective constantly light up so much that the detective offers Richard to "try my special blend". We also get the much used and appreciated staple of 50's sci-fi movies, the educational film strip, although here it is a bare, er, "bones" demonstration, with just a little doggy who has electrodes on his head. (I do NOT recommend this film for children say, under 12 years old!) The climax has a very "modern" Night of the Living Dead feel to it. The plot moves along at a satisfying pace and never lags. The dialog is punchy and clever. The villains are definitely memorable in a strangely "unmemorable" way. (the genius of the movie, I think!) I highly recommend this to all sci-fi/horror film buffs.
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