Atom Age Vampire

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Atom Age Vampire
Atom-age-vampire-poster.jpg
Italian poster for Atom Age Vampire
Directed by Anton Giulio Majano
Produced by Mario Bava
Written by Alberto Bevilacqua
Gino De Santis
Anton Giulio Majano
Piero Monviso
Starring Alberto Lupo
Susanne Loret
Sergio Fantoni
Music by Armando Trovajoli
Cinematography Aldo Giordani
Edited by Gabriele Varriale
Production
  company
Leone Film
Distributed by Manson Distributing Corp
Release date(s) August 19, 1960[1]
Running time 105 mins
Country Italy
Language Italian

Atom Age Vampire (Italian: Seddok, l'erede di Satana, UK title: Seddok) is a 1960[1] black-and-white Italian horror/science fiction film directed by Anton Giulio Majano and starring Alberto Lupo.

Plot[edit]

When a singer (Susanne Loret) is horribly disfigured in a car accident, a scientist (Dr. Levin, played by Alberto Lupo) develops a treatment which can restore her beauty by injecting her with a special serum. While performing the procedure, however, he falls in love with her. As the treatment begins to fail, he determines to save her appearance, regardless of how many women he must kill for her sake.

Despite the implication of its American title, the film does not feature an actual vampire. The titular Seddok is actually the brilliant but deranged scientist Dr. Levin, mutated by a chemical formula created using radiation. Dr. Levin studied the effects of radiation on living tissue in post-Hiroshima Japan, and created an imperfect and teratogenic serum, "Derma 25", which he later refined into the miraculous healing agent "Derma 28" which he uses to treat the heroine. When his supply of Derma 28 runs out, he realizes he must kill to obtain more, and injects himself with Derma 25 in order to become monstrous and remorseless, so that he may seek these victims without hesitation. Because many of the murders take place near the docks where shiploads of Japanese refugees are arriving, and leave behind the victims' bodies with holes in the neck where Dr. Levin has extracted the glands, the refugees claim that a vampire (whom they call "Seddok", though this is not a Japanese name) is responsible for the attacks. During a meeting with police, a restored-to-humanity Dr. Levin speculates that the Hiroshima survivors' tales of a mutated killer are due to psychological strain from the radiation damage to their bodies...but also wonders aloud whether the "vampire" these witnesses describe might simply be a disturbed man wishing to be normal again.

Cast[edit]

Actor Role
Alberto Lupo Prof. Alberto Levin
Susanne Loret Jeanette Moreneau
Sergio Fantoni Pierre Mornet
Franca Parisi (it) Monique Riviere
Andrea Scotti (it) the gardener
Rina Franchetti
Roberto Bertea (it) Sacha
Ivo Garrani
Glamor Mora
Gianna Piaz (it)

Release[edit]

Atom Age Vampire was filmed in 1.66:1 aspect ratio on 35-millimeter film and was first shown in Los Angeles on May 29, 1963, three years after its 1960 production and original premiere in Italy.[1] The running time of the Italian version was 105 minutes, but in its 1963 U.S. theatrical run, the film was shorn of 18 minutes, clocking in at 87 minutes. It lost an additional 15 to 18 minutes by the time it was released on videocassette and DVD, where the timing is generally given as 69 or 72 minutes. This public domain film has had a number of DVD releases.

Remakes[edit]

Animated version[edit]

In 2009, animator Scott Bateman released a new version of Atom Age Vampire under a Creative Commons license. This version was created by taking the English-language soundtrack to the film and pairing it with animated visuals created using Adobe Flash. This includes a constant flow of subtitles and super-titles making humorous remarks and adding another layer of dialog and commentary to the film.

In this version, romantic lead Pierre (who spurned Jeanette before her accident, but later seeks her out) is depicted as a pirate, while Sacha (the doctor's mute gardener) has a single Cyclopean eye. The titles frequently refer to various "high culture" artistic endeavors of Sacha's being postponed or interrupted, such as critiquing the poetry of T. S. Eliot or working on a replica of Michelangelo's David.

This version intentionally invites comparison to both What's Up, Tiger Lily?, a film in which director Woody Allen took a Japanese film and recorded a new sound track embodying a wholly different plot, and Mystery Science Theater 3000, in which films receive an added layer of humorous commentary with language, audio and visual elements.

2011 version[edit]

In 2011, British artist Adam Roberts made Remake, a scene for scene reshoot of the original film using the dubbed English soundtrack, but minus the presence of any of the characters.[2]

References[edit]

Further reading[edit]

  • Wingrove, David. (1985). Science Fiction Film Source Book. Longman Group Limited.

External links[edit]