Creature with the Atom Brain (film)
|Creature with the Atom Brain|
|Directed by||Edward L. Cahn|
|Written by||Curt Siodmak|
|Screenplay by||Curt Siodmak|
|Story by||Curt Siodmak|
|Cinematography||Fred Jackman Jr.|
|Edited by||Aaron Stell|
|Distributed by||Columbia Pictures|
Creature with the Atom Brain is a 1955 American black-and-white zombie science fiction film from Columbia Pictures, produced by Sam Katzman, directed by Edward L. Cahn, that stars Richard Denning, Angela Stevens, S. John Launer, Michael Granger and Gregory Gaye. The screenplay was written by Curt Siodmak.
American gangster Frank Buchanan (Granger) forces former Nazi scientist Wilhelm Steigg (Gaye) to create zombies by resurrecting corpses through atomic radiation in order to help him exact revenge on his enemies.
A hulking zombie breaks into a mansion and kills a gangster named Hennesy. The blood stains left behind at the crime scene are radioactive, and the fingerprints of the killer are of a man who had died days before the murder; the police are baffled.
Gangster boss Frank Buchanan, who had been forced to flee the United States before he was deported, was betrayed by members of his own underworld gang. While traveling in Europe, he finds ex-Nazi scientist Wilhelm Steigg (Gaye), who is trying to reanimate the dead in order to provide a menial labor pool that is easily exploited. Buchanan funds the research and brings the scientist to America with the unstated goal of sending Steigg's zombies out to murder those who ousted him; one by one, they are killed in the same fashion.
The police eventually discover the common connection between the murdered gang members and Buchanan. They try to put the remaining three into protective custody, but Buchanan uses a reanimated dead cop to kill one of them, and a reanimated dead police captain to kill the remaining two. When the zombie captain is captured, police doctor, Dr. Chet Walker (Denning) discovers an atomic-powered remote control brain implant and deduces what has been going on.
Police and army troops converge on Buchanan's lead-lined mansion, and he sends out his unkillable zombies to battle them. Walker, however, is able to get into the mansion and smash the atomic-powered equipment that controls the zombies; after doing so, they all collapse. Buchanan is about to shoot Walker, but the still-animated zombie police captain, now under Walker's control, grabs and strangles Buchanan before he can fire a shot.
- Richard Denning as Dr. Chet Walker
- Angela Stevens as Joyce Walker
- S. John Launer as Capt. Dave Harris
- Michael Granger as Frank Buchanan
- Gregory Gaye as Dr. Wilhelm Steigg
- Linda Bennett as Penny Walker
- Tristram Coffin as District Attorney McGraw
- Harry Lauter as Reporter #1
- Larry J. Blake as Reporter #2
- Charles Evans as Chief Camden
- Pierre Watkin as Mayor Bremer
- Lane Chandler as Gen. Saunders (uncredited)
- Richard H. Cutting as Dick Cutting, radio broadcaster (uncredited)
- Charles Horvath as Creature Extra (uncredited)
The film was made by Sam Katzman's Clover Productions for Columbia Pictures Corp.
In The Zombie Movie Encyclopedia, academic Peter Dendle wrote, "Good '50s fun abounds, with all the twisted gender ideology and antiseptic social ideals that that implies, packed in a tightly-wrought action film with strong (if entertainingly dated) conceptual support". David Maine of PopMatters rated it 6 out of 10 stars and called it "a thoroughly enjoyable, noir-ish SF chiller, if you can get past the dingbat wife and cutie-pie kid".
Sony Pictures Home Entertainment released the film on DVD in October 2007 as part of the two-disc, four-film set Icons of Horror Collection: Sam Katzman, along with three other films produced by Katzman (The Werewolf, The Giant Claw and Zombies of Mora Tau).
Director Cahn would go on to make Invisible Invaders (1959) using the same basic concept (in the later film, invading aliens inhabit the reanimated corpses of humans).
- "Creature with the Atom Brain - Creature with the Atom Brain (1955) - Film". CineMagia.ro. Retrieved 2012-08-06.
- 'Can Can' Buy Inspires Cast Conjectures; 'Atom Brain Creature' On Way Schallert, Edwin. Los Angeles Times (1923-Current File) [Los Angeles, Calif] 28 July 1954: 15.
- Dendle, Peter (2001). The Zombie Movie Encyclopedia. McFarland & Company. pp. 37–38. ISBN 978-0-7864-9288-6.
- Maine, David (2013-08-29). "Don't Open That Door! #54: 'Creature with the Atom Brain' (1955)". PopMatters. Retrieved 2015-01-30.
- "The Giant Claw (1957) - Fred Sears - Releases - AllMovie".
- "DVD Savant Review: Icons of Horror Collection: Sam Katzman".
- Warren, Bill. Keep Watching the Skies: American Science Fiction Films of the Fifties, 21st Century Edition. Jefferson, North Carolina: McFarland & Company, 2009 (First Edition 1982). ISBN 0-89950-032-3.
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