The Magnetic Monster

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The Magnetic Monster
The Magnetic Monster Poster.jpg
Film poster
Directed by Curt Siodmak
Herbert L. Strock
Produced by Ivan Tors
George Van Marter
Written by Curt Siodmak
Ivan Tors
Starring Richard Carlson
King Donovan
Narrated by Richard Carlson
Music by Blaine Sanford
Cinematography Charles Van Enger
Edited by Herbert L. Strock
Ivan Tors Films
Distributed by United Artists
Release dates
  • February 18, 1953 (1953-02-18)
Running time
76 minutes
Language English
Budget $105,000 (estimated)[1]

The Magnetic Monster is a 1953 independent science fiction film, directed by Curt Siodmak, and starring Richard Carlson, King Donovan and Jean Byron. The Magnetic Monster marked Carlson's initial foray into sci-fi and horror and he would follow it with several better known titles that would forever associate him with that genre: It Came from Outer Space (1953), The Maze (1953), Riders to the Stars (1954), Creature from the Black Lagoon (1954), and such TV series as Thriller and Voyage to the Bottom of the Sea.[2]

It is the first episode in Ivan Tors' Office of Scientific Investigation (OSI) trilogy, followed by Riders to the Stars and Gog.


A pair of agents from the Office of Scientific Investigation (OSI) are sent to investigate a local appliance store, where all of the clocks have stopped at the same time, and metal items in the store have been magnetized. The source of this is traced to an office located directly above the store, where scientific equipment is found, along with a dead body. There are also signs of radioactivity, but the cause of the difficulties itself is clearly no longer in the room, or the immediate area.

Investigation and request for citizen input eventually lead to an airline flight carrying a scientist, Dr. Howard Denker, who has developed signs of radiation sickness related to something in a heavy briefcase he carries and clutches irrationally. Before dying, he confesses to have been experimenting with an artificial radioactive isotope, serranium, which he had bombarded with alpha particles for 200 hours (8 days and 8 hours). Unfortunately, his so-far microscopic creation has taken on a life of its own: it must absorb energy from its surroundings every 11 hours, and in the process doubles in size and mass each time, releasing deadly radiation and incredibly intense magnetic energy.

The OSI officials realize that, with its rate of growth, it will only be a matter of days before it becomes large enough to affect the Earth's rotation on its axis and spin it out of orbit. They also discover that the isotope is impervious to any known means of destroying it or even rendering it inert. The only answer appears to be to use a Canadian experimental power generator being constructed in a cavern under the ocean, with the hopes of bombarding the element with so much energy in one surge that it neutralizes itself with its own "gluttony".

The two governments agree on this proposal, and the isotope is transferred to the project, dubbed the Deltatron, but there is a last minute objection from the engineer in charge of the project. With no time to lose, the lead OSI agent commandeers the machine and barely escapes, risking his own life to activate it before sealing the cavern-filling, multi-story device off from the rest of the underground operation, which is filled with project workers. The isotope is successfully stopped, as evidenced by the disappearance of the trace magnetism which it has produced following every energy absorption, although the Deltatron is also destroyed in the process. As the film comes to an end, the lead OSI agent and his wife (who is expecting their first child) complete the purchase of their first house, and begin moving in.


Production notes[edit]

  • The film used ten minutes of footage of an atom smasher from the German science fiction thriller Gold (1934) directed by Karl Hartl and produced by UFA.[2]
  • Although the music was composed by Blaine Sanford, it was actually performed by Korla Pandit (uncredited).


  1. ^ "The Magnetic Monster". The Internet Movie Database. 2012. Retrieved March 24, 2012. 
  2. ^ a b "The Magnetic Monster". Turner Classic Movies. 2012. Retrieved March 24, 2012. 

External links[edit]