Monday, October 7, 2013

Matinee Monday - Creature With the Atom Brain (1955)

Creature With the Atom Brain (1955) poster

Creature With The Atom Brain (1955) is one of those fun, cheesy sci-fi films that could only have been made in the 50's.  I adore these films.  You can take the subject seriously or you may just enjoy the awesomeness and laugh along with the cast.

The first murder

The plot is simple - mafia-style criminal Frank Buchanen (played by Michael Granger) comes back from exile with an ex-Nazi scientist in tow.  Buchanen, naturally, is on a revenge kick.  He and scientist Dr. Wilhelm Steigg (played by Gregory Gaye) helps him by taking corpses and hooking up an atomic device to their brains.  From this, Buchanen and Steigg can control the zombie and watch what they do on a television through projectors in their eyes.  Simple, right?

Is that radiation, or are you just happy to see me?

Naturally, when the bodies start piling up, and the morgue is raided of all the bodies, the police are interested.  Enter Doctor Chet Walker (played by Richard Denning) and Captain Dave Harris (played by S. John Launer).  I couldn't really figure this out.  They seem to be cop partners, yet Dr. Walker is clearly the town doctor/scientist.  I adore Richard Denning - especially on Old Time Radio.  He was great opposite Lucille Ball on My Favorite Husband and as Jerry North on Mr. and Mrs. North.  I think of him as a more elegant actor, and it's kind of painful to see him in a cheesy film.  It's like watching John Dehner as the Witch Doctor in Captive Girl (1950) [I will review this "film" in the future].  So painful and below their talent level.  On a painful side not, at one point Denning limps around.  Did he have a limp in real life?  Was this part of the character?  Or did he get hurt while filming? 

The Final Battle

In addition to the revenge-driven, remote-controlled zombies, Dr. Walker has a model 50's wife and daughter.  They do an admirable job, but don't seem quite necessary to the plot at all.  Angela Stevens, the actress who played his wife Joyce seems quite the lady.  Some fast facts:

Based on "Real Scientific Facts"!

She never took acting lessons

For not that prestigious an actress, Stevens' head is everywhere

She retired in the late 1960's in order to take care of her fifteen-year-old son jumped off a pier and hit a sandbar, breaking his neck.  He lived another twenty-three years.  I have the utmost respect for mothers who devote themselves to their disabled children.  They are a gift.  Thankfully my mother was one.

Dot-Head goes for a choke-out

She sued Carole Chris of California, a women's clothing store, for $36,500 ocelot attack (ala Babou from Archer - Love that show!)  Since she claimed it cost her the female lead in 1955's Six Bridge's to Cross (a role that went to Julie Adams), they settled out of court in September 1956. - [Source]

Angela, pre-Babou-style attact

A frank quote from Angela Stevens: "To me, it was just work.  You go, you say your horrible lines, you get paid.  I am glad I did it though, and it is something fun to talk about if anyone should ask, although I don't normal mention it otherwise.  It was a section of my life that was interesting and I was glad I took part in it." - [Source]

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