Mad Science inessential — The Atomic Brain

Death or victory
A bizarre instrument?

An early and probably malign influence from my childhood UHF TV-watching days was a 1964 movie called either Monstrosity or The Atomic Brain.  It had mad science, brain swaps, three lovely girls in terrible peril, the mind of a cat in a woman’s body, and the unholy quest for immortality by one of the most unpleasant old-lady characters to grace the grade-Z screen.

Despite all these pluses it feels overlong even at 65 minutes.  But oh, it does have its moments.

Such as an early cinematic naked girl-in-a-tubeTwo of  them, within the first ten minutes.  The people who made this might not have been great writers, but they sure knew about getting sexploitative early.  Here is the second of them:

The poor naked thing is a corpse, stolen froma nearby graveyard.  The man in the radiation suit is our anti-heroic mad scientist, attempting to revive her tissues (by means of “atomic fission, produced in the cyclotron,” according to the narrator), so that he can then implant an animal’s brain (!) in her.  Unfortunately, it doesn’t work so well, and she ends up merely as a zombie.

Maybe this movie isn’t quite so bad after all.  Is it available at the Internet Archive?  But of course!

Enjoy if you can. (And if you can’t just a little, why are you here?)

3 thoughts on “Mad Science inessential — The Atomic Brain

  1. A similar film, only without the tubular girls, is “The Creature with the Atomic Brain” of 1955, another gem from the UHF or Zinc age of SF. The nazi scientist revives dead bodies for the benefit of a gangster, who has the zombies rob banks and knock off the rivals who toppled him from gangland’s throne. It’s not clear what the radiation (cyclotron or otherwise) has to do with this.

    • Looked it up, and realized that this movie is probably even better than it sounds, in large measure because it was written by Curt Siodmak, who also wrote the story for The Invisible Woman, a topic of more than passing interest around here, as well as Donovan’s Brain, and — can this be? — a movie called Love Slaves of the Amazons?

      “Atom Brain” does not seem to be at the Internet Archive, sadly. Guess I’ll have to hope for being sleepless on the right late night…

  2. Kurt Siodmak also wrote “Der Tunnel”, a fabulous 1935 UFA SF film, where the engineer is building a high-speed rail tunnel from England to North America! It includes such strange interludes like drilling near a submarine volcano and a joint session of the US Senate and the British House of Commons via short-wave TV. Another great one was “Floating Platform 1 Doesn’t Answer”, where the engineer builds floating airstrips to refuel transatlantic planes.

    UFA did an interesting thing in this era before the perfection of voice dubbing. They would film the movie three times, with different sets of actors, one German, one English, one French. So while the Germans were using the Radium Drill set for the Tunnel, the English would be setting up the US senate scene, etc. The big special effect shots were shared between them.

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