I grew up in the fifties/sixties and was feed a steady diet on TV of those pseudo-scientific movies populated with giant scorpions, ants, gila monsters, and every manner of nuclear infuses monsters run amuck. CREATURE WITH THE ATOM BRAIN is one I managed to miss along the way, but it fits neatly into that genre, as well as another: the zombie movie. The plot also throws in ex-Nazi mad scientists and gangsters.
It all begins when a man of incredible strength breaks into the home of a gangster named Hennessey, declares he’s Frank Buchanan, and kills the man, snapping his back with ease. Absorbing several bullets from the gang boss’s men without trouble, he makes his escape.
Richard Denning is Dr. Chet Walker, head of the police lab. The murderer left plenty of fingerprints and blood from the bullet wounds. he blood glows in the dark and is radioactive, though not dangerous unless there is prolonged exposure. The fingerprints are most revealing, belonging to a man who’d died a week earlier, part of a group of nine bodies that had disappeared from the city morgue.
A series of murders follow. District Attorney MacGraw is next, his neck snapped. Again, fingerprints show a dead man committed the crime. That same hint of radiation is also present.
it’s learned that the two men had worked together to get a gangster named Frank Buchanan(Michael Granger) deported to Italy. He’d sworn revenge on all involved. Officials there reported that Buchanan had spent a lot of time the company of an ex-Nazi scientist named Dr. Wilhelm Steigg(Gregory Gaye), funding a number of his experinents on animals, and that both had disappeared a few months back.
Three more men were part of that trial and are offered protection. All refuse, claiming it will inhibit their lives and they can take care of themselves. Until another of them is murdered horribly. killed by Chet’s friend, Captain Dave Harris(S. John Launer), who’d been captured and killed by one of the zombies because he was driving Chet’s car, the real target. His brain had been wired for radio control and his blood impregnated with radioactive material. He’s captured and examined by Chet, who’s starting to figure it out. When Walker convinces the army that it is all real, the hunt is own. Radiation trucks are sent with big sweeping antenna around the city. While out getting a drink, Steigg spots one of the trucks and realizes they will soon be found. He leaves fingerprints behind that identify him.
The Dave Harris zombie is trying to get back to get a recharge and Chet and the army follow him and we get the slam bang finale where Buchanan and Steigg’s army of zombies attack the army as Chet tries to get inside and destroy the machinery used to control them.
Not a bad film.
I believe Todd Mason is back after taking care of family business.