movie review

Flashback Review: March 9th, 2014 Movie – The Atomic Brain

the atomic brain

Oh boy, yet another movie from the Sci-Fi Classics set. Sometimes I wonder why I even bought this collection. Oh yeh. I remember now. Because at the time, I didn’t own any of the Showa era Gamera movies and this collection has 3 of them in it. That’s why. Still, there have been a couple of movies in this set that have surprised me. But I still can’t help but feel that the movies in this collection, and some of the other Mills Creek collections, were nothing more than bargain bin leftovers that someone scraped together and slapped on DVD. Well let’s go ahead and get the review for The Atomic Brain over with.

The plot: Dr. Otto Frank has stolen the body of a recently deceased girl, and replaced her brain with that of an animal in order to see if it is possible to transplant someone’s brain and revive it using atomic fission. Dr. Frank goes to a mortuary to steal another body, accompanied by Hans, a failed experiment where Dr. Frank grafted an animal’s brain in a human’s body, who kills a watchman, then carries the body of the dead girl for Dr. Frank when they leave. Back at the lab, Dr. Frank attempts another another experience, all at the behest of Hetty March, a rich old woman, who is funding Dr. Franks experiments in order for Dr. Frank to try and place her brain in a younger body. Hetty hires three girls to serve as housekeeper, but in reality, she is planning on choosing one of them so serve as her new body, providing that Dr. Frank’s experiments succeed. The next day, Victor, the man that Hetty keeps around to serve her, picks up the three women, Nina Rhodes, Beatrice “Bea” Mullins, and Anita Gonzalez. After looking them over, Hetty makes her decision and has Victor show the girls to their rooms. That night, Anita hears a noise outside her room and when she investigates, she screams at what she sees. The next day, Nina and Bea are polishing the silverware and discussing Anita’s disappearance. They decide to investigate and after realizing that all of Anita’s clothes are still there, they attempt to sneak into another room in the basement, but are forced to hide when Dr. Frank appears. Deciding to leave the house, the two girls hastily pack some bags and attempt to sneak out but are forced to wait, as Hetty is wandering around the house looking for them. Hetty makes her way down to the basement, where she sees their attempts to get into the locked room in the basement. Meanwhile, Dr. Frank has succeeded in transferring the brain of his cat, Xerxes, into Anita’s body, but as he works on other tasks, he doesn’t notice an the body of an earlier experiment getting up and leaving the room. Unable to leave the house, the girls find themselves locked in Bea’s room by Hetty, and witness the girl being attacked by Hans until he is chased off by Dr. Frank. Still trying to find a way to escape, the girls decide to try and have Bea steal Victor’s keys. Bea attempts to seduce Victor, but when Victor is called away by Hetty, Bea sits out on the gazebo, where she sees Anita on top of the gazebo and attempts to help her down, but Anita, acting like a cat, attacks her. Hearing the commotion from Hans outside, Nina opens her window and after looking out, sees Anita on the roof and she goes to try and help her. When she gets to the roof, Anita, not trusting Nina, attempts to climb down from the roof and ends up falling to her death. Nina goes to inform Dr. Frank, where she discovers a sedated Bea, who was brought to Dr. Frank’s lab after her eyes were damaged by Anita’s attack. Dr. Frank explains what he is trying to do to Nina but Nina criticizes him, knowing that she is probably the next girl to be experimented on. That night, Nina tries to convince Victor to help her and Bea escape, but after she leaves the room, Hetty, who had overheard their discussion, kills Victor. When Nina discovers Victor’s body, she is drugged by Dr. Frank and taken down to the basement so he can perform his experiment. When Nina awakens, she finds out that Dr. Frank had transferred Hetty’s brain into the body of his cat and plans to keep Nina around while he conducts his experiments without any restrictions or distractions. However, when he goes insode the nuclear chamber, the cat manages to trigger the switch which will cause the reactor to explode. Bea, feeling the building beginning to shake, makes her way to the basement and frees Nina, but winds up being killed by some of the equipment. Nina manages to get out of the house before it explodes, unaware that she is being followed by Hetty the cat, who is seeking revenge on her.

The good thing about some of these old movies is that they are short. Still, this is about what I expected from an old movie from the 50’s, but since this came out in 63, it is a bit disappointing. The acting was about what you would expect form an early 60’s B-movie. I will give props to Lisa Lang (Anita) for doing a good job when she was supposed to be playing a cat. The story was not entirely original, essentially a play off of Frankenstein, although in a much vainer aspect. I did like the twist thThe special effects were mostly just a lot of lights flashing, nothing real fancy but you didn’t really need much more than that. If you like old scifi/horror movies, you will probably enjoy this, but it won’t be for everyone.

Rating: 2 out of 5

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