Creature with the Atom Brain (1955)

69 mins | Horror, Science fiction | July 1955

Director:

Edward L. Cahn

Writer:

Curt Siodmak

Producer:

Sam Katzman

Cinematographer:

Fred Jackman Jr.

Editor:

Aaron Stell

Production Designer:

Paul Palmentola

Production Company:

Clover Productions, Inc.
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HISTORY

In the film's HR production chart, actor S. John Launer is listed as Sol ... More Less

In the film's HR production chart, actor S. John Launer is listed as Sol Lorner. More Less

SOURCE CITATIONS
SOURCE
DATE
PAGE
Box Office
18 Jun 1955.
---
Daily Variety
17 Jun 55
p. 3.
Film Daily
27 Jun 55
p. 6.
Hollywood Reporter
29 Oct 54
p. 8.
Hollywood Reporter
17 Jun 55
p. 3.
Motion Picture Herald Product Digest
18 Jun 55
p. 483.
Variety
22 Jun 55
p. 6.
DETAILS
Release Date:
July 1955
Production Date:
28 October--5 November 1954
Copyright Claimant:
Columbia Pictures Corp.
Copyright Date:
8 April 1955
Copyright Number:
LP4584
Physical Properties:
Sound
Western Electric Recording
Black and White
Widescreen/ratio
1.85:1
Duration(in mins):
69
Length(in reels):
7
Country:
United States
Language:
English
PCA No:
17349
Passed by NBR:
No
SYNOPSIS

A strange man with abnormal strength breaks into the seemingly impregnable home of gangster boss Hennessey and informs him that he is Frank Buchanan, then effortlessly snaps the mobster's spine. The man escapes despite being shot several times by Hennessey's henchmen. Some miles away in a large house lined with lead paneling, ex-convict Buchanan and scientist Professor Steigg control the actions of the strange man by means of electrodes implanted in his brain and blood that has been transformed by exposure to radiation. Police laboratory head Dr. Chet Walker is assigned to the investigation of Hennessey's murder and quickly discovers that the murderer's fingerprints and blood are luminous. After running several tests on the samples, Chet reports to Capt. Dave Harris, chief of Homicide, that the blood contained no hemoglobin but a strange radioactive combination. Dave reveals that the fingerprints were identified as belonging to ex-con Willard Pierce, who is listed by the city morgue as having died twenty-four days before the killing. Meanwhile, across town, District Attorney MacGraw is approached in his garage by a strange man who then breaks the attorney's neck. When news of MacGraw's murder comes through, Dave checks on possible links to Hennessey, while Chet checks the murder site for radioactive emissions. The murderer's fingerprints are identified as belonging to a man who died a week earlier, and Chet is startled to learn that eight other bodies have recently been stolen from the city morgue. Chet theorizes to inquiring reporters that the murders are being committed by dead men mysteriously powered by atomic energy and brain electrodes, but the reporters believe he is ridiculing them. ... +


A strange man with abnormal strength breaks into the seemingly impregnable home of gangster boss Hennessey and informs him that he is Frank Buchanan, then effortlessly snaps the mobster's spine. The man escapes despite being shot several times by Hennessey's henchmen. Some miles away in a large house lined with lead paneling, ex-convict Buchanan and scientist Professor Steigg control the actions of the strange man by means of electrodes implanted in his brain and blood that has been transformed by exposure to radiation. Police laboratory head Dr. Chet Walker is assigned to the investigation of Hennessey's murder and quickly discovers that the murderer's fingerprints and blood are luminous. After running several tests on the samples, Chet reports to Capt. Dave Harris, chief of Homicide, that the blood contained no hemoglobin but a strange radioactive combination. Dave reveals that the fingerprints were identified as belonging to ex-con Willard Pierce, who is listed by the city morgue as having died twenty-four days before the killing. Meanwhile, across town, District Attorney MacGraw is approached in his garage by a strange man who then breaks the attorney's neck. When news of MacGraw's murder comes through, Dave checks on possible links to Hennessey, while Chet checks the murder site for radioactive emissions. The murderer's fingerprints are identified as belonging to a man who died a week earlier, and Chet is startled to learn that eight other bodies have recently been stolen from the city morgue. Chet theorizes to inquiring reporters that the murders are being committed by dead men mysteriously powered by atomic energy and brain electrodes, but the reporters believe he is ridiculing them. At their hidden lab, Buchanan and Steigg watch the news and Buchanan vows to silence Chet, ignoring Steigg's feeble protests. Chet and Dave meet with Mayor Bremer and Gen. Saunders to present their theory, and Chet asks Saunders to track any missing sources of radioactive materials. Dave visits Chet at home that evening to inform him that years earlier, Hennessey assisted MacGraw in convicting a rival gangster, Buchanan, who vowed revenge at his trial before being deported. The Italian police then report that Buchanan had spent some years associated with a Swiss professor and funded a number of the doctor's experiments on animals. The report also indicates that Buchanan left Rome some time ago but contains no information on his current whereabouts. Chet and Dave decide to offer protection to the other three participants in Buchanan's trial, but when informed, the men decline, insisting it would disrupt their current lives. Dave gives them full-time police protection, nevertheless. A few nights later, however, one of Buchanan's creatures, dressed as a policeman, fools the police on duty at the home of former Hennessey associate Jason Franchot and kills him. The latest murder shocks the press into realizing the atomic-powered killer theory is true, and the Army then steps up their investigation. One afternoon, Steigg spots soldiers conducting random radiation tests and flees into a bar, but hurries away when the soldiers approach. The radiation examined on the bar stool and glass Steigg used is significant and reported to Dave. When the fingerprints identify Steigg, his research is scrutinized and it is discovered that he focused on special brain implants that allowed controlled movement. During the next meeting with the mayor, Buchanan telephones and threatens to destroy the town, prompting Bremer to order a maximum Army alert. Buchanan sends out his dead creatures to wreck havoc on the town, sabotaging trains, buses and airplanes. Buchanan then attempts to get Chet, but on the day of his attack, Chet asks Dave to drive his ailing car home for him. Buchanan has the dead Franchot kill Dave and return his body to Buchanan, who has Steigg revive him as an atomic creature. Buchanan then sends Dave to Chet's home, where he finds Chet's young daughter Penny and his wife Joyce, who inadvertently reveal the jail where Chet and Dave have placed the last two men associated with Buchanan's arrest. Dave goes to the jail and kills the two men. As Dave leaves, Chet spots him and gets in the car with him, wondering about his strange behavior. When Dave does not respond to Chet's questions and a police report over the radio announces the latest murders, Chet realizes Dave is dead. Buchanan orders Dave to crash the car, but Chet leaps clear before the accident. Later, at a police hospital, Dave is examined carefully and electrodes are discovered implanted in his brain. Chet suspects that Dave will return to his source of energy to replenish himself and allows his escape. Back at Buchanan's, Steigg at last grows defiant about the murders and mayhem and tries to destroy the laboratory, but Buchanan kills him. Dave leads Chet and the police to Buchanan's hideout and several creatures attack them. Dave breaks into the laboratory, followed by Chet, who tangles with Buchanan and is temporarily dazed. Dave turns on Buchanan and kills him, as Chet revives and destroys the laboratory, thereby killing all the creatures. +

Legend
Viewed by AFI
Partially Viewed
Offscreen Credit
Name Occurs Before Title
AFI Life Achievement Award

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