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Ghost Canyon

'Creature with the Atom Brain - 60th Anniversary'
(Richard Denning, Angela Stevens, S. John Launer, Michael Granger, Gregory Gaye, et al / DVD / NR / (1955) 2015 / Mill Creek Entertainment)

Overview: From the pen of the legendary Curt Siodmak (The Wolf Man, Donovan's Brain) and director Edward L. Cahn (It! The Terror From Beyond Space) comes this smash-bang thriller starring Richard Denning (Creature From The Black Lagoon) as a police doctor hot on the trail of a mob boss who's hired an ex-Nazi scientist to re-animate his dead thugs to do more dirty work!

DVD Verdict: I actually saw 'Creature With The Atom Brain' when I was 11 years old. To this day, no horror film has scared me more. The opening credits are shown over a view of one of the creatures lumbering through the woods with the accompanying sound of a beating heart. At the final credit we get a closeup view of the creature's face complete with the telltale stitches across his forehead. The carnage has begun I guess it was that these seemingly unstoppable creatures looked so ordinary, except for their awkward gait and gruesome stitches, that made them seem so scary.

Indeed, I had to walk (run) by some woods in the dark on the way home from this movie and I was quite convinced that one of these guys was going to stroll out from among the trees and break me in half just as the first creature, Karl 'Killer" Davis, did to his gangster victim in the opening scene! Nobody should enter his garage without checking to either side of the garage door to make sure one of the creatures isn't lurking there waiting to rip the steering wheel from your car before throttling you with one hand.

As for the premise of this "delightful" film, well, to quote Penny's father (Richard Denning): "Remote-controlled creatures, their brains powered by atomic energy, roaming the streets, directed from a central point". The background involves the deportation of Frank Buchanan (Michael Granger), an American gangster who vows revenge and finances a not so mad German scientist (Gregory Gaye) who is developing a process (based on then trendy radioactivity) to animate dead bodies. They set up a laboratory in the lead lined walls of a LA mansion, steal a few bodies from the morgue, and begin a cottage industry of wiping out Buchanan's list of enemies.

The scientist spends most of his screen time complaining about the corruption of his noble experiment for evil means. The set design for the lab is unexpectedly elaborate and the sequences of the two men crawling around in a 1950's idea of radiation suits are especially effective.

So, as you can now tell/imagine, the 'Creature with the Atom Brain - 60th Anniversary' is not a high tech movie nor is it overly bloody, but the threat of bodies raised from the dead being able to bend the bars on a window as if they were well wet noodles, let alone take multiple gunshots without noticing, was more than enough to scare the pants off of an 11 year old! Once the creature had you zeroed in, there was no hope. This is a Full Screen Presentation (1.33:1) enhanced for 16x9 TVs.