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Creature with the Atom Brain (film)

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Creature with the Atom Brain
Creature with the atom brain 1955 poster.jpg
Directed byEdward L. Cahn
Screenplay byCurt Siodmak
Story byCurt Siodmak
StarringRichard Denning
CinematographyFred Jackman Jr.
Edited byAaron Stell
Color processBlack and white
Clover Productions
Distributed byColumbia Pictures
Release date
  • July 1955 (1955-07)
Running time
69 minutes
CountryUnited States

Creature with the Atom Brain is a 1955 American zombie horror science fiction film directed by Edward L. Cahn and starring Richard Denning.[1]

American gangster Frank Buchanan (Michael Granger) forces former Nazi scientist Wilhelm Steigg (Gregory Gaye) to create zombies by resurrecting corpses through atomic radiation in order to help him exact revenge on his enemies.

Creature with the Atom Brain was released as the bottom half of a double feature with It Came from Beneath the Sea.


A hulking zombie breaks into a mansion and kills a gangster named Hennesy. The blood stains left behind at the crime scene are radioactive, and the fingerprints of the killer are of a man who had died days before the murder; the police are baffled.

Gangster boss Frank Buchanan, who had been forced to flee the United States before he was deported, was betrayed by members of his own underworld gang. While traveling in Europe, he finds ex-Nazi scientist Wilhelm Steigg (Gaye), who is trying to reanimate the dead in order to provide a menial labor pool that is easily exploited. Buchanan funds the research and brings the scientist to America with the unstated goal of sending Steigg's zombies out to murder those who ousted him; one by one, they are killed in the same fashion.[2]

The police eventually discover the common connection between the murdered gang members and Buchanan. They try to put the remaining three into protective custody, but Buchanan uses a reanimated dead cop to kill one of them, and a reanimated dead police captain to kill the remaining two. When the zombie captain is captured, police doctor, Dr. Chet Walker (Denning) discovers an atomic-powered remote control brain implant and deduces what has been going on. When the zombie captain returns to Buchanan's hideout, they follow him.

When the police and army troops converge on Buchanan's lead-lined mansion, he kills Steigg and then sends out his unkillable zombies to battle them. Walker, however, is able to get into the mansion, but Buchanan attacks Walker and tries to shoot him. The still-animated zombie police captain breaks in and grabs and strangles Buchanan before he can fire a shot. Walker then smashes the atomic-powered equipment that controls the zombies; after doing so, they all collapse.



The film was made by Sam Katzman's Clover Productions for Columbia Pictures Corp.[3]


In The Zombie Movie Encyclopedia, academic Peter Dendle wrote, "Good '50s fun abounds, with all the twisted gender ideology and antiseptic social ideals that that implies, packed in a tightly-wrought action film with strong (if entertainingly dated) conceptual support".[4] David Maine of PopMatters rated it 6 out of 10 stars and called it "a thoroughly enjoyable, noir-ish SF chiller, if you can get past the dingbat wife and cutie-pie kid".[5]

DVD release

Sony Pictures Home Entertainment released the film on Region 1 DVD in October 2007 as part of the two-disc, four-film set, Icons of Horror Collection: Sam Katzman, which also included these Katzman-produced films: The Werewolf, The Giant Claw, and Zombies of Mora Tau.[6][7]


Creature with the Atom Brain inspired the name of the Belgian rock band Creature with the Atom Brain, as well as the 1980 Roky Erickson & The Aliens song of the same name, and the song Return of the Creature with the Atom Brain about George W. Bush by the band The Celibate Rifles.

Director Cahn would go on to make Invisible Invaders (1959) using the same basic concept (in the later film, invading aliens inhabit the reanimated corpses of humans).

See also


  1. ^ "Creature with the Atom Brain – Creature with the Atom Brain (1955) – Film". Retrieved 2012-08-06.
  2. ^ Rovin, Jeff (1987). The Encyclopedia of Supervillains. New York: Facts on File. pp. 276–277. ISBN 0-8160-1356-X.
  3. ^ Schallert, Edwin (July 28, 1954). "'Can Can' Buy Inspires Cast Conjectures; 'Atom Brain Creature' On Way". Los Angeles Times. p. 15.
  4. ^ Dendle, Peter (2001). The Zombie Movie Encyclopedia. McFarland & Company. pp. 37–38. ISBN 978-0-7864-9288-6.
  5. ^ Maine, David (2013-08-29). "Don't Open That Door! #54: 'Creature with the Atom Brain' (1955)". PopMatters. Retrieved 2015-01-30.
  6. ^ "The Giant Claw (1957) – Fred Sears – Releases – AllMovie".
  7. ^ "DVD Savant Review: Icons of Horror Collection: Sam Katzman".


  • Warren, Bill. Keep Watching the Skies: American Science Fiction Films of the Fifties, 21st Century Edition. Jefferson, North Carolina: McFarland & Company, 2009 (First Edition 1982). ISBN 0-89950-032-3.

External links

This page was last edited on 24 October 2021, at 17:01
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