Thursday, September 8, 2016

Moviestopped: The Atomic Brain

Let's go from new stuff to old school!  Today's Film is The Atomic Brain, a 1963 Sci-Fi Thriller that is a bit silly.  The Plot: a Scientist is trying to find a way to swap the brains of people and animals.  Why?  Why not?!?  The actual reason: because he can.  Seriously, that's it.  As luck would have it, a mean old lady could use his potential breakthrough to help herself.  Caught in the middle- a trio of young ladies in the wrong place at the wrong time.  Speaking of timing issues, this Film was apparently made in 1958, but the money ran out.  When in doubt, Edit it until it makes sense!  This does explain the overwrought narration throughout- it sure is cheaper than making new Scenes.  Apparently the Director was even fired before the whole thing was done.  Speaking of the Director (Joseph V. Mascelli), this is his only Directing Credit.  He did serve as the Director of Photography for The Incredibly Strange Creatures Who Stopped Living and Became Mixed-Up Zombies?!?- he must have been proud.  The big thing about this one is the bizarre science involved.  Given that it is from the Writer of The Indestructible Man, I'd expect that a 5-year-old Neil Degrasse Tyson could rip it to shreds.  Is it good though?  To find out, read on...
As the Film blatantly tells us the Plot via Narration, we learn that a man is close to mastering Brain Transplants.  The key- blasting the donor brain with radiation.

No, really.
We learn that he has been experimenting with transplanting the brains of the dead this way, but wants to see if it can work with living donors.  Luckily, a morally-ambiguous woman is happy to pay him!
Oh and he apparently put an animal (he doesn't say what kind) brain in this guy.  Logic!
The woman wants a new body in order to prolong her life.  As luck would have it, here are 3 gals!
Unfortunately, one of them is killed by the weird Mutant guy before she can be used.
Our remaining Heroines look for any clues, but mostly just pad this out since we already know everything...
The trio plan to do the transplant with one of the ladies, which is made into an easier decision when one is maimed in a fall from the roof.
Good news- you won.  Bad news- you're in an early version of Skeleton Key!

It could be worse- you could be in Skeleton Key 2.
It get super-silly at the end, so stay with me...

1) The Heroine is set up to inherit the woman's money before the transplant.
2) Mom kills her son after he blabs, but that doesn't really matter.
3) The Scientist betrays the woman and puts her brain into her cat (somehow)!
4) She kills him when he goes into the Radioactive Chamber, thus somehow setting the place on fire.
5) The cat follows the woman as she flees and the Narration pops up one last time.

Got all that?  Good.  The End.
Weird, but dry stuff.  Right off the bat, I have to address the obvious- the quality of the Print.  It is bad.  It is mostly-in-focus, but still bad.  The DVD- as part of AMC's Monsterfest- claims that it has been 'Digitally Remastered.'  I cry bullshit right there.  Unless the Digital Master was some guy filming the Movie playing on a white wall, I'm really suspicious!  The fact that the Film looks so grainy and is a clear Pan-and-Scan Print (see below) really detracts from the experience- plain and simple.  Looking past that, the actual Film suffers from some obvious covers in the Editing Room.  All of the awkward and intrusive Narration makes sense when you hear about the problems getting the Film finished.  When the Film isn't literally telling you what you need to know, the actual Product is surprisingly-listless.  This is a Film about a man irradiating dead brains for a rich, crazy lady and it wasn't interesting.  Yeah, I'm surprised too!  I suppose it is too much to ask for someone to make this thing look good and at least passable right?  The Atomic Brain (aka Monstrosity) had potential to be weird and interesting...but kind of failed.  Got to love that Pan-and-Scan...
Next up, another Old School Film that I'm actually curious about.  Will it not suck?  Stay tuned...

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