Creature with the Atom Brain (1955)

Edward L. Cahn was a director who got work done. There’s his work on American-International Pictures, his Our Gang comedies and a movie that inspired Alien — which inspired a lot of movies in its wake — called It! The Terror from Beyond Space. He also made Invisible Invaders which has pretty much the same plot as this film.

A killer with the fingerprints of a dead man that leaves radiation behind? Yeah, that’s the kind of mystery that we can get into. Mob boss Frank Buchanan (Michael Granger, who was the original Lazar Wolf in Fiddler on the Roof) was kicked out of our country by his own gang, but found a German scientist and Operation:Paperclip’d him into his service. Now, when he needs revenge or someone killed, he uses his atomic powered brained zombies to do his wetwork.

Luckily, perennial scientist hero Richard Denning is here to save the day. He’s Dr. Chet Walker here, but he also played Dr. Mark Williams in Creature from the Black Lagoon, geologist Dr. Hank Scott in The Black Scorpion and another geologist named Dr. Rick in Day the World Ended. He was also the radio husband to Lucille Ball before I Love Lucy made it to TV. He was also married to Evelyn Ankers, who was menaced by Universal Monsters in The Wolf Man, Ghost of Frankenstein and Son of Dracula.

The love interest in this one — Joyce Walker — is played by Angela Stevens, who appeared in several Three Stooges shorts and nearly had her career ended by the attack of an ocelot at a dress shop. This really happened.

Creature with the Atom Brain inspired a song by Roxy Erickson, which is pretty great as well. It even has voiceover samples from this movie. It comes from his album The Evil One, which has the songs “If You Have Ghosts,” “I Think of Demons,” “I Walked with a Zombie” and “Night of the Vampire.”

You have to love any movie with the tagline “

While this may have been the first movie to use squibs for bullet wounds, it was also an incredibly low budget film. How low? So low that Can shot it with as few breaks and edits as possible, which means that characters are constantly sitting, standing, pacing and doing anything to keep the long shots from seeming like lengthy shots, even going to other rooms with no cuts whatsoever.

Creature with the Atom Brain is one of four movies on Arrow Video’s new Cold War Creatures: Four Films From Sam Katzman set along with The WerewolfThe Zombies of Mora Tau and The Giant Claw. Each film has a 1080p blu ray presentation, along with a fully illustrated 60-page collector’s book featuring extensive new writing by Laura Drazin Boyes, Neil Mitchell, Barry Forshaw, Jon Towlson and Jackson Cooper, as well as 80-page collector’s art book featuring reproduction stills and artwork from each film and new writing by historian and critic Stephen R. Bissette, the former artist of Swamp Thing. Plus, you get two double-sided posters featuring newly commissioned artwork by Matt Griffin and reversible sleeves for each movie with original and newly commissioned artwork for each film by Matt Griffin.

Creature with the Atom Brain has extras like an introduction by historian and critic Kim Newman, audio commentary by critic Russell Dyball; Sam Katzman: Before and Beyond the Cold War Creatures, a brand-new feature-length illustrated presentation on the life, career and films of Sam Katzman by Bissette; a condensed Super 8mm version of Creature with the Atom Brain, a trailer and an image gallery.

You can get this set from MVD.

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