Creature with the Atom Brain (1955) 1 brain1 brainhalf brain

Creature with the Atom Brain is a fun little movie, if only because it has some of the most hilariously dated gender roles I've seen in a while. The movie was made in 1955, when women were supposed to stay in the kitchen and keep their mouths shut. There's a hilarious scene in which the hero, police forensic scientist Chet Walker (Richard Denning) is talking with his cop friend Dave Harris (S. John Launer) about the case they're working on. Walker's wife (Angela Stevens) walks in the room and has the temerity to ask a question about the case. The two men frown at her until she ducks her head in submission and returns to the kitchen.

The actual plot isn't bad either. A gangster (Michael Granger) who has been exiled to Europe returns to America with a German scientist (Gregory Gaye) in tow to exact revenge on the people who sent the gangster packing. The tools of his vengeance are zombies animated by atomic power, and controlled remotely from his hidden laboratory. The zombies are extremely strong, so they can pretty much break into the houses of their victims and kill them with their bare hands. There's one well done scene in which a zombie picks up a man and simply breaks him in half. The zombies are more than a little creepy, because they're so close to normal looking. They move a little slowly and have a row of stitches around their skulls, where the scientist has implanted the brain controls, but other than that they could pass as living people. The gangster can speak through the zombies with a microphone, and see what they're seeing on a TV screen, so before he kills his victims, he always reminds them of who he is.

This movie has many of the earmarks of bad budget 50's horror. It has the generic "scientist," which means that he smokes a pipe and knows stuff that the rest of us don't, it has the secret lab, complete with complicated-looking equipment that actually makes no sense, and it has the cute kid that says cute stuff that no kid that age would say. But somehow these elements only add a sense of nostalgia to an otherwise interesting plot idea. There is, of course, no gore to speak of. Even the deaths that are on camera consist mostly of a zombie hitting someone and that person falling down. But if you're in the mood for something light-hearted, Creature with the Atom Brain fits the bill.