Tuesday, August 2, 2022

The Atomic Brain aka Monstrosity (1963) Transitional Tail Fin Horror Noir

"A Cheapo Mad Scientist SciFi Horror Noir with moody cinematography."

Directed by Joseph V. Mascelli. Written by Vy Russell & Sue Dwiggins with Dean Dillman and Jack Pollexfen, Cinematography was by Alfred Taylor, Music by Gene Kauer

Starring Frank Gerstle (D.O.A. (1949), I Was a Communist for the F.B.I. (1951), The Unknown Man (1951), Vicki (1953), I Cover the Underworld (1955), 5 Against the House  (1955), Tight Spot  (1955), The Killer Is Loose (1956), I Mobster (1959), Shock Corridor (1963), and  lot of 50s-60s TV ) as Dr. Frank. Marjorie Eaton  (Night Tide (1961), Bullitt (1968)) as Mrs. March. Frank Fowler as Victor, Erika Peters as Nina Rhodes, Judy Bamber as Bea Mullins, Lisa Lang as Anita Gonzalez and Xerxes as The Cat.

Frank Gerstle as Dr. Frank

Marjorie Eaton as Mrs. March

This Sci-Fi Noir reminded me of the Twilight Zone contemporary show The Outer Limits.

So, we got a mad scientist "Dr. Frank", with an atomic powered lab siting deep under a mansion somewhere off of what looks like Mulholland Drive. The mansion is owned by Mrs. March, a slightly demented octogenarian millionairess. Mrs. March keeps a gigolo Victor (who's got to be pushing 60) for sexual amusement. Let that sink in for a moment...

Frank Fowler as Victor

Mrs. March is funding Dr. Frank's experiments with brain transplants. Dr. Frank has been progressively working through trial and error up to his goal of successfully putting a fully functioning brain into a host body. The M.O. was to steal a recently deceased person (the fresher the better) and up to now, transplanting animal brains into human bodies. 

A Cemetery Crypt

Dr. Frank breaking into a tomb

Margie Fisco as The body 

The dog brain "Monstrosity"

Fetch Monstrosity.... fetch the body 

Monstrosity carries the fresh body to the station wagon

a de facto hearse

1956 Plymouth Sport Suburban - Back to Grandma's house

With an atomic cyclotron, Dr. Frank re-fuses the nerve endings from brain to body. So far he has transplanted a dogs brain into a dead man. The result is the "Monstrosity" of the title a mute hairy faced human who follows Dr. Frank's orders who becomes his graverobbing helper. Dr. Frank explains that the body was not fresh enough.

The next experiment makes use of a just interred young woman, however again the body was still not fresh enough. 

Dead Nude Girl

A wisp of pubes how Noir of them

Dr. Frank cops a feel

It's Alive!!!

The woman (Margie Fisco) is fully functional but is again mute and devoid of thought and just hangs around the lab like a harmless house pet, a walking corpse. 

Dr. Frank assures Mrs. March that live bodies must be used for the experiment to be fully successful. So their plan is to put out an intentional classified for a "special" housekeeper. Applicants get an extensive questionnaire that supplies Frank and March with the specifications they are looking for. For Dr. Frank its the questions that tell him their compatibilities, i.e. blood types, etc., etc., and the most important one that the women are either orphans or have no living relatives. They can disappear off the face of the earth and none will be the wiser. For Mrs. March, its the women's ages and body measurements. Dr. Frank is looking to cover all tracks, Mrs. March is body-shopping.

The ultimate experiment is to transplant Mrs. March's brain into a new body, not just any body Mrs. March wants a hot body.

lt. to rt. Anita Gonzales (Lisa Lang) Nina Rhodes (Erika Peters) and  Bea Mullins (Judy Bamber) 

he three finalists chosen are Nina Rhodes (Erika Peters) from Austria, Bea Mullins (Judy Bamber) from England, and Anita Gonzales (Lisa Lang) from Mexico. Victor picks them up from Los Angeles International Airport  and drives them to the mansion. 

Mrs. March peeking at the girls

There, they are all given rooms and then once settled in, told to strip and given complete medical and physical examinations by Dr. Frank. After which each of the women, nude and wrapped only in towels, are subjected by Mrs. March, to another close inspection of all their feminine assets. 

Birthmark - reject

meat shopping

lets see that ass

Mrs. March rejects Anita because the leaf shaped birthmark on her back, and eventually chooses blonde Bea who boasts that she has the same measurements as Marilyn Monroe. Nina's status is on standby as a backup.

Of course it all goes Noirsville.


This SciFi Horror Noir is an entertaining almost in exploitation territory time waster, you wish, like many of these zany Horror Noir, that they would have been made just a few years later. This Transitional Noir period 1960 - 1969 was a time of ever evolving censorship and obscenity laws. 5.5/10

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