Movie Review: The Atomic Brain (Pain Box)

Posted: January 24, 2010 in Movie Review, Pain Box, Reviews
Tags: , , , , , , ,

The Atomic Brain (1964 Emerson Film Enterprises Dir. Joseph V. Mascelli) MST3K Episode 18 Season 5, December 4th, 1993

Here at Basement Labs, we’re doing Science and we’re still alive!

You ever get the feeling that just by opening the Wikipedia page for a movie that you’ve probably already done more research than the movie is worth? Take this movie, which was originally called Monstrosity, but was renamed to The Atomic Brain. I already know more history about this movie than I ever wanted to know. If you really want to see it, I suggest buying MST3K Collection, Vol. 3 where you can find it with Joel and the Bots. At least this is short, only 65 minutes.

“They said I wasn’t cool enough for Devo. Well now I’ll show them, I’ll show them all!”

As the film opens we’re “treated” to some narration of the “Rod Serling under sedation” variety. Mostly this is trying to set up the plot for the rest of the movie. At least I think so. Those of you who are fans of implied nudity, you’ll be glad to hear that there is a young woman exploited with only a pair of metal bars covering her bits. This annoyed the censors, who wanted to see less and the 15 year old boys who wanted to see more. I’ve never understood the almost nudity thing. If you’re going to have tits in a movie, just show the tits. If you can’t, don’t toy with me. There is no reason to show as much of this girl as we see, since it fails to really do much for anyone.

I mean really. Why? You can’t see anything.

Anyway, the guy explains that atomic fission happens in a cyclotron, which I thought was just a big centrifuge, but the internet says otherwise. So, okay, but I doubt fission takes place in one and even if you can show me that it does, it won’t work like that. It really doesn’t help you swap brains, or minds, or whatever this cat is doing. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again… Radiation doesn’t work like that! It just doesn’t! And why do they keep talking about swapping brains when they never cut open a skull and it’s clear they’re just replacing the minds of these women. Mind and brain aren’t the same thing, damnit!

Pimping, it still ain’t easy.
It’s a running gag, just go with it.

They have some footage of a monster and a bit of body snatching, all the while being narrated by our cut rate Rods Serling. It’s odd, we go like 7 minutes without any dialogue, just this narrator. I’m guessing that either they didn’t record any sound or they shot these bits without having a proper script and had to cut it in somehow. Anyway, they kill a night watchman while snatching a body, leaving the dead night watchman. If they’re so desperate for bodies, why not take the night watchman? They even complain in the positively riveting narration that he’s not getting enough fresh corpses. So why not work on the freshly killed? What, does he only like working on hotties? I guess if I was a mad scientist I would like to work on cute young girls, but I can think of a lot better ways to work on cute young girls than digging up their corpses with the thin veneer that I’m doing it for science.

Hey! Zombies were cute in the early 60s

They claim that the girl they got was dead too long and her brain doesn’t work. This is literally a brainless zombie walking around. Along with that, we’re treated to some really creep talk about how a young mindless zombified hottie could be useful. After that we get some girls at an airport, and after we establish that they’ve all come to America to work for the old woman… did I mention the old woman? There’s an old woman funding the mad Doctor’s scheme to insert the brain of an old woman into the body of a young hottie. She’s got a hanger on too, but he’s not really important. Her idea is to get her own brain implanted, if it works of course. Side note, there is more almost nudity and an evil old crippled woman leering at a naked blond which could turn a person off the idea of girl/girl action forever. Hey, it’s a horror movie, it’s supposed to disturb you. Granted, not that much, but still.

As the internet kids say “Yes Please.”
Oh, come on! You knew I had to do that one!

Now it might seem like I’m treading water here, but as we’ve only reached the 22 minute mark and this has been a blow by blow report so far, you can see that moving the plot along quickly isn’t much of a priority for this picture. The most important thing to happen so far is that the cute girl discovered the phones are dead. Oh yeah, the girls are English, Swedish (I think and can’t be bothered to check) and a Mexican who speaks no English. The Mexican girl may actually be Mexican, but the other two are American girls. I can tell because their accents keep fading in and out. It might be that they were dubbed during different times and they didn’t remember. These old cheap affairs are always a little dodgy with the sound anyway.

Wendy? Yes Lisa? Is the water warm enough? Yes Lisa. Shall we begin? Yes Lisa!

So, once we’ve established our characters, the plot finally starts to kick in as the Mexican girl whose name I refuse to learn, vanishes and the two girls left get suspicious. We shall call them the blond and the brunette, because I refuse to learn their names as well. People who act this badly and have such poorly written characters don’t deserve to have their names learned. The Mexican girl didn’t get killed though, she had her brain swapped with a cat’s brain which leads to a hilarious moment. See, the guy monster we saw earlier, the monster that killed the night watchman had his brain replaced with a dog’s earlier. So we’ve got cats and dogs fighting see? At least I think it was the Mexican cat girl. There was also a girl with no brain who just wanders around and it might have been her. It’s hard to tell, everyone in this movie is so bland and pointless.

Is this hot or just sort of crazy? Frankly, I’ve lost all frame of reference at this point in my life.

Oh, no, my mistake. The cat girl wanders around the grounds and attacks the blond, clawing her eyes out, before getting stuck on the roof and having to be saved by the brunette. Except she doesn’t save her, the Mexican Cat Girl runs away hissing and meowing. Yeah, she does. Everything the Mexican cat girl says is merely dubbed in angry cat noises. Now would be a good time to point out just how much of this movie’s sound was done in the post dub. I’m going to go with somewhere between most and all.
The guy who had his brain replaced with a dog’s only makes angry doggie noises. How does that happen? How does the human vocal cords manage to make these animal noises? There is a guy who uses a cyclotron to swap people’s brains and keeps cellular structures alive with electrical vibrations. The fact that someone makes kitty noises is the least of our problems. Bigger problems, he asks the brunette girl “Do you find it ironical?” Ironical? Is that even a word? Well I’ll be, evidently it is!

I’m not really a doctor, I just like these neat jackets.

So, since they find out that the blond had her eyes clawed out the old woman decides to swap her brain with the brunette instead of the blond, which was the girl she’d picked before. Did I forget to mention that before? The old woman was going to swap brains with the blond since she claims that she has the same measurements as Marilyn Monroe. I doubt this claim, but since she’s only English when she remembers to be (by way of New South Wales incidentally if I’m any judge of accents) I guess I can give this little fantasy a pass too. If I start arguing every little point, we’ll be here all night. The point is that the old woman was going to pick the blond and now is taking the brunette and making her put on dresses and take them off in front of the old woman and frankly my liking of girl on girl is going to be damaged for sometime because all I’ll see is that old woman asking girls to turn around for her and take the dress off.

“Yes, yes! Take it all off. But slow, take it off slow.”

The brunette gets the old man lackey to tell her all and agree to save her. The old woman is going to have none of that though and wacks the guy triad style. You’d be surprised by the sprightliness shown in the kung-fu scene that follows. I understand it was cut out of most release versions so the average viewer thinks that there is just a close up of Victor and then a close-up Mrs. March and then he falls over and dies. I think my version, with the kung-fu is much better. I just wish everyone could get a copy of it, but that would be piracy, and that would be wrong. Also, I sent the disc to this girl in Canada, you wouldn’t know her, so I can’t show you it now.

One minute you’re electrifying hotties with a cyclotron, the next you’re a skeleton. Yup, that’s science for you.

ANYWAY! It turns out the old woman was going to destroy her house and run away with the young girl’s body. Her thought process was probably that she’d screw over everyone and get away with the cash, the nice bod after burning down the house with all the occupants still in it. Well, the doctor wants none of that and puts the old woman’s brain into the cat that he used to fill the head of the Mexican Girl. I do hope the girl’s brain was backed up on a thumb drive or something. Don’t mess with people who can perform a transplantation of your brains, that’s my advice. The old woman, now a cat, doesn’t take this laying down and switches on the juice while the doctor is in the chamber, cooking him into nothing but a skeleton. Because that’s what atomic radiation does. The blond, who has been lying in the bed feeling sorry for herself since the whole eye thing started suddenly gets up and saves the brunette. She then manages to fry herself to death on a random bit of equipment. After this, the house explodes and the sedated voice of our narrator is back to deliver a one-sentence coda about the old woman/cat and how it’ll follow the girl until the end of her days. And that is it for this movie. No, really. That’s the last line and we end with a shot of the cat licking its chops.

Aaaaaaand the house burns down. You may now check #19 on your checklist.

Official Score:
-5 Degrees on the Graffiti Bridge Scale.

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