Friday Night At The Home Drive-In: Monstrosity / The Atomic Brain (1963)

Poster for Monstrosity / The Atomic Brain (1963)Monstrosity / The Atomic Brain (1963) by #JosephVMascelli
#MarjorieEaton #FrankGerstle #ErikaPeters #JudyBamber

A rich old woman plots with a scientist to have her brain implanted in the body of a young woman.

“WANTED: Youth and Beauty. Will Pay Millions. Only Beautiful and Shapely Girls Need Apply. No References Required. Appointments After Dark Only.”

#Horror #SciFi

I have a particular fondness for horror movies from 1958. Monstrosity / The Atomic Brain didn’t come out until 1963, which is starting to get a little late in the game for that kind of late 1950s sci-fi horror madness. However, it was apparently shot in 1958 and not released until 1963, so that’s a different matter entirely. Still, it doesn’t have a whole lot in common with most of my favourites from that era. The producer, Jack Pollexfen, once said it was his worst movie ever – and the only one that failed to make money. That is, oddly enough, a recommendation of sorts to aficionados like me. The question is: Is it so bad it’s good? Or just so bad it’s boring?

First of all, I must mention that I have always had a soft spot for movies about brain transplants, or transfers of consciousness from one brain to another. Al Adamson made a few movies in this genre (or were they all the same movie, recut and retitled? I can’t remember. Must get back to exploring Adamson’s filmography….).

One of my favourite movies from about this time is The Brain That Wouldn’t Die (1962). It has more than a bit in common with this one, as it is about trying to transplant a brain into a young, beautiful woman’s body. In this case, it is an old rich woman who wants to live forever but only if she can’t be young and sexy again. This is not only a great idea for a movie, it also makes logical sense in a strange sort of way. More so than trying to summon a demon or make an insect the size of a dinosaur. 

It also creates an opportunity for a decent amount of sleaze. If you’re going to give yourself a new body, might as well take the time to find the best looking one, after all. Considering that Monstrosity / The Atomic Brain was shot in 1958, it contains some rather daring images – like this one: 

An almost naked woman is prepared for brain transplant in Monstrosity / The Atomic Brain (1963)

If you squint a little that could almost be Bettie Page in that experimental brain transplant chamber (or whatever the hell it is).

So what’s the verdict? Monstrosity / The Atomic Brain (1963) is so bad it’s pretty good. It’s #NotQuiteClassicCinema that doesn’t quite reach the heights of The Brain That Wouldn’t Die or The Giant Claw (1957), but it features an over-the-top narrator who says things like:

“Three new bodies. Fresh, live, young bodies. No families or friends within thousands of miles, no one to ask embarrassing questions when they disappear. Victor wondered which one Mrs. March would pick. The little Mexican, the girl from Vienna, or the buxom blonde? Victor knew his pick, but he still felt uneasy, making love to an 80-year-old woman in the body of a 20-year-old girl; it’s insanity!”

It made me laugh a few times, and that’a really all I can ask for. Next time you’re feeling like you wish you could trade your body in for a newer model, consider giving Monstrosity / The Atomic Brain a shot. It may not quite be inspiring, but it’s not a bad way to pass 65 minutes on a #FridayNightAtTheHomeDriveIn