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Film / The Atomic Brain

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The Atomic Brain (originally released as Monstrosity) is a low-budget 1963 Sci-Fi Horror film directed by Joseph V. Mascelli.

Hetty March (Marjorie Eaton) is a rich old lady with plenty of money. With the help of Dr. Otto Frank (Frank Gerstle), a rogue scientist kept on retainer, she intends to have her brain (through the miracle of modern 1963 atomics) transferred into a young body. The body is to be selected from three candidates. Which one will it be? Anita from Mexico, Nina from Austria, or Bea from England? What does her aged companion think of this? Will the scientist be able to gain something from this? And do the three donors suspect what awaits them?

The film was nearly lost following its debut, before being introduced to a whole new generation thanks to Mystery Science Theater 3000. In 2015, a Kickstarter campaign was launched to remaster the film in 4K resolution and clean up the film artifacts and scratching. The crowdfunding project was successful.


For the Mystery Science Theater 3000 episode see here.

The Atomic Tropes:

  • As Himself: Xerxes the Cat.
  • Black Dude Dies First: The first of the three girls to die is Anita from Mexico—the only non-European, non-American character.
  • Brain Transplant: Mrs. March's ultimate goal.
  • Diabolus ex Machina: When Bea (inexplicably) goes back to grab something (presumably her scratched-out eye), a power surge from the atomic chamber fries her.
  • Cats Are Mean:
    • When Mrs. March's brain is put in the body of Xerxes the Cat.
    • The cat's own personality wasn't much nicer, if "Anita"'s behavior is anything to go by.
  • Death by Disfigurement: Bea loses an eye midway through the movie. She's pointlessly killed off at the absolute last second before the end.
  • Eye Scream: Anita, her brain replaced by a cat, gouges out Bea's eye.
  • Evil Old Folks: Hetty March is an evil crone paying a Mad Scientist to rob graves and perform immoral and illegal research on helpless young women so she can steal a youthful body for herself.
  • Advertisement:
  • Evil Plan: Mrs. March's big plan—kidnap the prettiest girl who'd answer an ad, transfer her brain to the girl's body, then fake her own death and reappear as a long-lost relative to collect her fortune.
  • Grand Theft Me: Mrs. March's ultimate goal is to transplant her brain into a young woman's body.
  • Laser-Guided Karma: After he double-crosses Mrs. March and is busy gloating about how he's going to control her fortune through Nina, March (in the cat's body) locks Dr. Frank in the atomic chamber and cranks the power, frying him.
  • Leitmotif: A back-and-forth shift in music as Bea and Nina attempt to flee with Mrs. March in pursuit. Happens again when Nina hunts down the cat-brained Anita.
  • Lemony Narrator: There's a voice-over narrator explaining the action, but he occasionally gets distracted ogling the girls.
  • Mad Scientist: Dr. Frank, who rationalizes his experiments as being ultimately for the benefit of mankind.
  • Ooh, Me Accent's Slipping: Bea's accent is inconsistent.
  • Sequel Hook: The narration exposits that the cat with the mind of Mrs. March will pursue Nina to get revenge.
  • Spanner in the Works: Many things happen to ruin Mrs. March's plan—her original choice, Bea, has her eye gouged out. Mrs. March's companion falls for Nina and plots to murder March so she could take the money (he fails), then Dr. Frank traps March in the cat's body and plans to use her money through Nina (he also fails).
  • Working for a Body Upgrade: Inverted; the body-upgrading Mad Scientist is working for Mrs. March.
  • Villain Protagonist: The movie is told from the perspective of the villains, with their entire Evil Plan laid out in great detail long before we meet the three victims.