Creature with the Atom Brain 1955
The Creature with the Atom Brain released in 1955 was directed by Edward L. Cahn with a script by Curt Siomak it’s the story of a nefarious plot involving reanimated, radioactive zombies controlled by a criminal mastermind.
An ex-Nazi mad scientist uses radio-controlled atomic-powered zombies in his quest to help an exiled American gangster return to power. A huge mug with superhuman strength Karl ‘Killer’ Davis and a metal dome riveted to the top of his head climbs inside the back of a gambling spot and breaks the back of the mob boss. Then he goes on a rampage destroying buildings and railways.
Dr. Chet Walker (Richard Denning) who is a doctor working for the police is called in to investigate the murder. Walker discovers that the Hulk is atomic-powered. Soon he learns that an exiled mobster Frank Buchanan (Michael Granger) has returned to the States and is working with an ex-Nazi scientist Dr. Wilhelm Steigg (Gregory Gaye) to create radio-controlled atomic zombies who will carry out his plot of revenge against those responsible for betraying him. Steigg removes the tops of corpse’s skulls, removes parts of their brains, and replaces it with as Bill Warren refers to it a “glittering sponge.” Once resurrected from the dead, these atomic-powered zombies exact their revenge by breaking their enemies’ backs.
Several years ago, the notorious gangster Frank Buchanan, portrayed by Michael Granger, found himself forced into exile to his native Italy, orchestrated by a coalition of law enforcement agencies and rival criminal organizations who had chosen to betray Buchanan. During his time in Europe, a clandestine assembly led by Buchanan himself approached the enigmatic scientist Dr. Wilhelm Steigg, played by Gregory Gaye, with a sinister plan.
The brilliant Steigg has unlocked a groundbreaking secret— a way to reanimate an army of dead bodies through the power of atomic energy. He has successfully developed a technique for reviving the dead and exerting control over their actions through spoken commands.
Buchanan generously supplied the resources necessary for Steigg to assemble an army of radioactive zombies, reanimated corpses who possess enhanced strength and resilience infused with atomic energy coursing through their bodies. Utilizing Steigg’s innovative experiments, driven by cutting-edge atomic technology, Buchanan and his malevolent cohort aimed to unleash their vengeance upon those who had crossed their paths.
Caltiki The Immortal Monster 1959
WILL THE FIRST LIFE ON EARTH BE THE LAST TERROR OF MAN?
Caltiki, the Immortal Monster is a 1959 Italian-American science fiction horror film directed by Riccardo Freda (as Robert Hampton) and an uncredited Mario Bava who also was the cinematographer on the film and added the noir-like eerie chiaroscuro and striking and savage and gruesome visual effects, expertly supervised by Bava, which is why it’s known for its eerie and suspenseful atmosphere. The cast includes John Merivale, Didi Perego (as Didi Sullivan), Gerard Herter, Danila Rocca, and Giacomo Rossi-Stuart.
In 1956, Ricardo Freda and Mario Bava joined forces to create “I Vampiri,” marking the revival of Italian-produced horror cinema after a hiatus of more than three decades. It did have a good reception but was released in the U.S. until 1963 and still, it was hacked to pieces under the title The Devil’s Commandment
So in 1959, they got together again at took a stab at another horror/sci-fi hybrid called Caltiki, the Immortal Monster with most of the cast adopting Anglicized pseudonyms.
Deep within the Mexican jungle, a group of archaeologists under the leadership of Dr. Fielding (portrayed by John Merivale) meticulously explore the ancient Mayan ruins looking for a priceless collection of Maryan gold artifacts. However, this invaluable treasure lies submerged at the lake’s depths within a cave. Inside, they discover a pool of mysterious and deadly water safeguarded by a ravenous, gelatinous creature known as Caltiki, revered by the Mayans as a god. They unexpectedly encounter an amorphous blob-like monstrosity that sends shockwaves through their expedition. When one of Fielding’s greedy colleagues (Daniele Vargas) tries to get his hands on the sacred plunder, he is devoured alive by the oozing blob and left as a steamy pile of skeletal muck.
Fielding discovers the creature is a grotesque, amorphous mass of cells that can absorb and grow from any organic material it comes into contact with. It is revealed that this creature, known as Caltiki, was once a Mayan deity and has been dormant for centuries.
Afterward, the monstrous glop goes on a violent rampage, inflicting pain on Max (Gerard Herter), a fellow member of the expedition, who is left with a skeletal arm and hand. Before meeting its ultimate demise in a blazing inferno, amid the chaos, Fielding skillfully manages to safeguard precious samples of Caltiki, preserving the fragments for scientific examination. Fielding makes a chilling discovery: the creature had been resurrected centuries ago when a comet made a close pass by Earth. Now, purely by happenstance, that very same comet is set to return in just a matter of days, posing a looming threat of reviving the blob monster once more.
In the midst of their investigation, the celestial event looms on the horizon: and the comet is poised to make a close approach to Earth. Remarkably, this comet mirrors the same cosmic visitor that brushed near our planet during the enigmatic collapse of the Mayan civilization.
Meanwhile, Max becomes unhinged and goes on a murder spree killing a nurse and escaping from the hospital, while Caltiki comes to life and runs amok along the countryside. The team faces a race against time to contain and destroy Caltiki before it consumes all life in its path. They also try to uncover the secrets of its origin and its connection to Mayan civilization.
Caltiki includes several genuinely jarring scenes, in particular, Herter’s intensity as the crazed Max, drawing inspiration from Richard Wordsworth’s memorable portrayal in a similar capacity as Victor Carroon in “Quatermass Xperiment,” Fielding’s urgent moments unfold as he races to rescue his wife and daughter from the advancing monstrosity that relentlessly breaches every landscape and interior setting.
Bava considered Caltiki the Immortal Monster to embody the spirit of (READ KEEP WATCHING THE SKIES:1955 HERE) The Quartermass Xperiment 1955, but it’s got a bit of (READ KEEP WATCHING THE SKIES:1956 HERE) X the Unknown 1956 thrown in.
Curse of the Fly 1965
Curse of the Fly is a 1965 British science fiction horror film and the third installment in the “Fly” film series that began with its blockbuster hit in 1958. This film reunites director Don Sharp with a screenplay by Harry Spalding (they worked on Witchcraft together in 1964) and takes a different approach compared to the previous films, as it is the Fly movie without the fly!
A generation following the events portrayed in The Fly in 1958 Henri Delambre, portrayed by Brian Donlevy, becomes consumed by the relentless pursuit of perfecting his father’s experimental matter-transportation device that he runs in a remote research facility within his estate in Canada. His two grown sons, Martin (George Baker) and Albert (Michael Graham), who yearn to get on with their lives still actively participate in the research, although they do not share Henri’s fanatical dedication to the transporter project. The transporter has successfully bilocated people and objects from Quebec to London and back, but not without a frightening aftermath, including deformed human subjects, ‘mistakes’ locked away at the Delambres’ Canadian manorhouse.
Henri is enraged when he learns that Martin has married a mysterious young woman named Patricia (Carole Gray) who in the opening of the film has managed to escape from an institution. Soon the police come looking for Patricia at the Delambre estate, which forces them to hide any evidence of their secret research lab. Ultimately, Henri’s obsession leads to tragic results.
Spalding’s clever screenplay seamlessly weaves together the exploration of advanced scientific discovery and the plight of ill-fated lovers, capturing the essence of romantic tragedy that resonated so effectively in the original Fly 1958.
Countess Dracula 1971
Directed by Peter Sasdy, Countess Dracula is a 1971 British horror film starring Ingrid Pitt in the lead role. The film is loosely based on the real-life story of Countess Elizabeth Báthory, a Hungarian noblewoman notorious for her alleged crimes of torturing and murdering hundreds of young women and bathing in their blood. The film co-stars Nigel Green as Captain Dobi, Maurice Denham as Master Fabio, Sandor Elès as Imre Toth, Niki Arrighi, Patience Collier as Julie, and Leslie Ann-Down as Ilona.
Set in 17th-century medieval Hungary, the story revolves around the aristocratic vampire Countess Elisabeth Nádasdy, an aging noblewoman who rules with an iron fist, aided by her lover, Captain Dobi. She discovers a dark secret bathing in the blood of young girls restores her youth when she accidentally comes into contact with the blood of a young virgin, she realizes that it has a rejuvenating effect on her appearance.
Obsessed with maintaining her youth and beauty, Elisabeth embarks on a gruesome killing spree, using her position and power to abduct young women and drain them of their blood. She coerces Dobi into abducting potential victims. Under the guise of her own daughter, the Countess engages in romantic dalliances with a younger man, much to Dobi’s chagrin. As the disappearances sow increasing fear in the local community, the Countess learns that only the blood of a virgin can resurrect her youthful beauty. As her crimes escalate, suspicions grow within the castle, and her daughter Ilona becomes increasingly concerned about her mother’s erratic behavior.
Ingrid Pitt delivers a captivating and chilling performance as Countess Elisabeth, portraying her transformation from an aging woman into a seductive, bloodthirsty monster. Countess Dracula is known for its blend of historical horror and Gothic atmosphere, offering a unique take on the vampire mythos by drawing inspiration from real historical events.
Chosen Survivors 1974
Chosen Survivors is a 1974 science fiction horror film that combines elements of suspense, survival, and post-apocalyptic drama directed by Sutton Roley and stars READ My Dillman TRIBUTE HERE Bradford Dillman (Fear No Evil 1969, Revenge! 1971, Escape From the Planet of the Apes 1971, The Mephisto Waltz 1971, TV movie The Resurrection of Zachary Taylor 1971, TV movie The Eyes of Charles Sands 1972, TV movie Moon of the Wolf 1972, Deliver Us from Evil 1973, A Black Ribbon for Deborah 1974 Giallo, The Dark Secrets of Harvest Home 1978 mini-series, The Swarm 1978, and the cult classic Piranha 1978), and actors who are no strangers to horror & sci-fi -such as Diana Muldaur, Alex Cord (The Dead are Alive 1972), Jackie Cooper, Richard Jaekel (The Green Slime 1968, Day of the Animals 1977, The Dark 1979), Barbara Babcock, Gwen Mitchell and Lincoln Kilpatrick (Soylent Green 1973, The Omega Man 1971).
A group of select people abruptly find themselves yanked out of their homes and airlifted via helicopter to a state-of-the-art underground bomb shelter, buried deep beneath the desert’s surface at a depth of one-third of a mile. There, they are confronted with the grim reality of a nuclear apocalypse unfolding above ground and the unsettling revelation that a computer has chosen them as the survivors tasked with preserving the human race in this subterranean haven. The shelter is meticulously engineered to sustain their existence underground for an extended duration, but an unforeseen menace emerges: a massive colony of bloodthirsty vampire bats breaches their defenses, launching a relentless onslaught that claims the lives of the humans one by one.
The story unfolds against the backdrop of the Cold War era, as tensions between superpowers escalate, and the threat of nuclear war looms large. In response, the U.S. government selects a group of 11 people, including scientists, military personnel, and other specialists, to take part in a top-secret experiment. They are chosen to survive a potential nuclear holocaust by living in a well-fortified underground bunker designed to sustain life for an extended period.
As the selected survivors enter the underground facility, they must adapt to their new isolated existence and the challenges it presents. Tensions rise, and personal conflicts emerge among the diverse group. However, their already stressful situation takes a terrifying turn when they discover that they are not alone in the bunker. Unbeknownst to them, a colony of bat-like creatures has also taken refuge there, posing a deadly threat to their survival.
Chosen Survivors explores themes of human nature under extreme circumstances, the consequences of government secrecy and experimentation, and the terror of being trapped in an enclosed space with an unknown and lethal enemy. The film blends science fiction and horror elements to create a suspenseful and claustrophobic narrative.
Children of the Corn 1984
Children of the Corn is a 1984 horror film adapted from Stephen King’s short story of the same name. The film is set in the rural town of Gatlin, Nebraska, and revolves around a group of children who have formed a deadly cult worshiping a malevolent entity known as “He Who Walks Behind the Rows.”
The story begins with a young couple, Burt and Vicki (Peter Horton and Linda Hamilton), who are traveling through rural Nebraska. They stumble upon Gatlin, a seemingly deserted town. Unbeknownst to them, the town’s adult population has been brutally murdered by the children under the influence of an overzealous young preacher named Isaac and his nasty ginger-haired enforcer, Malachai (Courtney Gains). The children believe that sacrificing adults to “He Who Walks Behind the Rows” will ensure a bountiful harvest.
Burt and Vicky soon become targets of the cult, and they must navigate a terrifying ordeal to survive. Along the way, they encounter a young boy named Job, who has doubts about the cult’s beliefs, and the three of them attempt to uncover the truth behind the sinister force that has overtaken Gatlin.
As the story unfolds, it becomes a chilling exploration of religious fanaticism, the corrupting influence of power, and the primal fear of children turning against adults.
Children of the Corn is celebrated for its unsettling ambiance and the chilling spectacle of a seemingly picturesque town under the dominion of malevolent little monsters who are more menacing than the Lovecraftian Deity that lurks behind the bucolic rows of corn.
The Children 1980
Shot at the same time as the iconic slasher Friday the 13th and sharing some of the same behind-the-scenes creative minds, director Max Kalmanowicz’s The Children emerges as a bizarrely low-light theatrical drive-in horror classic in the ‘scary little kids‘ subgenre.
Complementing the spine-tingling narrative is an eerie score by Harry Manfredini known for his work on Sean Cunningham’s Friday the 13th.
Ravenback’s children (not unlike the mindless dead in Romero’s landmark Night of the Living Dead) are in the grip of something terrifyingly unnatural. When their school bus travels through an odd cloud of yellow smoke, the innocent little ones undergo a horrifying – ghastly metamorphosis into bloodthirsty zombies.
The film takes a deeply nihilistic and chilling swerve as it introduces a group of children who, after passing through this toxic fog, appear outwardly innocent but possess blackened fingernails and a horrifying ability to melt the flesh of anyone they touch. The Children‘s dark subtext by using seemingly angelic children who are the epitome of a promising future, takes on a bleak tone, as these once harmless yet outré -creepy kids destroy even those they once loved.
The story begins with the origins of the toxic fog, where Sheriff Gil Rogers sets out to uncover the mystery surrounding the abandoned school bus on the side of the road. As he discovers more dead bodies, it is revealed that it is in fact the children who are killing the townspeople. This is at the core of the film’s fundamental subliminal ‘shock’ warning- that we cannot always have faith in the façade of innocence. Sometimes it can disguise a horror from within.
As unsuspecting parents and townsfolk fall victim to their deadly touch, the local police force embarks on a frantic search for the missing children, at first oblivious to their deadly embrace, they must face an even more horrific reality. The parents must kill their own children in an extremely repulsive way.
Director Max Kalmanowicz and cinematographer Barry Abrams (who also worked on Friday the 13th) work their magic when it comes to the night sequences and the atmosphere of dread and the queasy pangs in the gut whenever those sinister little faces appear in the black night and raise up their hands in a wantful embrace, eerie calling out for their mothers. It’s truly a disturbing visually bad dream.
The Children challenges horror conventions by making it imperative that the children be destroyed. The manner of their death is even more gruesome than their black-nailed phantasmagoria. What’s hauntingly effective is the final slaughter underscored by the ethereal screams that creep up and revisit your mind decades after your first viewing. It’s just that authentically creepy.