The Atomic Brain (September 1963)
Released in September 1963: An eighty year old lady convinces a mad doctor to implant her brain into the body of a beautiful young girl.
Directed by Joseph V. Mascelli
Written by Dean Dillman Jr., Sue Dwiggins, Jack Pollexfen and Vy Russell.
The Actors: Marjorie Eaton (Hetty March), Frank Gerstle (Doctor Otto Frank), Frank Fowler (Victor), Erika Peters (Nina Rhodes), Judy Bamber (Beatrice 'Bea' Mullins), Lisa Lang (Anita Gonzalez), Bradford Dillman (the narrator), Margie Fisco (the walking corpse).
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In 1963 Doctor Thomas Starzl from the University of Pittsburgh attempted the first organ transplant in a human, trying to replace a liver. Although that first patient did not survive, medical science was on the way to discovering how to replace diseased organs with fresh organs. Their advances were amazing for the times, and they sparked the imaginations of many science fiction authors, including the folks who wrote the script for this spell-binding movie. Although I was very young in 1963, my young teen mind would have been both horrified and fascinated by this plot. With my knowledge of rudimentary science today the plot seems scientifically ridiculous, but when I remember my young teen mindset with 1963 science, this is a frightening tale of horror and drama. There are enough surprising plot twists near the end that even horror master Alfred Hitchcock would be proud. Old hag Hetty March is a very wealthy old lady with one wish - to have the body of a beautiful young girl again. To that end she finances a mad doctor to experiment with brain transplants in the basement of her secluded mansion. He's transplanted animal brains into recently deceased bodies with very limited success. What he needs is a fresh young body that is still alive, so old Mrs. March hires three young ladies with no relatives or friends to come and work at her mansion. One of them will become the girl that the mad doctor will transplant her old brain into. Ahhh . . . but of course there are complications. At first the plot twists are predictable and good, just what I would expect from a 1963 thriller. But then . . . suddenly . . . as the story heads to the evil ending . . . things start happening that I could never have imagined. I call them 'left turns' - just when I think that I know what will happen next, the writers toss in a 'left turn' out of nowhere complicating the simple plan in devious and amazing ways. And not just one surprise twist, but a long and fascinating series of twists and turns that bring us to a simply awesome ending. I really mean that . . . this ending is a creative masterpiece worthy of the best science fiction minds of the time. Pop a big bowl of white kernel popcorn and get ready for the ride of your life as three young and innocent girls are trapped in a mansion of horror.
Erika Peters and Frank Gerstle
Erika Peters and Judy Bamber discover that they are both going to work for the same lady in Hollywood.
Erika Peters models her new clothes for old Mrs. March the night before the transplant operation
Judy Bamber tries to seduce Frank Fowler and steal his car keys to escape the secluded mansion
Frank Fowler watches on of the Doctor's experiments through the glass porthole
Frank Gerstle and Marjorie Eaton
Frank Gerstle in The Atomic Brain
Frank Gerstle as Doctor Otto Frank
Frank Gerstle gets ready to transplant a brain
Judy Bamber models for old Mrs. March who must select one of the girls to become the new body for her brain transplant as Frank Fowler watches.
Judy Bamber meets old lady March, and tells her that she has the same measurements as Marilyn Monroe
Judy Bamber as Beatrice 'Bea' Mullins in The Atomic Brain
Lisa Lang, as Anita Gonzalez, with the brain of a cat, falls from the roof and dies.
Lisa Lang enters the old mansion and spots the zombie like man with the brain of a dog.
Lisa Lang, as Anita Gonzalez in The Atomic Brain
Margie Fisco as the girl zombie without a brain
Marjie Fisco getting ready for an experimental brain transplant.
Marjorie Eaton as Hetty March, the wealthy old lady who wants her brain transplanted into the body of a young beautiful girl.
Frank Gerstle prepares Marjorie Eaton and Erika Peters for the brain transplant.