Tuesday, 3 February 2015

Atom Age Vampire (1960)

If you wanted to get all lit crit about it, you could pretty easily put together an argument that this film is an inversion of, or response to, Mary Shelley's Frankenstein.  Instead of a scientist who fears his creation is a monster and tries to destroy it, we have one who loves what he has created - though most definitely not in a healthy way - and becomes a monster in order to preserve it.

But honestly, I doubt it was intended.  I mean, when a film pays this little attention to narrative sense, it's unlikely to be doing some kind of literary deconstruction, you know?

An exotic dancer's boyfriend dumps her because she won't give up her career.  Driving home in tears, she swerves off the road for little reason.  I mean sure, there's another car on the road, but no real indication they were about to crash into her or anything.  Her vehicle is apparently made of explodium, as it catches fire while rattling down a slight incline.

The woman survives, but her face ... well, one cheek and the side of her neck ... are badly burned.  She contemplates shooting herself, but is saved from her suicidal tendencies by a mysterious offer from a scientist who believes he can restore her beauty.  Figuring it can't make things worse (which shows what she knows) she ultimately accepts.

At first it seems the treatments aren't working, and the scientist decides he has to kill her to conceal his failure.  What a guy.  Fortunately, before he can do so, the injuries finally heal.  He immediately does a 180 from wanting to kill her to exhibiting a creepy sexual fascination.

Alas, the curative effect proves only temporary, and the scientist has exhausted his supply of the restorative serum he developed.  Getting more on short notice will require him to use Science! to transform himself in a cut-rate wolfman type thing and go murder some women so he can acquire the necessary materials.  Fortunately, a gorilla has recently escaped and is loose in the city, so there's a ready culprit for the police to blame for these attacks.

Uh huh.

Trust me, there's plenty more stupid in the script that I'm skipping over.  But the real problem of the film isn't the silly contrivances on which it relies, it's the way it meanders endlessly after it sets up its premise.  There's rather too much of nothing happening.  Which is a shame, because the opening twenty minutes, while not exactly cinematic art, rattle along quite well.

Ultimately, unless you want to play goofy literary criticism games with it, there's not much reason to watch this.

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