Thursday, October 17, 2013


As a gangland boss puts $20,000 into a safe in his office, a hulking bald zombie guy smashes in through a window and kills him. Thugs shoot at him, but he is impervious to bullets. Two men are controlling him, speaking through him, and can see everything the zombie can see because of cameras implanted in his retinas. Mad doctor Steigg has created a small army of these creatures by charging recently dead bodies (which explains the recent rash of mysterious morgue thefts) with atomic rays so that Buchanan, a deported gangster, can get revenge against the people who sent him away. The cops don't know what they've got on their hands until Dr. Walker (Richard Denning) discovers that a blood sample from a zombie is an artificial chemical compound with no hemoglobin. More people are found dead, but when Harris, Walker's friendly cop partner, becomes a not only a victim but is also turned into a zombie, it becomes personal.

This is Father Knows Best meets Night of the Living Dead. Denning has a wife and daughter, and we get long, tedious scenes of their banal interactions in their overlit TV-sit-com house. The scene in which Harris (known to the little girl as Uncle Dave) enters the house in a zombie state, with raw stitches across his head, threatens to be, well, threatening, but it's not played particularly well and winds up petering out. This is almost too well-made; at times, it feels like Ed Wood or 40s serial moviemaking with a good-sized budget by competent but unoriginal craftsmen. There's an interesting subplot involving the zombies causing a city-wide panic by blowing stuff up and causing train wrecks, but it's dispensed with in a single quick montage scene. The climax of fisticuffs and explosions is fun. Denning is bland, though Michael Granger is effective as Buchanan. [TCM]

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