Thursday, October 10, 2013


B-movie mix of atomic-bomb, God's-domain sci-fi with gangster melodrama. Eddie (Ron Randell, pictured) is getting a little too much publicity and making things hot for his fellow gangsters, so, led by chief thug Andy Damon (Anthony Caruso), they vote to oust him by framing him for murder. However, on his way to prison, he escapes in the middle of the desert, winding up at ground zero for a nuclear test of Cobalt X. Caught outside of the observation post during the blast, he's battered and bruised but survives and heads back to get revenge against Damon. When Dr. Meeker realizes Eddie has survived, he tells the authorities they need to find him because the radiation will cause his body to mutate. Sure enough, his flesh slowly turns to steel, making him indestructible. His mind begins to go as well, and soon he's getting his revenge even as his mind and body are deteriorating. The cops are desperate to find him, worried that his body is radiating cobalt, putting all around him in danger. There are seeds of good things here that never blossom. Randell is initially very good as Eddie, a sympathetic bad guy, but eventually, he's stuck just acting physically agonized and mentally confused. There are two leading ladies that I occasionally had a hard time telling apart: Debra Paget is Linda, the "bad" bad girl, who used to sleep with Eddie but is now sleeping with Damon; Elaine Stewart is Carla, the "good" bad girl who helps Eddie survive. The steel-mutating plot point is interesting, but due to the low budget, there are no special effects or make-up, just dirt and bullet holes on Randell's torso. The climax involves flamethrowers. [TCM]

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