director Joseph V. Mascelli, Jack Pollexfen
You have to like a movie poster that names the animal actor, in this case “Xeres the cat”.
I am perpetually intrigued when researching a film (after having seen it) and finding movie connections between one odd cult figure and another. Now director Joseph V. Mascelli may have only one film to his directorial credit but he turns out to have played cinematographer for two Dennis Ray Steckler flicks The Thrill Killers (1964) and The Incredibly Strange Creatures Who Stopped Living and Became Mixed-Up Zombies!!?
(1962) as well as on Arch Hall, Sr.’s Wild Guitar (1962). I had noted before the Steckler/Arch Hall connection so maybe that isn’t so strange.
But more credit might be due Jack Pollexfen, producer, writer, and apparently co-director here as well. He’s got a lot of writing and producing credits including Indestructible Man (1956) and Daughter of Dr. Jekyll (1957), but also one of my favorite weird little discoveries of recent years, Edgar Ulmer’s The Man from Planet X (1951). I’m not playing Six Degrees of Kevin Bacon here but the Ulmer to Steckler linkages are odd and vaguely cool.
So what have we got here in Monstrosity (a.k.a. The Atomic Brain)? A cheap mad doctor brain transplant picture in which an old grouse of a lady seeks to have her brain plopped into the head of a young pretty thing. She imports three gals from abroad, one with the most amazingly awful English accent that sounds more Southern than Cockney, I suppose as spares in failed experiments.
The doctor she has in tow plants a dog’s brain in a man’s body and winds up with…? A monstrosity. When he puts his beloved cat’s brain in the Mexican woman’s head, he gets a somewhat docile result unless cornered. With a track record like that, what could go wrong?
Like a lot of movies picked up by MST3K, it’s a truly bad film. But it’s also an enjoyably bad film, with seemingly incessant narration, some super-goofy science, and a strangely flippant musical accompaniment.
Ah, the public domain, a particularly wonderful thing.