Friday, March 14, 2008

March's Monster Movie of the Month - Donovan's Brain (1953)



A DEAD MAN'S BRAIN IN A HIDDEN LABORATORY TOLD HIM TO

KILL... KILL... KILL... KILL... KILL...


This is the March movie on my Monster Movie of the Month calendar.

Although its not really about a monster, per se, its about a brain. Donovan's brain.

Donovan is a beastly, selfish, egotistical millionaire who dies in a plane crash just as the movie starts. Fortunately (for the movie - otherwise it would have been a really short one), the crash occurs just a stone's throw from the laboratory of a fellow (Dr. Cory) who's experimenting with keeping monkey brains alive after having removed them from their monkey bodies.

Successfully experimenting, I might add.

So, no big surprise as to what comes next: Mr. Donovan's still living brain gets plucked out of his dead body, by Dr. Cory, and kept alive in a tank of electrified saline solution. Dr. Cory (and his plucky wife) can tell the brain's alive because they've got it hooked up to an EEG machine. And besides, it keeps getting bigger and glowing and pulsing and stuff. (This is a sure-fire way to tell if a brain is still alive....)

Now, stealing a dead man's brain is illegal, so Dr. Cory and his wife are keeping this thing a secret. But a "nosy reporter" finds out and starts blackmailing Dr. Cory.

Big mistake!

Why? Because Dr. Cory's body is slowly being taken over by THE BRAIN. (Insert creepy and alarming music here.) Now, Cory's wife and the couple's "affable drunkard friend" can see this is happening (Dr. Cory begins speaking and acting and LOOKING like Donovan did when he was alive.). But they decide not to interfere (What?), since the the whole brain experiment thing is so important to Dr. Cory.

Well, all sorts of trouble ensues, including the eventual demise of said reporter at the hands of Dr. Cory/THE BRAIN. And Donovan, in Cory's body, starts flying around the country, gathering his fortune, blackmailing people and being generally nasty while figuring out a way to keep his brain safe (he's going to have a special life support vault made and keep it in there).

Anyway, now that somebody (nosy reporter) has been killed, the wife and drunkard friend decide it really IS time to end this experiment. But - surprise - THE BRAIN has grown too powerful to stop!

How will THE BRAIN be destroyed? Can THE BRAIN be destroyed? Will Dr. Cory's wife have to live the rest of her life married to a SCIENTIFIC ABERRATION?

Watch and see.

The movie is actually based on a novel (with the same name) by Curt Siodmak. I read the novel, but so long ago I don't remember if it was any good or not. Actually, Siodmak wrote two sequels - "Hauser's Memory" and "Gabriel's Body" - and I read the last book. Then went back and read the first one. When I was a kid.

So the movie wasn't bad enough to be laughable, but it wasn't really good enough to be... well, good. But it was watchable - a decent way to spend an hour and a half.

Bit of trivia: Dr Cory's wife was played by a gal named Nancy Davis, who later married a fellow named Ronald Reagan and became First Lady of the US.

How about that?

THREE PULSING BRAINS

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