it's a turkey all right. What else could
you expect from a flick that uses toy
robots and a smoke bomb for its opening
The so-called plot
concerns the illicit activities of Dr.
DeMarco (schlock stalwart John Carradine,
in his umpteenth mad scientist role),
who was fired from a top secret government
project when his experiments crossed
ethical lines. He advocates the use
of human corpses to build "Astro-men":
cyborgs who can work in space powered
by solar energy. By applying thought-transference
technology the knowledge and experience
of the world's greatest scientists can
be stored forever in an Astro-man's
DeMarco aided by his mute, greasy lab assistant Franchot (Mikels
film regular William Bagdad) has continued his experiments
in secret using the bodies of criminals and accident victims.
His first Astro-man runs amok,
committing a series of mutilation murders which draw in the
authorities. Directed by CIA section chief Holman (visibly drunk
Wendell Corey), federal
agents close in on DeMarco but also cross paths with the spy
ring of ruthless dragon lady Tura Satana. She, too, wants to
get her hands on DeMarco and his reseach for an unnamed foreign
power... It all culminates in a wonderfully inept climax that
makes the whole silly mess worthwhile. Oh, and there's a semi-nude
dance sequence (with director Mikels himself, shirtless, accompanying
on bongos) thrown in for no reason whatsoever.
is simply an exercise in one such padding technique after another.
In one particularly grueling 90-second endurance test, Carradine
fumbles with a screwdriver while "degaussing" a circuit,
a minute and a half of footage that feels like an eternity.
Scenes of Carradine and Bagdad fiddling about in the lab just
go on, and on, and on...
ten minutes are a veritable laugh riot, however. The movie just
takes too long in getting there without enough "so bad
they're good" moments in between. Thus I don't place Astro-Zombies
in the pantheon of "must see" Z-grade favorites. But
it does have its moments. (Note: the gore, including
stabbing murders and a decapitation, is
so phony-looking that the flick doesn't earn a "Blood 'n'