The Astro Zombies (1968)

Astro Zombies (1968)‘The only brain available to me at the time was that of a psychopathic killer…’

Government agents investigating a string of ‘mutilation murders’ suspect the involvement of rogue scientist Dr DeMarco. Meanwhile, enemy spies plan to locate the missing doctor and use his experiments in reanimation and thought transference for their own evil ends.

In reality, this late 1960s effort from director Ted V Mikels (‘The Corpse Grinders’ (1971)) is little more than a low budget spy flick with a science fiction gimmick. Most of the ‘action’ involves a little cloak and dagger and minor gunplay as Wendell Corey’s G-Men face off against sadistic Tura Satana and her goons. Corey is top billed but does only 2 scenes (in his office!) and Satana lounges around in various funky outfits before stubbing out her cigarette on a prisoner’s face and emptying her entire bullet clip into someone who’s already dead. She’s not exactly a complex character.

The macguffin that drives the plot is DeMarco’s somewhat confusing experiments. They are something to do with sending an artificial man into space (an ‘Astro-Zombie!) and giving him instructions by thought transference. He explains it all at some length to his mute assistant (William Bagdad) in various interminable scenes intercut with the espionage ‘action’. DeMarco is played by the wonderful John Carradine (who else?), and he manages to invest some authority into the nonsensical ‘scientific’ gobbledygook that is all the script gives him to deliver.

Astro Zombies (1968)

‘Cheer up, mate, at least you’re gonna be in the trailer!’

Unfortunately, one of the good doctor’s Astro-Zombies has already gone rogue and is on the rampage, attacking vulnerable young women in some rather tasteless, poorly staged scenes. In a tussle with one of our heroes, Astro loses his solar power pack and has to run about with a flashlight held up to his forehead. Things come together for the less than riveting climax as the forces of good and evil converge on Carradine’s basement lab in the middle of the night. This includes some local police, who approach in bright daylight.

During the final act, a couple of guys we’ve not seen before wander into frame just to be killed by Astro, one is decapitated and the other gets an axe in the head. As per usual with a Mikels movie, there isn’t a lot of plot, just some gratuitous bits for the trailer and a lot of padding in between. The credits feature some plastic robot toys that fall over a lot. Carradine demonstrates a level of professionalism that was hardly merited. Satana was a lot better in ‘Faster Pussycat… Kill Kill!’ (1966).

That’s all folks!

Buy ‘The Astro Zombies’ here. I did.

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