The Fiend with the Electronic Brain
AKA The Man with the Synthetic Brain (1967)
w/ #JohnCarradine #RoyMorton #TaceyRobbins
An injured Vietnam veteran becomes violently insane when a mad scientist experiments on his brain.
Not too long ago I reviewed an Al Adamson movie called Psycho a Go Go (1965). As I said then:
One of the things that Al Adamson is known for, is using footage from old movies to create new movies. Or adding new footage to old movies, retitling them, and releasing them as new movies.
Psycho a Go Go was Al’s first feature film, and the original version of… well, let’s call it Psycho a Go Go. In 1969 (or was it 1967?), Al re-edited it and added some new footage of legendary actor John Carradine, playing a mad scientist. The “new” movie was released as The Fiend with the Electronic Brain.
Still not satisfied (or perhaps just seeing another opportunity) Al added some more material, featuring other actors – including his future wife Regina Carrol. He called this “new” movie Blood of Ghastly Horror. If that wasn’t enough, there was also a TV version created in 1972 called The Man With the Synthetic Brain.
There seems to be a lot of discrepancy and differing opinions as to the dates of some of these versions of Psycho a Go Go. Severin’s big box set of Al Adamson movies has The Fiend with the Electronic Brain. listed as 1964 – the same year they list Psycho a Go Go. The IMDb claims Psycho a Go Go is from 1965. The IMDb doesn’t even list The Fiend with the Electronic Brain as a separate movie. They simply send you to the page for Blood of Ghastly Horror (which they say is from 1967). Severin lists Blood of Ghastly Horror as from 1971.
Severin also includes, as an extra on their Blu-ray, the alternate title sequence for The Fiend with the Electronic Brain, which uses the title The Man With the Synthetic Brain. They also include the trailer.
Confession: I had never seen The Fiend with the Electronic Brain before last Friday. When I tweeted about the movie (right before I watched it) I took some images from the trailer, which I logically assumed were images from the actual movie. They were not.
I am guessing that they are actually from a later cut of the movie (that uses the title The Man With the Synthetic Brain. But I can’t really say for sure. You can see those images in my tweet, below.
In reality, The Fiend with the Electronic Brain is pretty much the same movie as Psycho a Go Go, but with the added footage of John Carradine. He talks about the character of Joe Cory, played by Roy Morton, being a Vietnam veteran – and how he experimented on Joe (to save his life) but may have made him violently insane. Oops.
I had been looking forward to seeing the more zombie-like monster version of Joe, which I thought that I was seeing in the trailer. Sadly, he was not in this movie. Perhaps I can look forward to that in the next version of this epic, Blood of Ghastly Horror. Only time will tell.
Is The Fiend with the Electronic Brain an improvement over Psycho a Go Go? Probably not. If you’re a big John Carradine fan you might think so, as any John Carradine is better than no John Carradine. It’s perhaps slightly crazier than the original movie, but I’ve always liked Psycho a Go Go as it was (and thought that it was plenty crazy in it’s own way). Still, I enjoyed this “new” version – and I think it’s a fascinating artifact for any fan of Al Adamson. I’ve always wondered about his penchant for reusing his old work, and now I can see one of the many stages of this strange film’s development.
Whatever you call it, The Fiend with the Electronic Brain is undoubtedly #NotQuiteClassicCinema. For fans of Al, it’s almost certainly a must see. And as I said the last time:
There are few sure things in this life, but I would say that any movie with Al Adamson’s name on it is going to enliven any #FridayNightAtTheHomeDriveIn.