The Astro-Zombies (1968)

What we have here is a Drive In movie, loaded with zombie creatures, a topless dancer, screaming girls (most of them in their underwear), gruesome heaps of body parts, a bit of blood, John Carradine as a mad scientist, and even Faster, Pussycat! Kill! Kill!‘s Tura Satana.

And despite all that, it is basically dull.

John Carradine spends most of his screen time lecturing his mute assistant about the technical details of his latest experiment.  If he’d based his mad scientist on the dullest science professor he could find it would probably have been more interesting.

The hero’s boss also loves to talk, so we spend another big chunk of the film listening to him.  And yet another big chunk goes to the gang of spies who want to steal the secrets of the astro zombies.  Who, yes, spend a lot of time talking.

The Astro Zombies (or “Quasi-Humans”) themselves are supposed to be for NASA, who would send them into space to do all the dangerous stuff.  You’ve got to wonder though, whether NASA would risk their image with these creepy, inhuman looking things.  But then, mad scientists never do seem to think these things out.

Meanwhile, Tura Satana gets to wear a lot more clothes this time around, but she isn’t given much to  do, and looks like she aged more than the 13 years since Faster, Pussycat! Kill!  Kill!.

Ted V. Mikels, who was responsible for a lot of Drive In trash, like The Corpse Griders,   writes and directs, but completely fails to bring anything to the party.

He probably was too busy talking.

On the whole, I find the whole notion of the creatures, humans with lots of scientific upgrades, to be rather unpleasant:  one is a little surprised to find that NASA is backing the project:  After all, in real life, they are quite protective of their image.   And they would have a hard time selling the public on the notion of  cutting people up and putting them together again right to get the astronauts they need.

But in the end, it really doesn’t matter because no matter how bizarre those Astro Zombies may be, they still aren’t enough to salvage this one.

So you’re probably better off letting this one go.

After all, there aren’t many drive ins left anymore.

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