"The Gamma Ray merely accelerates the natural process of time."
Mike Wilson (Paul Douglas) is an American reporter, and Howard Meade (Leslie Phillips) is an English photographer. They are on a train going through Austria. When the car they are riding is transferred to an abandoned rail spur they find themselves in the tiny Iron Curtain country of Gudavia. The two travelers are jailed as spies. The leader of the state is Dr. Boronski (Walter Rilla). Boronski tells the local head of the police, Commander Koerner (Phillip Leaver), to release the men from jail, and to fuss over them. Boronski dismisses the idea they are spies and is concerned about the danger of having two journalists in jail. The Commander puts the two men in the local hotel.
Mike, being a newsman, begins to see strange things going on in this little town. Someone gives Anna (Jocelyn Lane), one of the staff, a note to pass to the men. She passes them the note. It says that the children are in danger. A woman in the street screams murder. At one point Howard finds himself surrounded by a bunch of men that look like goons. The guys try to question Anna. She slips and admits the man who gave her the note is dead. Then she slips again and refers to Koerner as Dr. Macklin. Wilson is immediately interested in the name Macklin, he is trying to remember where he knows it from. Mike starts investigating.
Mike learns that Koerner has been experimenting with gamma rays. He believes that by exposing children to the gamma rays he can turn children into geniuses or imbeciles at will. He has a pack of robot-like creatures under his control which he uses to stay in power. Mike tries to get Koerner’s assistant Paula Wendt (Eva Bartok) to help him. She is reluctant to help. She is afraid for her brother Hugo (Michael Caridia). He is one of Koerner’s experiments.
“The Gamma People” was released in 1956 and was directed by John Gilling. It is a British-American venture between MGM and Warwick Film Productions. It’s a strange little film. I found the movie a mixed bag of styles. There’s comedy from the two befuddled newsmen. Then there’s the Nazi mad scientist. A few zombies here and there. The bratty Hitler Youth. And gorgeous mountain scenes. A kind of “Dawn of the Dead” in the Alps meet “the odd couple” and “The Children of the Corn”. It’s a little cheesy, a little campy but for some bizarre reason refreshing. Not everyone will feel that way. Some will find the mixture unsatisfying but for some strange reason I liked it.