“Alberto, you must be insane. You’ve gone mad over her.”
Jeanette Moreneau (Susanne Loret) is a stripper. She has just been dumped by her boyfriend Pierre Mornet (Sergio Fantoni). In a frantic state she has a car accident that leaves the left side of her face disfigured. In the hospital she is approached by a woman named Monique Riviere (Franca Parisi). Monique is the assistant to the brilliant but mad Professor Alberto Levin (Alberto Lupo). She tells Jeanette that her face can be restored when all other doctors have told her that there is nothing that can be done about her scars.
Jeanette secretly goes to the professor's house. Professor Levin treats her scars with a serum he calls Derma 28. It is a more refined version of his previous Derma 25 which had bad side effects. He developed the serum from studying the effects of radiation on living tissue in post-Hiroshima, Japan. Unfortunately he runs out of serum and needs to make more. He needs glandular fluid from women. By now he has become obsessed with Jeanette. He injects himself with his lesser Derma 25 which transforms him into a monster. As a monster he has no qualms about killing women. (Why this was true I don’t know. You’re already a slime ball, be a man and do your own killing.) When his assistant and lover Monique objects over his attention to Jeanette, he kills her too.
His stomping ground for women takes him near the docks. The bodies have two puncture wounds on their necks where the professor extracted the glands needed for his serum. The Japanese refugees believe that the murders are being done by a vampire they call Seddok”. Others blame the killings on an escaped gorilla. The police, however, are beginning to suspect Professor Levin.
“Atom Age Vampire” was released in 1960 and was directed by Aton Giulio Majano. There is a misconception that Mario Bava had something to do with the movie. He did not. The name Mario Fava in the credits is a name used by the producer Elio Ippolito Mellino from time to time. It is an Italian movie. It’s been chopped up for the US. Originally 105 minutes long it is down to about 87 minutes. It’s a problem that happens a lot with foreign made movies. Racier scenes and/or other unacceptable situations are cut to make a movie more appropriate for American sensibilities. The result, however, makes the story disjointed and difficult to understand. If you do find the Italian version, don’t expect the missing 18 minutes to be naked ladies.
The title is a really bad translation of the Italian title which I believe really translates as “Seddok, the heir of Satan”. I’m not sure where the Seddok came from. It’s not a Japanese name, or an Italian name, but the heir of Satan is probably a general reference to the monster side of the doctor when he takes the Derma 25. The vampire reference in the American title probably refers to the Japanese myth and the puncture wounds on the neck. The atom age reference would then be in regards to the atom bombs dropped on Japan. It makes for an interesting title, but very misleading. It’s not very good, but there are strippers in it so it’s got a cult following. I found it kinda boring. Lots of melodrama, very little horror. The only part that is half way decent is the transformation sequences after the professor takes the Derma 25. The movie itself is like a dozen other movies out there were a mad scientist has an obsession over a young woman and will do anything for her. “The Brain That Wouldn’t Die”, “The Corpse Vanishes”, “Eyes Without A Face”, “The Awful Dr. Orloff”, etc., etc. It is a kitchen sink movie. It’s got glandular experiments, a Jekyll and Hyde person and a gorilla reference and a vampire reference.