From the Latin cyclops means round eye or circle eye
Dr. Cyclops is actually Dr. Thorkel (Albert Dekker) and he is insane. The first thing he does is kill someone. His laboratory is in the Amazon jungles of Peru. He has at his disposal a rich source of radium which he uses in his experiments. He has perfected a way to shrink anything down to one fifth its normal size. He invites some scientists to come to the jungle and see him. Dr. Mary Robinson (Janice Logan), Dr. Bulfinch (Charles Halton), and Bill Stockton (Thomas Coley). They trek all the way into the jungle. The doctor having poor eyesight has them identify something through the microscope. He then dismisses them. The doctors having traveled all that way are angry and confront Dr. Thorkel. The travelers get nosy. Thorkel gets mad and tricks them into walking into his shrinking machine. He shrinks them all.
Of course there is a problem with Dr. Thorkel’s research and the miniature people are starting to grow. That means they have to die. Since we are talking about a mad scientist he has no qualms about how they die. He attempts everything from shooting them to setting them on fire. Their only hope is to stay alive long enough to grow.
There are a lot of shrinking people movies out there. Everything from the silent film ‘The Dwarf and the Giant” in 1901 to “Ant Man and the Wasp” in 2018. Even ‘The Bride of Frankenstein” had little people in it. Dr. Cyclops was made in 1940 so it’s sorta in the middle.
With the use of forced perspective, matte paintings and back screens the special effects are actually great. Especially for when it was made.
One thing about the movie I saw as a drawback was the music score. Being shrunk down to the size of a cat snack has got to be terrifying but a lot of the score is more comic. It takes away from the horror in this horror movie. I can understand Dr. Thorkel’s comic attitude because he’s a whack-a-doodle but music lends so much tone to a movie. In this case, however, it takes away from what it should be. Even so, with all the special effects and the decent story it’s still very entertaining.