There have been several unsolved mutilation murders in the area recently. The government has been investigating and believes it may have something to do with the work being performed by Dr. Petrovich (Victor Izay) and Dr. DeMarco (John Carradine) concerning organ implants and thought wave transmission. The intent of their research was to be able to transmit information using thought waves from Computers on Earth directly to the brains of astronauts in space through radio frequencies.
Government agent Eric Porter (Tom Pace) has been working undercover at Dr. Petrovich’s lab. He has also been dating one of the doctor’s assistants, Janine Norwalk (Joan Patrick). Eric’s real boss is Holman (Wendell Corey). They have been investigating the doctor but have concluded that he is not involved in any of the murders. They do believe that his old associate Dr. DeMarco may be involved. DeMarco was fired from the Aero Space Research Center prior to the murders for experimenting on live people. DeMarco is also insane.
The government also believes that a foreign country is interested in getting a hold of DeMarco’s research. Eric and another agent, Chuck Edwards (Joseph Hoover), are assigned to find out whom and stop them as well as find and stop Dr. DeMarco from creating his monsters.
Sergio Demozhenin (Egon Sirany) is selling information about Dr. DeMarco’s experiments to Satana (Tura Satana) and her minion Juan (Rafael Campos) while her other minion Tiros (Vincent Barbi) keeps watch. Sergio gets a little greedy and Satana has him killed.
In his lab Dr. DeMarco is experimenting on humans. He replaces parts of their bodies with artificial ones. He then inserts electrodes in the brain and using radio waves controls, what he calls Astro Men or Astro Zombies. DeMarco’s assistant is a mute hunchback creature with one eye named Franchot (William Bagdad). Since DeMarco’s Astro Zombie is running wild and killing people, he is busy creating a new and improved model.
“The Astro-Zombies” was released in 1968 and was directed by Ted V. Mikels. It is a science fiction horror film. The movie was written and produced by Mikels and Wayne Rogers. Rogers played Trapper John on the television show M*A*S*H.
As its title implies “Astro Zombies” is cheezy ridiculousness. That would be fine, but it also happens to be boring cheezy ridiculousness. Even so, there seems to be a following since thirty some odd years later a string of sequels emerged. “Mark of the Astro-Zombies” was released in 2004, “Astro-Zombies M3: Cloned” in 2010 and “Astro-Zombies M4: Invaders from Cyberspace” in 2012. Tura Satana would return for the second and third films but not the fourth.
The zombies themselves are guys with masks over their faces. The head masks look kinda like a cross between a sleestak and a skull, crappy but cool. DeMarco explains in detail to Franchot how to create his Astro Zombies and the process of how they work. Carradine’s rambling are a bit tedious, but Franchot is a diligent student and is working on a project of his own. Following DeMarco’s teachings, He plans on turning a sexy young woman into his own zombie slave although I don’t think he plans on adding any plastic parts.
The house used in the movie as DeMarco’s secret lab belonged to Peter Falk. He was a friend of Wayne Rogers. Falk was supposed to have a cameo in the film, but it ended up on the cutting room floor. Mikels said it was too comedic for what he saw as a serious role. One wonders if it would have improved the film at all.