Deep in the South American jungle, physicist Dr Thorkel (Albert Dekker) is mining radium to use in a secret experiment shrinking life down to a miniature size. But when he starts to go blind, he calls on the services of four scientists who are also shrunk and left to struggle with now-gigantic insects, birds and small animals.
Based on a short story of the same name by Henry Kuttner, 1940’s Doctor Cyclops was the first full three-strip Technicolor sci-fi horror ever made and is directed by Ernest Schoedsack – best known for 1933’s King Kong (1933) – who really goes to town with the special effects which garnered the film an Oscar nomination.
With his shaved head and thick, round glasses, Dekker (The Wild Bunch) makes for a splendidly sinister scientist, and there are some suspenseful shock moments, notably the group’s efforts to train a rifle on their sleeping tormentor, and the nail-biting climax.
This is an invigorating dose of comic book fantasy that’s well worth revisiting.
Doctor Cyclops is available on DVD from Fabulous Films