Written by: Michael Den Boer on October 13th, 2006
Theatrical Release Dates: USA, 1963 (Madmen of Mandoras), USA, 1962 (The Devil’s Hand)
Directors: David Bradley (Madmen of Mandoras), William J. Hole Jr. (The Devil’s Hand)
Cast: Walter Stocker, Audrey Caire, Carlos Rivas, John Holland, Marshall Reed (Madmen of Mandoras), Linda Christian, Robert Alda, Ariadna Welter, Neil Hamilton (The Devil’s Hand)
DVD released: September 26th, 2006
Approximate running time: 74 minutes (Madmen of Mandoras), 71 minutes (The Devil’s Hand)
Aspect Ratio: 1.33:1 Full Frame (Both Films)
Sound: Dolby Digital Stereo (Both Films)
DVD Release: BCI Eclipse
Region Coding: Region 0 NTSC
Retail Price: $12.98
Madmen of Mandoras: A world renowned neurobiologist is kidnapped shortly after announcing to the world that he has created a cure that makes even the deadliest nerve gas worthless. Near the end of World War 2 a few high ranking German officers decide to save Hitler’s brain and relocate to the small island of Mandoras in the Caribbean where they will plot the third Reich’s next move. The professors’ daughter and his son in law soon get wind of what is going on and they go to Mandoras to rescue the professor and save the world from the Nazi’s.
Madmen of Mandoras is also known under the alternate title “They Saved Hitler’s Brain” and this version is padded with nearly twenty minutes of new scenes shot for this T.V. version of the film.
The premise for the film has to be one of the most ingenious ever concocted for any film that uses that incorporates Hitler or the Nazi’s into it. The title “They Saved Hitler’s Brain” certainly sets up lofty expectations for what is to come and unfortunately the film never really lives up to its salacious title. First off they not only saved his brain they saved his whole head. They head in the grand finale looks like wax and other times through out the film its just looks fake. The sets look like soundstages and there are several glaring instances in which stock footage is used. The shorter version of the film titled “Madmen of Mandoras” plays better of the two. In the end “Madmen of Mandoras” is not a good film and “They Saved Hitler’s Brain” is even worse.
The Devil’s Hand: Rick Turner is plagued by a dancing woman in his dreams. While walking by a doll shop he sees a doll that looks like the woman in his dreams. The next day he takes his fiancée to this doll shop to show her the doll and they find a doll that looks like his fiancée. Shortly there after his fiancée becomes ill so Rick decides to investigate this doll shop and soon finds out the owner of the shop is the leader of a satanic cult. Will Rick be able to find a cure for his fiancée before the cult discovers there is a traitor in their midst.
The Devil’s Hand is a tale about a satanic cult that uses voodoo to control its members. The premise is not that original and even if you went in not knowing what type of movie this was it doesn’t take to much imagination to see where this one is going for the outset. There is nothing creepy or remotely scary as the various cult members look like they are high on downers as they mindlessly chant and do very little else. Despite its mere seventy one minutes running time this film feels a lot longer then it is.
Ultimately The Devil’s Hand makes is tedious affair that lacks any real suspense or tension.
Madmen of Mandoras, They Saved Hitler’s Brain and The Devil’s Hand are all presented in their original full frame aspect ratio. Madmen of Mandoras has the best transfer of the three as it is sharp and free of any major print damage. They Saved Hitler’s Brain is not as sharp and there is noticeable print damage through out. The Devil’s Hand has some minor print damage and the image remains stable throughout.
All three films come with one audio option a Dolby Digital mono mix in English. Outside of some minor hiss dialog is crisp and music and effects sound balanced. All three films audio mixes are more then adequate.
Extras for this release include the ninety three minute version of “Madmen of Mandoras” titled “They Saved Hitler’s Brain” and trailers for other Crown International Picture releases. Other extras include concessions stand ads and previews that are supposed to get you into the drive in vibe while watching the two films included with this release.
BCI’s latest Starlite Drive in Theatre double feature offers a lot bang for the buck. Unfortunately the films included fail to entertain even on it is a so bad it’s good kind of way.