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DONOVAN’S BRAIN (1953) – Episode 120 – Decades of Horror: The Classic Era

“Janice, listen carefully. I’ve got to break away from the brain. I may have to do something desperate.” Desperate is as desperate does. Watch your back, Janice. Join this episode’s Grue-Crew – Whitney Collazo, Chad Hunt, Daphne Monary-Ernsdorff, and Jeff Mohr – as they pick each others’ brains over Donovan’s Brain (1953).

Decades of Horror: The Classic Era
Episode 120 – Donovan’s Brain (1953)

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Three scientists attempt to keep alive the brain of millionaire megalomaniac W.H. Donovan after an otherwise fatal plane crash. The brain has other ideas and begins to possess people.


Chad chose Donovan’s Brain because when he saw it as a kid, he wasn’t scared by it at all. Wait, what? True, but being a Curt Siodmak fan and someone who always appreciates John Hamilton (Perry White in Adventures of Superman, 1952-1958), he decided to give it another go.  He appreciates Donovan’s Brain more this time, describing it as a good, solid, Sci-Fi B-movie with good performances all around, most especially, that of the brain.

Donovan’s Brain is also a lot of fun for Daphne. She just loves a growing, pulsating brain in a fish tank. Whitney thinks it is pretty neat knowing that Donovan’s Brain is based on a book by the author who wrote Universal’s The Wolf Man (1941). Jeff describes Donovan’s Brain as a science fiction picture with no science, just a lot of fiction and magical thinking. He’s particularly impressed with Lew Ayre’s performance as the doctor possessed by Donovan’s brain, and always loves Gene Evans and Steve Brodie.

If you’re in the mood for some 50s Sci-Fi B-move goodness, Donovan’s Brain is available to stream (at the time of this writing) from the Classic Horror Movie Channel and as PPV on Amazon. The movie is also currently available on physical media as a Blu-ray from Kino Lorber.

Gruesome Magazine’s Decades of Horror: The Classic Era records a new episode every two weeks. Up next in their very flexible schedule is one chosen by Jeff: Son of Frankenstein (1939), featuring Boris Karloff, Bela Lugosi, Basil Rathbone, and Lionel Atwill.

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To each of you from each of us, “Thank you so much for listening!

Jeff Mohr
Jeff lives smack dab in the middle of the cornfields of Iowa and is a long-time horror fan. His first remembered encounters with the genre were The Wizard of Oz, Tarzan gorilla chases, and watching the first broadcast of The Twilight Zone episode, "An Occurrence at Owl Creek Bridge." While he now qualifies as an old fart, he strives to be an Old Boy. Paraphrasing Robert Bloch, he has the heart of a small boy. He keeps it in a jar on his desk. Jeff has written for and SQ Horror Magazine. He currently writes for Gruesome Magazine and is a co-host of the Decades of Horror podcasts - The Classic Era, 1970s, and 1980s - and the Gruesome Magazine Podcast.