The Magnetic Monster

Release Date: February 18, 1953
Starring: Richard Carlson as Jeffrey Stewart
Jean Byron as Connie Stewart
King Donovan as Dan Forbes
Director: Curt Siodmak, Herbert L. Strock
Producers: Ivan Tors, George Van Marter
Writers: Curt Siodmak, Ivan Tors
Music: Blaine Sanford
Cinematographer: Charles Van Enger
Editor: Herbert L. Strock
Distributor: United Artists
Time: BW 76 mins.

The Magnetic Monster is not available on DVD.

Interesting Tidbits

The climatic special effects were taken from the 1930's German film Gold.

The Plot

A pair of agents from the Office of Scientific Investigation (OSI) are sent to investigate a local appliance store where all of the clocks have stopped at the same time and metal items in the store have been magnetized. The source of this is traced to an office located directly above the store, where scientific equipment is found, along with a dead body. There are also signs of radioactivity, but the cause of the difficulties itself is clearly no longer in the room, or the immediate area.

Investigation and request for citizen input eventually lead to an airborne flight carrying a scientist, who has developed signs of radiation sickness related to something in a heavy briefcase he carries and clutches irrationally. Before dying, he confesses to have developed an artificial radioactive isotope, serranium, which was bombarded with alpha particles for more than eight days. Unfortunately, his so-far microscopic creation has taken on a life of its own, literally: it must absorb energy from its surroundings once a day, and in the process doubles its size each time.

The OSI officials realize that, with its rate of growth, it will be a matter of only days before it becomes large enough to effect the Earth's rotation on its axis and spin it out of orbit. They also discover that the isotope is impervious to any known means of destroying it or even rendering it inert. The only answer appears to be to use a Canadian experimental power generator being constructed in a cavern under the ocean, with the hopes of bombarding the element with so much energy in one surge that it neutralizes itself with its own "gluttony".

The two governments agree on this proposal, and the isotope is transferred to the project, dubbed the Deltatron, but there is a last minute objection from the engineer in charge of the project. With no time to lose, the lead OSI agent commandeers the machine and barely escapes sacrificing his own life to activate it before sealing the cavern-filling, multi-story device off from the rest of the underground operation, which is filled with project workers. The isotope is successfully stopped, as evidenced by the disappearance of the trace magnetism which it has produced following every energy absorption, although the Deltatron is also destroyed in the process.