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The Human Duplicators (1965) - Plot Summary Poster

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Summaries

  • An alien is dispatched from a faraway galaxy to take over the Earth by "duplicating" humans and creating a race of zombies resembling animated pottery in this low-budget sci-fi film. Enjoy the opening and closing shots of the alien spacecraft resembling a Christmas tree bauble dancing in space, the faces of the "duplicated" humans shattering like a cheap vase when thrown to the floor, and the formative "duplicates" as they are cooked up in the lab in individual coffins. The alien's heart is softened by the persevering goodness of a beautiful blind woman, deeply conflicting his motives as the film plods to its "climactic" confrontation between the humans and their counterfeit duplicates.


Spoilers

The synopsis below may give away important plot points.

Synopsis

  • The movie opens with a Christmas ornament shaped space craft heading to Earth. Title and credits follow as we see inside the craft. Dr. Kolos (Richard Kiel) turns off the revolving crystal object on the pedestal and activates the communications panel on the wall. He reports he has arrived at Earth to the Galaxy Being (Ted Durant) and is told his task is to establish a colony. He is given the name of an Earth scientist to assist him in his work. Kolos is warned that if his mission fails he will be destroyed. Kolos beams down to Earth in front of the palatial home of Professor Dornheimer. He rings the bell and is met by Thor, the butler (John Indrisano). Thor looks up at the giant man and asks, "Can I help you, sir?" When Kolos asks to see the professor he is told Dornheimer is busy and he should call to make an appointment. Kolos forces his way into the house, easily brushing the butler aside. Inside the house, Kolos is drawn to the sound of a piano being played. He enters the music room and sees Lisa Dornheimer (Dolores Faith). She is wearing a yellow dress and asks if it is the butler who entered the room. Kolos passes his huge hand in front of Lisa's face to confirm the young woman is blind. Kolos introduces himself and explains that he is a colleague of the professor. "I have traveled a great distance to see him," he explains to Lisa. Kolos knew of Lisa, but admits to her that he didn't realize how beautiful she was. She explains that despite her blindness, she can easily navigate the house. "You see I grew up here. I know every inch of this house by heart," she explains to the alien. She escorts him to the basement lab, where two female lab assistants, one blonde (Margaret Teele) and one brunette (Alean 'Bambi' Hamilton), assist Professor Vaughn Dornheimer (George Macready) with a seated robot. He tells the old man, "I've come to assist you in your experiments." Dornheimer tells Kolos he needs no assistance, but Kolos insists, "Together we shall create an android in a few days."

    A car pulls up to the Space Research Corporation. Dr. Munson (Mel Ruick as Melville Ruick) checks in with the guard who notes that Munson is starting work early. Munson behaves strangely, signs in for the computer room, and forces the door. The alarm is triggered and the guard catches Munson loading equipment into his briefcase. Munson attacks and kills the guard, Johnson. He knocks the other guard down as he flees the company. Despite three slugs in his back, Munson drives off. Glenn Martin (George Nader), a member of the NIA (National Intelligence Agency) arrives and quickly brushes off two reporters, one white (Tommy Leonetti) and the other black (Lonnie Sattin). Lt. Shaw (Richard Arlen) is already on the scene and briefs Martin on the robbery. We learn there is a pattern; three robberies in the last three months all with the same M.O.: Respected members of the staff responsible and electronic components stolen. Shaw is told that Munson's car was located. Shaw and Martin drive to Stone Canyon (Bronson Canyon, Griffith Park, Los Angeles, California). They walk down into the canyon and find Munson's body.

    In the NIA field office, Austin Welles (Hugh Beaumont) and Martin review the latest in industrial thefts. Welles thinks the Russians or the Chinese may be behind the cases, but Martin dismisses both. He thinks another scientist will be involved, but who? Gale Wilson (Barbara Nichols) enters the office. She has the information from the coroner's office on the death of Dr. Munson. It was assumed he either died from gunshot wounds or the fall over the cliff into Stone Canyon, but Gale reports he was electrocuted. She tells her boss, "Dr. Munson was dead at least twelve hours before they found him in the canyon." Martin and Gale have an on again, off again romance and love to needle each other. Miss Hart (Lori Lyons) brings her boss his pill and some water. Martin asks about the Dornheimer Estate and Gale reports that he is a famous scientist, on the science advisory board until recently. Welles adds that if a scientist has a problem he consults with the old professor.

    Martin drives his yellow Mustang over to see the professor. He is unaware he is being followed by Thor, Dornheimer's butler, in a large, black 1962 Cadillac. Kolos confronts Lisa in the living room. She has been barred from visiting the Laboratory downstairs. Lisa voices her observation that everyone in the household is acting strangely and that she is practically a prisoner in the house. Martin rings the bell and Thor answers the door. Martin explains that he is with View magazine and that he wants to do a feature article on the professor. Thor invites him inside. While waiting, Martin meets Lisa on the stairs and hands her the scarf she dropped earlier. Lisa tries to warn Martin, but Dornheimer enters the room. Lisa runs back upstairs. The two men discuss philosophy until Thor interrupts telling Dornheimer that Kolos wants to speak to him. Martin checks the room, but is observed by someone. Thor escorts Martin out of the house. Martin drives away, and again is followed by Thor in the Cadillac.

    Gale sits by the pool and answers the phone. Glenn Martin is calling her from a pay phone. Before hanging up, he asks Gale to stop at the library and pick up copies of Dornheimer's books. They agree to meet for dinner. They are being watched at the restaurant by a man at the bar. At Gale's apartment, Glenn reads one of Dornheimer's books. He asks Gale what she knows about Cybernetics. He explains, "Dornheimer is the chief exponent of the field. He is the father of the thinking machine." Glenn concludes that an android could be made to look exactly like a human being, like Dr. Munson for instance. Martin returns to the Dornheimer estate. He climbs a ladder to a storeroom above and finds body parts that look like mannequin components. He also finds an assortment of heads, including one of Dr. Munson. The two lab assistants approach wheeling someone or something on a gurney. They enter and then exit a room, this time the gurney is empty. It is a cold storage room loaded with caskets. One casket contains a woman who looks like one of the lab assistants, another the body of the spy at the restaurant. The third casket contains Thor, the butler. A vertically stacked coffin contains the body of the blonde lab assistant. She topples out and breaks on the floor like a china cup. Glenn quickly exits the cold storage room and wanders into the lab. He observes Dornheimer, the two lab assistants, and the Chinese scientist, Dr. Lin Yeung (Kim Satana) standing in a large glass cylinder. In a second cylinder a metal skeleton appears. It is quickly covered with an outer shell of tissue. A duplicate of Dr. Yeung appears, dressed in the same clothes. Lisa joins Martin on the stairs above the lab. He explains that her uncle is a murderer, but she corrects Martin. She explains that the real professor is locked up in the basement, "That man down there is only a copy of my uncle. A twin created by Kolos." Their conversation draws Dornheimer's attention. Martin confronts the professor. Thor climbs the stairs and Martin shoots him repeatedly, with no effect whatsoever. Kolos appears and distracts Martin which gives Thor the opportunity to knock the government agent out. But Martin is conscious enough to throw Thor off the staircase. His head breaks like a cheap, plaster vase when it hits the floor. Dornheimer tells Martin, "Yes Mr. Martin, androids. Superhuman robots, the force of tomorrow." Kolos explains that they will build whatever they need, including a secret agent if necessary. Kolos drags Martin down into the lab where the duplication process is started on Martin. Dornheimer orders his lab assistants to prepare the duplication chamber for Mr. Martin. He injects a sedative into the government agent. After the body is duplicated, Dornheimer and the two lab assistants install the electrical components in the android skull. The final process duplicates memories from the human to the android.

    Welles is in his office with Gale when he gets a phone call. He is notified of a robbery at Pacific Laboratories and the culprit is Dr. Lin Yeung. Martin walks into Welles' office and tells his boss he knows where the next robbery will take place, but his information is the same as was reported to Welles. Gale asks if Dornheimer is behind the robberies, Glenn quickly corrects her, "Dornheimer, of course not. He's one-hundred percent in the clear, he wants to help us. And he did." Glenn asks for permission to go to Washington to check on a few leads. Gale remarks to Welles that Glenn behaved strangely. She asks her boss if he would recognize an android if he saw one? Lisa overhears Kolos making a report to the Galaxy Being. She learns that Glenn Martin has been duplicated and that he will be kept alive until his copy has completed his first assignment. The final matter is that of Lisa. The Galaxy Being wants to know why she hasn't been duplicated and the human destroyed. Kolos explains that she serves no useful purpose, so he decided to leave her human, but the Galaxy Being reproaches him for such independent thinking. The Galaxy Being orders her duplicated and the original destroyed immediately. The Android Dornheimer agrees with the Galaxy Being, but Kolos reminds the professor that he is in charge and he, Kolos, will make the decision regarding Lisa.

    Lisa enters the dungeon area to talk to Glenn Martin. She asks about her uncle, who shares the cell with Martin. She is told he needs medical attention. Martin mentions a coin and Lisa informs him that she found one on the steps down to the lab. Martin asks her to return later with the coin. Gale is watching someone from her car. She follows the car to the U.S. Government Supply Depot. Gale walks in following Glenn. She catches him red handed stealing electronic supplies. He pulls a gun on her, so she runs screaming. Martin follows her and assaults the military escort. The Navy officer is knocked to the ground; his head breaks like a plaster cast. The military guards chase Martin; one stops to examine the damaged android Navy officer. Glenn gets into a gun fight with the police and his boss, Welles. His arm is caught in a warehouse door and is torn free from his body. Glenn escapes in the 4-door black Lincoln Continental, but swerves leaving the parking lot and crashes into Gale's parked car. The police give chase.

    Kolos is in Lisa's room. He is amused by the music box on her makeup table and plays with Martin's coin. Lisa enters her room and confronts Kolos. He tells her she is a threat to security. Lisa fiddles with a small doll and deliberately drops it on the floor to distract Kolos so she can retrieve the coin. Kolos admits to the young woman, "What I have done here on your planet is not my choice. Can you believe in that?" He also tells her that he will be destroyed if his mission fails. He has romantic feelings for the blind woman. As Kolos returns to the lab, Professor Dornheimer and two of the copies of Thor watch him. Dornheimer tells the closest Thor, "First Kolos, then Lisa." Lisa descends the stairs and walks towards the secret entrance to the dungeon, but she is observed by the two female lab assistants. Lisa pulls back a large chest of drawers that acts as a door, the lab assistants follow. In the lab, Dornheimer and Thor confront Kolos. Kolos reminds the professor, "You dare give me orders, professor? It is I who give the orders. I am your master!" Dornheimer corrects the giant man and proclaims himself in charge. Six copies of Thor take Kolos into custody. Lisa walks past the struggle and walks to the cell Glenn occupies. The lab assistants follow her. She gives Glenn the coin and tells him of the android insurrection. Glenn uses a cutting wire built into the coin to saw his way through the bars on his cell. The lab assistants enter and take Lisa back into the lab, where Kolos is chained to the wall. Dornheimer tells Kolos he made a mistake when he gave the androids more wisdom than he possessed.

    Glenn continues to work on the bars. Dornheimer tells him that the androids have a weakness and a device in the lab, a pulse laser beam, is the answer; aim it at their heads. Lisa is prepared for duplication by the two lab assistants. Glenn finally cuts through two bars and escapes his cell. He runs into the lab as Kolos breaks free of his chains. Kolos battles with the six Thor copies as Glenn maneuvers the laser gun into place. Glenn aims the beam at the Thors. Dornheimer flees the lab. The beam has its effect as the Thors begin to battle each other. Dornheimer runs outside but stops when he sees the duplicated Glenn Martin return home. He walks back inside and confronts the human Glenn Martin on the stairs. The copy enters the room and asks to see the master. Dornheimer orders the duplicate to kill the human Glenn. It refuses, so Dornheimer attacks it with a mace. Just as the fight concludes with both androids collapsing, Welles, Gale and two police officers arrive in the house. Kolos carries a sedated Lisa from the lab back upstairs to the living room and gently places her on the couch. Kolos tells Glenn, "Mr. Martin, I was sent here to prepare your society for conquest by the masters of the galaxy. I have failed in my mission. I have failed, not because I am weak, but because you are stronger. I will leave your planet now. I must return to a world of cold and unemotional galaxy beings. I will give them my report and then I will be destroyed. But it will not matter, you see, Mr. Martin. I know now that I too am an android." Kolos kneels next to Lisa and stares at her. Tears stream down his face and fall on hers. She wakes and smiles. Kolos walks outside and beams back up to his spaceship. Inside the ship, Kolos stares back at the Earth. We close with the spaceship flying away from Earth.

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