Monday, April 6, 2015

The Beast With a Million Eyes - 1955

Is this my first Roger Corman movie?!  How in the world did I go this long without one??  I'm going to have to go back and make sure he didn't do any of those other ones, and that it somehow slipped by me.  But no, I'm pretty sure this is my first one.  On this website.  I've obviously seen others, if I hadn't you would easily deserve to lynch me with my own intestines.  In fact, one of my all time favorite movies is Attack of the Crab Monsters.

Now, technically Corman is uncredited on this film and didn't direct the entire thing.  The story goes that after one day, union problems cause Corman to take over production and replace the director and cinematographer.  He called in some cinematographer guy, and he himself took over directing.  And it feels very Corman-y.  Corman has a style he is known for.  It's hard to define, as it's a collection of small things really.  But this movie has 'em all.

1) "strong" female lead - this lady is a major character who is strong outwardly, but is actually just hiding behind her outward strength and is in truth just as girly as all women were depicted in the 50's
2) lotsa dialogue - sure, it is usually plot dialogue, and one could argue that it's needed, but man is there lotsa dialogue and talking.   Shut the fuck up already!  Move on!
3) Tomboys - going back to that female thing, there is usually a tomboy in a Corman movie.  This girl will wear jeans, plaid colors, and sometimes be called by a nickname like "Princess" because hahahaha, it's FUNNY!  They're calling HER princess!!
4) As little monster scenes as seemingly possible - Yes, please do save the monster for the last 2 minutes and have it only appear like twice in total.  NO!  We want to see the fucking monster!
5) Ma and Pa - there's a tradition of old-timeyness in Corman movies.  So usually Ma and Pa are there, and usually they are still in love as they were when they got married.  Pa sometimes has to hold her shoulders and shake her when she's afraid; but it's the fifties, that's what women were for.
6) The halfwit - my least favorite and surprisingly common character to show up in any movie.  This guy is usually unexplained, or just explained as being "slow" but wtf!  WHY are all these halfwit people wandering around?!  At least in this the dude's explained.  But when we get the explanation (the father dude knew all along that he had some of his brain removed after being in the war) it's ridiculous because Pa never told his family that.  So he makes them live with some halfwit weirdo who oggles both women that are around, and for years the girls just think Pa is a nice guy, but no, he's actually helping a disabled guy.  Ok, great.  But you're NEVER going to tell your family that?!  WTF?!

The Beast with a Million Eyes starts like any other movie.  Ma and Pa live on a farm with daughter Sandra and invalid Him (yes, his name is Him).  One day a weird droning sound is heard, but it's not an airplane.  Then, the farm animals start acting weird, Ma kills Sandra's dog with an axe, and Him starts acting weird too.  Could it be related to the weird droning sound, and the cutaways showing a spaceship that landed?

That's all I care to put of the synopsis right now.  In short, nothing really too special.  It's pretty average in everything, it has some interesting segments with the animal attacks, which are the highlight of the film.  You see, the Beast of the title can take over things without much brain power.  So animals and the invalid Him are easy targets for the influence of the Beast.

Eventually, all the humans go out to the spaceship to confront the Beast, which comes spilling out of the UFO with a very noticeable eye count of 2 rather than 1,000,000 and when they try to kill it, they're unsure if it is actually dead.  Which I have to say, that was pretty rare to have a movie of this era with vagueness.  Even though they try to cover it with bizarre dialogue about love, the fact remains the Beast could still be on Earth at the end.

It's decent enough, for what it is.  It's forgettable, it's very bland, and it's low-energy.  It moves at an okay pace, the animal attacks keep it fun, and the acting is alright.  It's very "passable".  The title is perhaps the best thing about it.  That and this poster:
If the movie had been anything like the poster, it would've been 1,000,000 times better.

I'll give it one star?  Maybe 2.  Hm.  1.5?

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