The Beast with a Million Eyes

1955

Horror / Sci-Fi

1
Rotten Tomatoes Audience - Spilled 13%
IMDb Rating 3.7 10 1541

alien dog desert california dysfunctional family

Plot summary


Uploaded by: FREEMAN
June 06, 2022 at 12:05 AM

Director

Top cast

Dick Sargent as Deputy Larry Brewster
720p.BLU
711.23 MB
986*720
English 2.0
NR
23.976 fps
1 hr 17 min
P/S ...

Movie Reviews

Reviewed by JohnSeal 5 / 10

Underappreciated

To call this film "cheesy" or imply that it is "worse than Ed Wood" is absurd. The Beast With A Million Eyes may indeed have a pathetic space ship that looks like a coffee percolator, but the film itself is an understated and serious attempt to deal with issues as diverse as individualism, loneliness, guilt, and spirituality. The film doesn't rely on stock footage, giant bugs, prescient scientists, granite jawed generals, or any of the other cliches of 50s sci fi. Shot in the deserts of California on a meagre budget, it manages to convey the depression and decay that have overcome the small, but nuclear, farm family headed by the excellent Paul Birch. Birch went on to play a similar role in the 1956 ARC production, The Day the World Ended--another film that is remembered primarily for its goofy monsters instead of its interesting story. This film scared me to death when I was 10 years old, and seeing it now reminded me of the primal fears of betrayal and disloyalty that were the obvious triggers of my pre-pubescent psyche. By no means a 'classic': simply an outstanding example of low low budget independent filmmaking and intelligent screenwriting.

Reviewed by planktonrules 3 / 10

The first 75% of the film was very good, the last 25% undid the entire film

The movie is set in an oasis in the desert--somewhere in the California/Nevada area. The story involves a family plus their hired hand--a mute who seems to be a bit touched. Into their boring little world, what seems to be a plane nearly hits their house and soon all the animals on the farm start behaving in a hostile fashion towards the people. Most of the violence comes from the birds and the film is highly reminiscent of the Hitchcock film, THE BIRDS--though this film at least tries to explain why the animals are going berserk. It seems that the plane was actually a UFO and it deposited some weird machine that can make animals and weak-minded people do its evil bidding!!! Despite this great threat, everything just kind of fizzled and everyone was miraculously fine when the film ended--and I felt pretty confused and irritated by the slap-dash ending.

One of the first things you'll notice about this film is that it was shot on a shoestring budget--much like an Ed Wood film. The actors were obviously not professionals and the setting was amazingly minimalistic. Yet despite this, the film had some very interesting story elements and I found myself actually enjoying this film--that is until the movie degenerated into a cheesy and stupid mess towards the end. And, when it's all said and done, that's what you are left with as the final credits roll--a terrible mess that just didn't pay off and could have with a re-write to the last 10 minutes.

Reviewed by capkronos 5 / 10

Nothing brings the family together like random farm animal attacks.

Historically-speaking, this is quite an important production as far as horror and sci-fi flicks are concerned. For starters, it is one of the very earliest films involving normal animals suddenly turning on humans and attacking them. In fact, there are a enough surprising similarities between this and Alfred Hitchcock's THE BIRDS (1963) to suggest this was a major inspiration to that classic film. Second, this is not only an early producing credit for the prolific Roger Corman, but also the very first genre film he stepped behind the camera to direct. Though it's credited to David Kramarsky, Corman had replaced him early on into the production, sans credit. Third, this was a key establishing film for the fledgling company American Releasing Corporation, run by a few fellas named Samuel Z. Arkoff and James H. Nicholson. ARC would become American International Pictures. Of course if you know anything about vintage horror, drive-in and exploitation films, you'll know just how important these names are.

BEAST (originally titled "The Unseen") was also a production beset with problems. Originally part of a multi-picture package arranged between Corman and Arkoff / Nicholson, the film's budget was initially slated to be way higher but had to be slashed down to just 29,000 dollars. Problems with the filmmaker's union led to the production being shut down after just a day a filming. It also resulted in the original director and cinematographer both having to be sacked and Corman having to complete the film along with new D.O.P. Floyd Crosby. Supposedly the two managed to knock out all of the interior shots (48 pages of the script!) in just two days on studio sets! The exteriors were filmed in Indio, California and, all things considered, the photography actually looks quite good.

Paul Birch - later to appear in Corman's DAY THE WORLD ENDED (1955) and NOT OF THIS EARTH (1957) - stars as Allan Kelley, a farmer who lives on a date ranch deep in the California desert along with his wife Carol (Lorna Thayer) and teenage daughter Sandy (Dona Cole). The family have seen better times, especially Carol, who's neurotic, miserable because of the constant isolation and bitter to the point where she starts resenting and hating her own daughter out of sheer jealousy. An alien spacecraft that makes a strange humming noises lands in a cave in the desert, all of the glassware in the home shatters and, soon after, all manner of animals start going crazy and attacking. Birds of all kinds begin swooping out of the sky, a cow tramples over a farmer, chickens flog Carol and the family dog turns vicious and must be chopped up with an axe!

Also living on the farm is a character that would later become a staple of these kinds of films: the pervy, creepy, half wit handyman. The one in this one is a lonely mute referred to as only "Him." He's not only a voyeur who constantly stares at the females through the window, but he also spies on the daughter character stripping down to her swimsuit and going for a swim and then tries to touch her. "Him" sleeps in a shack next to the house where the walls are plastered with pictures of bikini or lingerie clad girls and he lies in bed looking at girlie magazines while his eyes bug out. I've seen this character countless other times in other exploitation movies, portrayed almost exactly the same as it is here, but NEVER before 1955. This adds a rather sleazy touch to the proceedings, which is especially odd considering this is essentially a family drama whose core message is about how it's important for families to stick together and support one another.

Though interesting and boasting an intriguing and original premise, this really isn't a very good movie. It's slow, the dialogue is hokey, the acting is gratingly melodramatic and the animal attacks scenes are very poorly staged and edited and are mostly accomplished by filming the animals approaching the camera followed by a terrified reaction shot from the actor. People also rightfully snicker at the special effects, which include a tiny little spaceship that looks like something you'd serve coffee out of and an alien so bad they had to make the image all hazy and then superimpose a giant eyeball over top of it. Then again, the movie was originally filmed minus all that. Since Arkoff had pre- booked the film on the promise of a "beast" based on the title, he insisted a "beast" be in the film. Special effects man Paul Blaisdell was then given just 200 dollars to create both the ship and the alien creature on short notice. The fact he was able to come up with anything at all is actually quite impressive in itself.

A young Dick Sargent (going by "Richard" here and years before finding fame as Darren in "Bewitched") plays a small supporting role as a deputy and Sandy's love interest. Production manager "Jack Haze" would become Jonathan Haze and later became immortalized for playing Seymour in Corman's LITTLE SHOP OF HORRORS (1960).

Read more IMDb reviews

1 Comment

Be the first to leave a comment