Thursday, 9 April 2009


Just as I was beginning to get starved of trash along comes old Roger Corman to save me. Corman was the uncredited Executive Producer (and part director) of this classic piece of sh....well, shlock! Is it bad ? It sure is. Is it fun ? You betcha - if you are in the right mood. Made on a budget of about $3.00 the film tells of an alien mind creature whose planet is dying (aliens always use this lame excuse to explain their invasions) who comes to Earth in what looks suspiciously like a salvaged water boiler and takes over the minds of a rancher's family, the mute handyman and their animals. Not exactly an exciting concept but whatever entertainment value this movie (and I use the term loosely) comes in the how rather than the what. Special effects are quite stunning - in one of many scenes that spookily prefigure Hitchcock's THE BIRDS - a woman is attacked by chickens! I can already hear your heart beating faster! No CGI here - the effect consists of actress Lorna Thayer screaming while some unlucky hens are thrown in her face - YES, REAL CHICKENS! The alien itself is seen very briefly and resembles nothing more than a glove puppet gremlin. Although the alien only seems to have only two eyes the producers make a gesture towards the million eyes of the title by superimposing a third eye. Acting is of the highest order (no, I am joking) with Corman regular Paul (NOT OF THIS EARTH) Birch as the rather philosophical rancher, Lorna Thayer (later to appear in FIVE EASY PIECES) is great fun as the mother who seems to be living out some daughter hating, cake baking fantasy but the very worst performance comes from the totally talentless dog - a German Shepherd who is not fit to chew on Rin Tin Tin's discarded dog bisquit. If all this isn't enough to get you excited - there is also a scene in which silent film comedian Chester Conklin being savaged by a milk cow and the most over-the-top musical score I can recall. Rating **

1 comment:

Cerpts said...

You can say THAT again! This is so bad it's almost delirium; it doesn't even make sense with its own internal logic. What fun! I love the story of Roger Corman delivering the picture to Sam Arkoff who watched it and said, "But Roger, there's no monster! We're selling a picture called the Beast with a million eyes and there's no beast". Corman beat around the bush until finally telling Arkoff that they ran out of money and time and couldn't provide a monster. So Arkoff had his special (?) effects team literally take a tea kettle, poke a lot of holes in it and call it the beast with a million eyes!!!

I too love the performances in this; it's almost palpable how the actors seem to be reciting their lines and, at the same time, wondering to themselves what the hell is going on and why the hell they're saying these lines! This is truly one of those "so bad its good" movies. I too spotted the pre-figuring of Hitchcock's The Birds; could Sir Alfred have been a fan of this movie?!? Who couldn't be?!?