Tuesday, 28 June 2016

The Beast With a Million Eyes! (1955)

“The film with a million things wrong with it”

         Well, possibly not that many, but seeing as executive producer James H Nicholson came up with that title and that poster, both of which are so over the top and unlike the finished film, I think I’m allowed to go a little bit over the top with my review as well.

The weird title sequence is probably the best bit of this film. Which isn't difficult
         A farty fizzy pop-bottle of a spaceship buzzes its way to a paper plate earth in an opening shot that even Ed Wood would have considered ‘a bit cheap’. A voice over explains that the creature on board lives off fear and hate and that by using animals and some humans it will have a million eyes through which to see as it tries to take over the planet.

Best acting in the film. Which isn't difficult
I would love to know what happened in cinemas at the time after this bit. Did people demand their money back? Throw stuff at the screen? Go back to snogging their underage girlfriend in the back row in between puffs on cigarettes as they tried not to stick to the horrible stained velveteen seats?
         Sorry - back to the film.

Nothing happening.
         Apart, that is, from some terrible acting (other than Duke the dog, who is great), and the sight of birds and cows ‘going mad’ (they seem a bit miffed through the somewhat incoherent editing but that’s about it.)

Nothing still happening.
The Beast is tracked down to the pit in which he landed. His spaceship looks like a dustbin with a twirling coat hanger on top (I hope I’m not giving away any special effects secrets here). The Beast itself is a coffee percolator (according to numerous articles I remember reading about this film many years ago) filmed through a haze which is not so much a camera filter as James Nicholson taking a razor blade and scratching the film to bits so you couldn’t see how bad the effects were.
         The Beast falls over.
He is declared dead.

Dustbin Coat Hanger Horror!

         If you really want to watch this one (and I’ll admit I did), then Fabulous Films’ transfer isn’t bad at all, considering this movie is from AIP’s ‘especially awful’ era that also gave us CREATURE FROM THE HAUNTED SEA, THE WASP WOMAN, and other black and white quickies that look absolutely terrible on public domain prints. There’s the option of stereo or mono sound mixes (I only tried the stereo as I couldn’t bring myself to watch this twice) but that’s it for extras.

The Beast From Percolator Hell
I love some of AIP’s monster pictures from this period. ATTACK OF THE CRAB MONSTERS is a little gem. BEAST WITH A MILLION EYES is, however, a little lacking. Or rather a lot lacking. But you have to admit that poster is fantastic. 

THE BEAST WITH A MILLION EYES! (Their exclamation mark, not mine. Oh goodness me no) is getting a UK DVD release from Fabulous Films on Monday 4th July 2016

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