THE BRAIN EATERS (1958) Reviews and free to watch online

 

‘Crawling, slimy-things terror-bent on destroying the world!’

The Brain Eaters is a 1958 American science fiction horror film directed by actor Bruno VeSota (he also directed Invasion of the Star Creatures) from a screenplay written by Gordon Urquhart.

The Corinthian Productions movie stars Ed Nelson (Devil’s Partner; Night of the Blood Beast; Attack of the Crab Monsters), Alan Jay Factor, Joanna Lee (Plan Nine from Outer Space), with a brief appearance by Leonard Nimoy (name misspelt in the credits as “Leonard Nemoy” – he is also in Them! and the 1978 Invasion of the Body Snatchers).

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Plot:

A team of local scientists discover alien parasites when they investigate a mysterious, three-story-tall, cone-like object that has appeared outside the small town of Riverdale, Illinois. It becomes obvious that the parasites’ first victims, whose minds have been taken over, are the town’s leading citizens…

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Reviews:

“The preachy “man has to find his own way” moral aside, this was an inventive and creative film. The camerawork was advanced for 1958 and the anonymity of the creatures is kept as long as it possibly could to keep the audience guessing at the rather obvious plot.” Absolute Horror

“The film ran into trouble early on, when science fiction author Robert Heinlein noticed the similarity between The Brain Eaters and his novel The Puppet Masters: Heinlein’s work also involved icky parasites that attached themselves to the backs of people’s necks, and killed their hosts if they were removed. Heinlein was not only upset that someone had ripped off his novel; he was equally incensed that they’d done it so badly.” The Brain Eater

“Considering this was shot for just 26,000 dollars over a six day period, it’s a minor miracle it’s at least OK. But OK is basically all it is. Things feel really rushed in the final third and the Body Snatchers-like premise needed more fleshing out than what this 60-minute film can accommodate.” The Bloody Pit of Horror

“Closer to Ed Wood than the usual AIP programmers of the period, director VeSota still manages to inject some ingenuity with effective “Dutch” camera angles, a nice shot of the parasite’s point of view, and the then-prevalent communist/takeover paranoia themes so prominent in many sci-fi films of the time. The special effects are non-existent…” DVD Drive-In

‘Much time is consumed by static conversations and aimless searches. Camera angles are skewed in attempts to invoke an atmosphere of paranoia, but the inconsistent rhythm, breaking of the axis of action, and the choppy editing all hamper, rather than enhance, the storytelling.’ David Elroy Goldweber, Claws & Saucers

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“VeSota adds a certain dark atmosphere to the proceedings, but the story is a mess; I don’t know whether the problem was in the original script, in the editing, or if certain scenes were never filmed, but the movie feels jumpy and unfinished, almost as if they stopped filming before they were complete and just edited what they had together.” Fantastic Movie Musings and Ramblings

“It is shot with flat, prosaic camera set-ups that reveal a rushed shooting schedule and crucially director Bruno VeSota fails to generate any of the paranoid atmosphere that these other films did so well. The plot never winds the situation up much and only seems to consist of running around between various locations.” Moria

” …at a little over an hour, it goes quickly and is pleasant enough, even though it never quite manages to find anything unique to throw in the mix.  It was meant to fill the bottom half of a double feature and never really aspires to be anything else, but it does what it was supposed to do.” Rivets on the Poster

“This being as cheap as you like, for all its surface foolishness it did have something interesting to say about the America of the fifties, if it intended to or otherwise, though that was not to say you couldn’t chuckle along with it should you so desire.” The Spinning Image

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Cast and characters:

Ed Nelson … Doctor Paul Kettering (as Edwin Nelson)
Alan Jay Factor … Glenn Cameron (as Alan Frost)
Cornelius Keefe … Senator Walter K. Powers (as Jack Hill)
Joanna Lee … Alice Summers
Jody Fair … Elaine Cameron
David Hughes … Doctor Wyler
Robert Ball … Dan Walker
Greigh Phillips … Sheriff
Orville Sherman … Mayor Cameron
Leonard Nimoy … Professor Cole (as Leonard Nemoy)
Doug Banks … Doctor
Henry Randolph … Telegrapher
Saul Bronson … Professor Helsingman
Filming locations:

Pomona, California

Technical details:

61 minutes
Black and white
Aspect ratio: 1.37: 1
Audio: Mono

Trailers: