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Thursday, March 28, 2019

Forgotten Horror Gems Vol. 9 - The Brain Eaters (1958)

This week’s film came with a warning up front.  You see, the very first image on the screen was this logo:

For those who watch old sci-fi and horror films, American International Pictures (AIP) means one thing.  Cheap. Founded by Samuel Z. Arkoff and James Nicholson, AIP specialized in low-budget movies aimed at grabbing the teen audiences who were suddenly spending money at drive-in’s and theaters.  Generally, if you see the AIP logo, you know you won’t be watching the best that cinema has to offer.

This movie was definitely a bottom of the barrel experience.  If I had to describe it in a sentence, I’d say it is a low-rent version of Invasion of the Body Snatchers. A young couple finds what looks like  a nose cone from a rocket sticking out of the ground. Scientists converge on it to figure out what it is but no matter what they try, they can’t break into it.  

While they’re looking for answers as to what it is and where it came from, people start succumbing to these small fluke-like parasites that attach to the back of your neck and make you do their bidding.  Their goal is to take over the world and “spread peace” by making everyone have a hive mind.

See?  It’s just like Invasion of the Body Snatchers only there’s slugs instead of plant pods.  

The problem here isn’t just the story though.  The acting is horrible. The direction is poor.  The soundtrack is crappy. Even the dialogue is awful.  Unfortunately, it’s not so bad it’s good.

However, at one point a “scientist” says that if you cut a snake in two, the pieces will slither off their separate ways.  I laughed out loud at that one.

What did the girls’ think?  

The Old Movie Rubric - The Brain Eaters (1958)

1. Brains were involved:  -0.5

2. Brains were eaten:  -0.5

3. There is an expert in an obscure scientific field:  +1

4. It has a legitimate plot:  +0.5

5. It has an educational short:  +1

6. It has decent acting:  0

7. It has sexist jokes:  0

8. It uses animals as props:  0

9. It uses daytime for nighttime filming:  0

10. There are very proper hats:  +0.5

11. There is a female scientist:  +0.5 (she was an assistant)

12. There is repeat footage:  0

13. There is a cutesy couple:  0 (they weren’t cutesy)

14. BONUS:  someone refers to the scientists as “You science boys”:  +1

Total Score:  3.5

That’s officially the lowest score of any film since we started keeping track.  

Stay away from this one unless you’re a masochist. Next week, we'll check out an old one starring Lionel Atwill. Hope you're prepared for... Doctor X!

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