Tuesday, March 17, 2015

The Brain from Planet Arous - 1957

Kind of continuing my theme of 50's and 70's, I took in this classic evil brain film just now at work.  While I was supposed to be working.  In my cubicle.  C'mon, dude, you're jealous, you know you are.  Yeah, why you would work when you can watch 50's evil brain movies online is beyond me.  Thank you, YouTube.

I like movies like this one, the classic 50's era, because they are just so goofy.  Nowadays these are so laughable and clean that they couldn't scare a kid, and you could show this to anybody.  Were people actually going to theaters showing a movie like this and getting freaked out by it?  Okay, new technology thing and effects aside, how in the fuck would this scare you?  What were you, born and raised in a white room where you couldn't see outside?

This movie was pretty good though.  Good in that laughable 50's movie way but also good in that classic sci-fi way.  Everyone points to films like War of the Worlds or The Time Machine (even though it was 1960) as classic 50's sci fi, but this one is a worthy one also.  It's just that the villain and the idea is too wacky for people to take seriously.  It's like going to see a sequel to a horror movie, you know before you sit down it's not going to be as good.

In a 50's monster movie, everything/everyone has to:
1) involve radioactivity or the atom bomb
2) involve a sweet young girl in love with a man who kisses her really hard and passion-lessly
3) be set way out in the middle of nowhere
4) usually involve a seedy newspaper man who wears a cap or a weird suit
5) have plenty of (usually useless) guns, presence of the military, and fear of space
6) when confronted with an alien, don't act amazed or anything, just simply nod and look half interested

Here is how this movie rolls out - somewhat scientist guys Steve and Dan are picking up bizarre radiation from a nearby mountain nicknamed Mystery Mountain.  They decide to go out one day and find a fresh new cave has appeared.  There's a great line here as Dan declares the cave is "probably full of beer cans." Usually so true.  Inside that cave they see mystery lights and phantom readings of radiation, then suddenly a huge, floating, semi-translucent brain appears!  It even has eyes!  It kills Dan and knocks out Steve, then we see it absorb into Steve's body.

When Steve reappears, it's been a while since his run in with the brain. Well now Steve's acting different, he tries to force himself on fiancee Sally and gets in a fist fight with her dog George!  Sally tells her dad about what's going on and with her father they go investigate the same cave where Steve met the brain and they meet a new, good brain there.  The good brain tells them that the brain that took over Steve is named Gor and it's a villain on the brain world.  This good brain later infests itself in George the dog and follows Steve around to find out what Gor/Steve's plans are.  And his plan has something to do with exploding planes and an atomic test.

TBFPA was a fast paced little romp, quite interesting at times and with enough to keep anyone interested.  It's just great that there isn't like the usual "start off with a bang" which then inevitably gets followed by "slow paced bland dialogue for 60 minutes" then the back to "cool conclusion".  That seems to be the formula for countless films from all eras, especially 50's-80's,  The threat from Gor is always talked about or built on, and he makes for a genuinely evil villain.  It was pretty uncommon to see almost-rape in a movie from 57, so when he's forcing himself on Sally, I was pretty surprised.

I liked it, it was fun, and worth a rewatch.  A good movie to show to friends and drink to.  Maybe not the perfect late night party movie, but still quite fun.

No comments:

Post a Comment