Episode 59: The Brain from Planet Arous (1957)

An evil brain on a string wants power and women!!! :=8O

As they do, and earth’s only hope is John Agar (god help us), and a happy dog named George. This silly 50’s classic stinker features some seriously threadbare “special” effects that mayyyybe aren’t quite as cheap as the bubble machine in “Robot Monster”, but are pretty durn cheap and cheesy. Yes, Gor, the evil brain from Arous, wants to dominate the earth and get off with B-Actress Joyce Meadows. Unfortunately, in order to take over the earth, the bad brain must inhabit the “stupid body” of John Agar, and suffer through his atrocious over-acting. Most of the time, the bad brain is just an off-camera projection; you can tell because frequently you can see the background lights of the projector. In his “true form”, Gor is a large blob with eyes that never blink, automated by a pair of poorly concealed strings. Gor, when irritated, bumps into the actors when in this form. When in his projector form, Gor kills by turning on a small light on their faces.

While John Agar (“She Wore a Yellow Ribbon”, “Sands of Iwo Jima”) gives an-udder one of his overwrought performances, he’s balanced nicely by the rest of the cast, in particular the lovely Joyce Meadows (tv series “The Asphalt Jungle”, “Wagon Train”). Gor (hammily voiced by title designer Dale Tate) is as arrogant and smarmy a space villain as Dudley Mangrove’s character Eros in “Plan Nine from Outer Space”, which was released by Ed Wood two months earlier. Robert Fuller (“Teenage Thunder”, “Wagon Train”) rounds out the cast as Dan, the cave corpse who never degrades. Check out the latest Indie Film Cafe episode, featuring the series finale for Miss Lenore, and a return of original Cafe co-host Just Jenn!

Hi Joyce, turned on by my huge brain, are you?

Its a classic 50’s scifi stinker that is undermined by the low budget and odd directorial choices. Director Nathan Hertz (actually Nathan Juran, possibly hiding his name to avoid embarrassment) was a veteran director who he won an Oscar for Best Art Direction in 1942’s “How Green Was My Valley”, and actually directed several decent flicks (“The Deadly Mantis”, “The Seventh Voyage of Sinbad”) – but he also directed number of classic stinkers, including “Attack of the 50 Foot Woman”, “First Men on the Moon”, and “Jack the Giant Killer”. In a rare 1989 interview on Starlog Magazine #141, Juran said “I always did pictures for the money, and for the creative challenges. I wasn’t a born director. I was just a technician who could transfer the script from the page to the stage and could get it shot on schedule and on budget. I never became caught up in the “romance” of the movies”.
I guess that explains it…

Big, blobby brain-invaders aside, the plot is absurd, and has only the merest nodding acquaintance with reality. Dead bodies (Gor’s victims) never decompose or smell, even after a week in a 120 degree desert. Model planes on strings, desperately passed off for the real thing, explode and then strung bits hang suspended in mid-air. The Military, who cannot detect any residual radiation from the light blasts, immediately conclude that the earth is being invaded from outer space. When one extra remarks how fantastic that idea is, a general tells him that they are even now “considering an invasion of the moon”. ’Cause blowin’ shit up and invadin’ is what we do best, yo.

I better get a whole lotta Snausages for appearing in this dreck…

The grades were surprisingly decent from the Cafe kids this time – Lenore (who was clearly won over by George the Dog) awarded the film a relatively low 3.5, while Just Jenn went for a 5; the crusty old MooCow went for a 5.5, for a total Stink Score of 14, which is a Stink Average of 4.7. Not too shabby!

Check out the trailer on Youtube. You can also see the film for free there as well, and also on Vimeo. For those of you were prefer to have the physical medium you can get it from Amazon, Ebay, and even get the kewl moovie poster from MoviePoster.com , Original Vintage Movie Posters.com, and Walmart. Tee Public has the must-have tee shirt, while Redbubble has some classic dialogue from the moovie on a tee. Mixology Tees has a moovie mug you know you want, as does Tee Public. And for you moovie soundtrack lovers, mmmrecordings.com has it available for listening HERE. Svengoolie does a kewl medley too.

Beware my horrific BUMP ATTACK!!!

Well, for those of you who love silly, cheesy 50’s throwback scifi from a moore innocent era, then this might just be the flick for you. Just watch out for those floating brains on strings!

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