The Beast With One Million Eyes
Release year: 1955
Director: David Kramarsky, Roger Corman, Lou Place
Screenwriter: Tom Filer
Starring: Paul Birch, Lorna Thayer, Dona Cole, Dick Sargent, Leonard Tarver, Bruce Whitmore, Chester Conklin
An alien space craft lands near a isolated farm with a dysfunctional family. As the alien beast takes over mind control of humans and animals, the family must set aside their differences to survive.
The Beast With One Million Eyes was part of a three picture deal American Releasing Company had with renowned horror director Corman (The Little Shop of Horrors, 1960) following The Fast and the Furious (1955) and Five Guns West (1955). Made with a tiny budget, the team behind the movie has managed to make the best of every penny. By keeping the set secluded with a minimal cast and by cleverly not showing the monster more than a few times, the focus is kept on the tight story and on drawing as much tension as possible from it. The mainly unknown cast, Birch (Queen of Outer Space, 1958) played in several similar movies while Cole never really made anything else, does a great job. While it takes a while for the horror part to set into action, you don’t really mind as you are entertained by the drama of the family in crisis. Instead of using the monster per say, the animals and locals around the family become the enemy, meaning there is a strong sense of paranoia during the entire movie, which such the genre tremendously and which works incredibly well. The ending is a bit of a down-side, as it seems unfit for a movie of this genre. This is a B-movie, make no mistake of that, but it is a B-movie that works, that keeps you gripped and which entertains.
The monster was the first by Paul Blaisdell (It Conquered the World, 1956). Because of the low budget, the monster was made of a teakettle with a lot of holes in it.
The giant motorized spiders were used again by director Bernds in Queen of Outer Space (1958) and Valley of the Dragons (1961).
In 2007 Metro-Goldwyn Mayer distributed The Beast with a Million Eyes as part of its Midnight Movies catalog on a double-feature DVD shared with The Phantom from 10,000 Leagues (1955).
Picture copyrights: MGM