THE BRAIN FROM
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E.C. McMullen Jr.
"'Some People' ... may be the standout story in the book."
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E.C. McMullen Jr.
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"This Ray Bradbury-esque is one of the most memorable and one of the more original stories I've read in a long time."
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The Silver Scream
E.C. McMULLEN Jr.,
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Extensively quoted in
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E.C. McMullen Jr.
Head Production Designer
JOSEPH CROSS, BRIANA EVIGAN,
Special Effects Make-Up
A SIERRA NEVADA
(MICHAEL MADSEN & JOHN SAVAGE).
In the genre of giant-floating-ethereal-brains-with-eyes movies... this is definitely one of them.
THE BRAIN FROM PLANET AROUS was directed by Nathan Juran (20 MILLION MILES TO EARTH, THE BOY WHO CRIED WEREWOLF) and written by Ray Buffum (TEENAGE MONSTER, ISLAND OF LOST WOMEN). It opens with a strange light moving over a desert mountain.
Cut to the home / lab of nuclear scientists Steve (John Agar: REVENGE OF THE CREATURE, TARANTULA, THE MOLE PEOPLE, WOMEN OF THE PREHISTORIC PLANET, ZONTAR THE THING FROM VENUS) and Dan (Robert Fuller: WHAT EVER HAPPENED TO AUNT ALICE?). Dan reads sci-fi magazines while Steve tries to figure out why their Geiger counter is detecting intermittent bursts of gamma rays. Steve is quickly able to deduce that the odd radiation is coming from Mystery Mountain. I kid you not. Mystery freakin' Mountain.
Steve's fiancée Sally (Joyce Meadows: I SAW WHAT YOU DID) manages to tear the guys away from their lab work for a backyard barbeque, attended by her father John (Thomas Browne Henry: 20 MILLION MILES TO EARTH). Soon after Steve and Dan jump in the Mystery Machine with their pal Scooby and head for Mystery Mountain. Okay, it was just a jeep and they didn't bring their dog.
A quick investigation reveals a fresh tunnel blasted into the mountainside. Down a well lit movie world tunnel (ever been in a cave? It's dark) they detect more radiation and, finally, a giant brain! A giant brain that floats down the tunnel toward them and that is transparent in a ghost-like way.
We cut to a week later. Steve shows up at Sally's house alone, claiming Dan has gone to Vegas. Right away Sally notices Steve is a little odd. He practically rapes her in her backyard, and when George the dog comes to the rescue Steve is enraged. He manages to calm down and goes to his lab.
Yes, Steve is under the mental control of Gor, the floating brain from planet Arous. Alone in the lab Steve begs Gor to leave him be, but the evil Gor taunts Steve, telling him what a fine looking female Sally is. Steve grimaces and struggles and throws things at the ethereal Gor to no avail.
And yes, it's no accident that "Arous" sounds like "Eros." (and Amorous and Arous-al for that matter - Feo) Gor-in-Steve continually leers at Sally, frantically kissing her whenever he can. His desperate lust is a continual undercurrent for the rest of the movie and probably spoke directly to the same desperately repressed sexuality of nerds in the 50's. I mean, what did people do before porn? It's scary to think about.
Sally and her father suspect something is wrong and go to Mystery Mountain (sorry, I can't stop capitalizing that. There should be a "BLUE STAR" burst of theme music every time I say it). There they meet another floating brain named Vol (both Gor and Vol are voiced by Dale Tate: ATTACK OF THE 50 FOOT WOMAN) who, it turns out, is a cop brain hunting for the fugitive Gor. Vol needs their help.
This movie is very brief, barely 71 minutes, so let me toss in an equally brief
I've seen John Agar in a lot of 50's sci-fi / horror but this is my new favorite. His over the top evil (when possessed by Gor) is hilarious, as are the dialogue from Gor and Vol themselves. When Gor finally takes solid form it includes visible wires suspending him from the ceiling. I had a pretty good time, which means this film gets four negative shriek girls.