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THE EYE CREATURES (1965)

"I don’t need to remind you of the necessity for absolute security, General."
"No. I realise that civilization itself may depend upon it...."

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Director: Larry Buchanan

Starring: John Ashley, Cynthia Hull, Warren Hammack, Chet Davis, Bill Peck, Ethan Allen

Screenplay: Based (uncredited) upon "Invasion Of The Saucermen", screenplay by Robert J. Gurney Jr and Al Martin

Synopsis: A secret military operation is underway to keep the public from knowing the truth about flying saucers. A saucer lands near a small town, and although it is observed by some of the locals, the military moves to hush it up. Carl Fenton (Chet Davis), a small time con artist, is one of those who sees the ship, and tries unsuccessfully to convince his roommate, Mike Laurence (Warren Hammack), that they can make money out of it.

A pair of eloping teenagers, Stan Kenyon (John Ashley) and Susan Rogers (Cynthia Hull), run over and kill an alien. Appalled, they go to find a phone to report the incident. Carl finds the dead alien, but before he can take advantage of the situation, more of the creatures attack and kill him. When the police arrive at the scene, Stan and Susan are arrested. The couple are baffled by the attitude of the police until it is revealed that the aliens exchanged Carl’s body for the dead alien’s. Meanwhile, the secret military unit has located the flying saucer, but in its attempt to force an entry, it causes the ship to blow up. The massive explosion creates a diversion, during which Stan and Susan escape from the police station, determined to find some evidence to prove the existence of the aliens and their own innocence.

Comments: Fond as I am of Invasion Of The Saucermen (1957), I’d be the first to admit that’s it’s hardly a great movie. Still, it looks like a masterpiece when compared to The Eye Creatures, one of a package of made-for-TV remakes of AIP films put together by Larry Buchanan during the sixties. All of those films were terrible, and this may well be the worst.

To be fair, Buchanan’s budget could only be described as miniscule, and half of that went towards paying for John Ashley, the only Hollywood-based actor in the cast. Exactly where the money ran out is clearly visible in the costumes of those playing the creatures themselves. Only one of them has a full body suit; the others are dressed as monsters from the shoulders up, and in black leotards from the shoulders down, and spend most of their time dodging behind bushes and cars in the vain hope that the audience won’t notice.

And why "Eye Creatures"? The aliens look kind of like walking marshmallows and have black scallop-shells for mouths, but "Marshmallow Creatures" or "Scallop Creatures" didn’t have marquee value, so the special effects whizzes stuck a couple of extra glass eyes on their creations and, hey presto!

John Ashley is competant in the leading role, but is too old for the part, making his character’s constant moaning about how tough it is being a "kid" teeth-clenchingly annoying. Cynthia Hull, the female lead, gives a wooden performance from which the viewer is constantly distracted by one of the most peculiar hairdos in the history of motion pictures (I suppose it’s just possible that her head was actually shaped like that....). The less said about the rest of the cast, the better.

While adapting the screenplay of Saucermen, Buchanan forgot to update it as well, which leaves the film stranded in some kind of moral Twilight Zone, with sixties teens dressing, talking and, above all, behaving just like their fifties predecessors.

Having had the opportunity to improve on the original film by removing its unnsuccesful attempts at humour, The Eye Creatures totally blows it by going in the other direction. Big mistake. While all of the alleged comedy is pretty painful, the air force duo who are supposed to be watching out for flying saucers but spend their time perving on the teenagers in the local Lover’s Lane are absolutely intolerable.

Amongst the cast and crew are two other people later to make more substantial contributions to the world of weird film-making: bit part actor Tony Houston also appeared in Larry Buchanan’s Mars Needs Women (1966), Zontar, The Thing From Venus (1966) and Curse Of The Swamp Creature (1966), as well as writing the screenplay for the latter, while editor S.F. Brownrigg later directed Don’t Look In The Basement (1973), Poor White Trash Part Two aka Scum Of The Earth (1976) and Don’t Open The Door (1980).

Check out all the details of this movie on the IMDB

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