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The Eye Creatures

VHS cover for the film
Directed by Larry Buchanan
Produced by Larry Buchanan
Written by Paul W. Fairman
Robert J. Gurney Jr.
Al Martin
Starring John Ashley
Cynthia Hull
Warren Hammack
Chet Davis
Bill Peck
Ethan Allen
Charles McLine
Music by Les Baxter
Ronald Stein
Cinematography Ralph K. Johnson
Editing by S. F. Brownrigg
Release date(s) 1965
Running time 80 min
Country United States
Language English

The Eye Creatures (also known as Attack of the Eye Creatures, or Attack of the the Eye Creatures from a production error) is a 1965 science-fiction film about an invasion of an unnamed American countryside by a flying saucer and its silent, shambling alien occupants. While the military ineptly attempts to stop the invasion, a group of young people, whose reports to the local police are dismissed as pranks or wild imagination, struggle to defend themselves against the menacing monsters.

The Eye Creatures is an American International Pictures film. It was helmed by regular B-movie director/producer Larry Buchanan. The screenplay was developed by uncredited writers Robert J. Gurney Jr. and Al Martin from the short story "The Cosmic Frame" by Paul W. Fairman (also uncredited). This is a color remake of the 1957 black and white AIP film Invasion of the Saucer Men to fill out a package of AIP films released to television.

Movie-mocking television series Mystery Science Theater 3000 featured the oddly-titled print of the film in a 1992 season-4 episode, as did the nationally syndicated Canned Film Festival in a 1986 episode.

Contents

Plot synopsis

The movie begins with a top-secret military briefing film which shows the flying saucer (resembling a yo-yo with a dome) hovering as the narrator (an uncredited Peter Graves) describes how the U.S. military's "Project Visitor" has been tracking it, anticipating a landing in the "central United States". Properly briefed, Lt. Robertson reports back to his base near the expected target, where he berates his subordinates for their habit of using their monitoring equipment to spy on teenagers in a local make-out scene in the woods (although he eventually participates in the activity himself). One of the teens sees a mysterious object landing nearby and discusses it in a bar with his friends, including nominal hero Stan Kenyon. Stan and his girlfriend Susan Rogers later accidentally hit one of the creatures and drive off to report the incident to the police. In the sparsely-populated woodland area, they are forced to use the phone of a grumpy codger who resents the "smoochers" in his woods, frequently threatening them with his shotgun.

Meanwhile, one of two drifters (who are seeking ways to make a fast buck) comes across the dead creature and decides to put together an exhibition. When he returns to the site, more of the invaders arrive, causing him to suffer a heart attack and die from shock. When the police finally investigate, they assume that Stan committed a hit-and-run against the hapless drifter, and arrest the young man.

Having overheard the bar conversation about the UFO, Lt. Robertson reports to his skeptical commander, who reluctantly authorizes a cordon around the saucer. They eventually blow up the spaceship and pat themselves on the back for their effective defense, not realizing that the eye creatures had already left their craft and are still roaming the surrounding woods.

Easily escaping the indifferent police, Stan and Susan meet up with the dead drifter's friend, Mike Lawrence, and the three of them attempt to get evidence to prove the danger to the community. In the process, Mike is cornered by the creatures, and Stan and Susan manage to flee only after accidentally discovering the monsters explode when exposed to bright light. Unfortunately, after the autopsy showed that the victim earlier died from a heart attack and that Stan had not killed him, the police are unwilling to have anything more to do with Stan. The teenagers then gather their friends from the make-out park, and together they drive to the clearing where they left Mike. Surrounding it with their cars, they use their headlights to evaporate the remaining creatures. Fortunately, Mike survived his attack, and Stan and Susan resume their interrupted plans to elope, hoping that any future invasion of the creatures will be handled by a "100% certified adult".

Critical review

The Eye Creatures is infamous for its many production errors and goofs. The story takes place during a single night, but movie criticism website Rotten Tomatoes points out that these night scenes include intercut shots from obvious daylight shoots. (This is particularly confusing given the eye creatures' sensitivity to light.) A string can be observed during a scene where a creature's severed hand creeps toward Susan and Stan.

The creature costumes in particular presented problems to the director. There were not enough full costumes for all the creature actors during crowd scenes, so some scenes include creatures with only head appliances, wearing skin-tight black outfits in an attempt to hide their costume deficiencies. In the Mystery Science Theater 3000 episode featuring the film, Joel Robinson sarcastically suggests that "some eye creatures […] are born with tight acrylic wool-blend turtleneck sweaters from Chess King." In the same episode, Crow T. Robot also mocks, "If you're ever in a fight with an eye creature, keep in mind that his head is simply draped casually over his shoulders and should be no trouble to knock off. […] Get ready to give chase to an injured eye creature; as you can see, he's wearing his Jack Purcell athletic shoes!" Crow even points out a shot featuring a common monster-movie goof: "The eye creatures […] were also unfortunate enough to have evolved with heavy-duty zippers running up their backs." Their riffing produced the fan-favorite phrase "They just didn't care," which has been applied to other movies viewed on the show.

Finally, in keeping with a frequent practice of B-movie re-release retitling, the phrase "Attack of the" was grafted on top of the original in the title screen. Unfortunately, the editor failed to notice that the original already included a "the", producing the amusingly redundant Attack of the the Eye Creatures.

Trivia

  • Looney Tunes: Back in Action alluded to the opening of The Eye Creatures when it featured an again-uncredited Peter Graves narrating the Civil Defense briefing video of the Blue Monkey situation in the "Area 52" facility.
  • Footage of the flying saucer landing was taken from the 1953 sci-fi classic Invaders From Mars.
  • The film was more or less a remake of a previous low-budget film called Invasion of the Saucer Men that starred a young Frank Gorshin who later gained fame as The Riddler in the Batman TV Series.

References

  • Zontar the Thing From Venus/The Eye Creatures DVD, 2005, UPC 014381233025
  • Mystery Science Theater 3000, episode #418 (Attack of the Eye Creatures)

External links

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