‘Crawling, slimy-things terror-bent on destroying the world!’
The Brain Eaters is a 1958 American science fiction horror feature film directed by actor Bruno VeSota (Invasion of the Star Creatures) from a screenplay by Gordon Urquhart.
The movie stars Ed Nelson, Alan Jay Factor, Joanna Lee, with a brief appearance by Leonard Nimoy (name misspelled in the credits as “Leonard Nemoy” – he is also in Them! and the 1978 Invasion of the Body Snatchers).
A team of local scientists discover alien parasites when they investigate a mysterious, three-story-tall, cone-like object that has appeared outside the small town of Riverdale, Illinois. It becomes obvious that the parasites’ first victims, whose minds have been taken over, are the town’s leading citizens…
‘The film ran into trouble early on, when science fiction author Robert Heinlein noticed the similarity between The Brain Eaters and his novel The Puppet Masters: Heinlein’s work also involved icky parasites that attached themselves to the backs of people’s necks, and killed their hosts if they were removed. Heinlein was not only upset that someone had ripped off his novel; he was equally incensed that they’d done it so badly.’ The Brain Eater
“Considering this was shot for just 26,000 dollars over a six day period, it’s a minor miracle it’s at least OK. But OK is basically all it is. Things feel really rushed in the final third and the Body Snatchers-like premise needed more fleshing out than what this 60-minute film can accommodate. Narration has been added to try to fill in the blanks but there are just too many loose ends left unattended to at the end.” The Bloody Pit of Horror
‘Closer to Ed Wood than the usual AIP programmers of the period, director VeSota still manages to inject some ingenuity with effective “Dutch” camera angles, a nice shot of the parasite’s point of view, and the then-prevalent communist/takeover paranoia themes so prominent in many sci-fi films of the time. The special effects are non-existent, and when the monsters are dissolved during the climax, they resemble the strands of noodles from cans of Franco American macaroni and cheese.’ DVD Drive-In
‘Much time is consumed by static conversations and aimless searches. Camera angles are skewed in attempts to invoke an atmosphere of paranoia, but the inconsistent rhythm, breaking of the axis of action, and the choppy editing all hamper, rather than enhance, the storytelling.’ David Elroy Goldweber, Claws & Saucers