The Eye Creatures – USA, 1965

‘World panic as UFOs approach Earth…’

The Eye Creatures is a 1965 American science fiction horror film about an invasion 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 film was produced and directed by Larry Buchanan (Zontar: The Thing from Venus; It’s Alive; The Loch Ness Horror) from a screenplay by Paul W. Fairman, Robert J. Gurney Jr. and Al Martin. It is a colour remake of the 1957 black and white AIP film Invasion of the Saucer Men intended to fill out a package of AIP films released to television. It stars John Ashley, Cynthia Hull and Warren Hammack and was edited by future director S.F. Brownrigg.

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Reviews:

“The costumes are a remarkably varied bunch. To begin with, only a few of them have the multitudinous eyes that we see on the first alien— not a trivial concern in a movie called The Eye Creatures. But worse still, the majority of the extras portraying the monsters are outfitted only with the headpieces of their costumes! From the shoulders down, they’re just wearing black tights and f*cking tennis shoes!!!!” Scott Ashlin, 1000 Misspent Hours and Counting

“It is worth watching for its thorough shoddiness. Like the supposed night-time setting that flickers back and forward between day and night because someone clearly either couldn’t afford day-for-night processing or simply forgot. There is the dismembered hand, which never extends into the shot beyond the wrist and does the remarkable job of tiptoeing (or tip-fingering) up vertical surfaces on two fingernails.” Richard Scheib, Moria

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” …the footage of the saucer in space – which looks like a hamburger in a McDonalds’s ad – does not in any way resemble the flying saucer we see on the ground (it has even turned green). It is sporadically amusing, with a few okay bits and the same goofy “headlights” ending as the original film. If you don’t expect a lot more, it’s not too bad.” Mark Cole, Rivets on the Poster

“When Buchanan tries to be serious he is hilarious. But when he tries to be funny he is boring. The bumbling soldiers… the cranky old man… the wisecracking teens… nothing works.” David Elroy Goldweber, Claws & Saucers 

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” …poor attempts at comedy and no innovative Paul Blaisdell monsters to ogle at. The monsters here have white, lumpy heads (much like the Michelin Tire Man in those old TV commercials) with a bunch of little eyes all over, and a large open mouth cavity. Some of the actors playing the aliens didn’t have full body suits, so their black clothes and white sneakers are conspicuously on display in some shots!” George R. Reis, DVD Drive-In

“A big problem is that the entire story takes place at night, and Buchanan uses a thoroughly unconvincing blend of day-for-night, night-for-night, and soundstage photography, with the day-for-night footage looking so especially bad many scattered shots look like mid-day. The performances in The Eye Creatures are mostly terrible, and Buchanan’s sledgehammer approach to comedy is painful.” Stuart Galbraith IV, DVD Talk

” …there’ll be a moment here or there that actually doesn’t seem all that bad, and you start thinking that maybe Buchanan had some talent, but then you’ll see a hopeless muddle of scenes that show either gross incompetence or gross carelessness, and you suspect the good scene was a fluke.” Dave Sindelar, Fantastic Movie Musings and Ramblings

” …since this is a remake, it needs to find a way to improve upon the original or offer a fresh take on an established idea and this does no such thing. The acting is terrible, the photography is flat and ugly, the effects suck and the direction is leaden. The only new scenes grafted on (the goofy peeping tom military guys) are horrible. Worst of all, the creatures aren’t even any good.” Justin McKinney, The Bloody Pit of Horror

Main cast and characters:

John Ashley – Stan Kenyon (Beast of Blood; Brides of Blood; Frankenstein’s Daughter; et al)
Cynthia Hull – Susan Rogers
Warren Hammack – Lt. Robertson
Chet Davis – Mike Lawrence
Bill Peck – Carl Fenton
Ethan Allen – General
Charles McLine – Old Man Bailey
Nathan Wyle – Colonel Harrison
Bob Cowan – Corporal Culver
Bill Thurman – Sergeant on Guard (The Evictors; Keep My Grave Open; The Black Cat)
Peter Graves – narrator [voice only] (Killers from Space; Beginning of the End; Scream of the Wolf)

Production:

The movie was shot in 16mm over several weeks in Dallas, on a budget of $40,000. Ashley was imported from Hollywood, but the rest of the cast were locals. Ashley has stated that his salary took up more than half the budget.

Most of the film was shot at the ranch of wealthy businessman Gordon McLendon. Ashley claimed that the film ranks “with some of the worst all-time horror films ever made”, but said it was a professional operation and that Buchanan treated him very well.

The film’s title screen contained a notable error. In keeping with a frequent practice of B-movie re-release retitling, the phrase “Attack of the” was superimposed on top of the original title, which already included “the”, producing the redundant title Attack of the The Eye Creatures.

Further reading:

“The studio suggested (read demanded) John Ashley as the lead. John had wet his feet often in AIP beach party pictures. As we raced through the tight schedule, it became apparent to me that this was no bimbo. Good looker, good voice, no Mickey Mouse beach bum. The worst I gave him merged absolutely believable. He was driven. By the end of the first week, we were ahead of schedule.” Larry Buchanan, It Came from Hunger! Tales of a Cinema Schlockmeister – Buy: Amazon.com | Amazon.co.uk

The Films of Larry Buchanan by Rob Craig, McFarland, 2007

Trivia:

One of the creature costumes was recycled in Ghost in the Invisible Bikini (1966)

Image thanks: IMCDb.org

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3 Comments on “The Eye Creatures – USA, 1965”

  1. I take it the idea of the stripped down Eye Creature suits, is that the day for night photography would hide the leotards. Of course Buchanan’s day for night shots never, ever worked. Old Larry seemed like a really nice guy. But his films are simply awful, and not in a good way. As many have pointed out, his most famous films are certainly excellent cures for insomnia.

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