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The Beast with a Million Eyes (1955)

Approved  |   |  Horror, Sci-Fi  |  15 June 1955 (USA)
3.3
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Ratings: 3.3/10 from 810 users  
Reviews: 30 user | 12 critic

A dysfunctional family operating an isolated date farm in the California desert is threatened by the arrival of an extra-terrestrial.

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Cast

Complete credited cast:
Paul Birch ...
Allan Kelley
Lorna Thayer ...
Carol Kelley
Dona Cole ...
Sandra Kelley
...
Deputy Larry Brewster (as Richard Sargeant)
Leonard Tarver ...
Him - aka Carl
Bruce Whitmore ...
The Beast (voice)
...
Ben Webber
Edit

Storyline

An alien space craft lands in the desert. The alien takes over the minds of some of the local humans and animals and is able to see through them. The animals attack and the terror begins. Written by <cwe@cwe.sdi.agate.net>

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis

Taglines:

Prepare for a close encounter of the terrifying kind! See more »

Genres:

Horror | Sci-Fi

Certificate:

Approved | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

 »
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Details

Country:

Language:

Release Date:

15 June 1955 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

The Beast with 1,000,000 Eyes!  »

Filming Locations:

 »

Box Office

Budget:

$23,000 (estimated)
 »

Company Credits

Production Co:

 »
Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

(original release)

Sound Mix:

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
See  »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

According to American International Pictures head Samuel Z. Arkoff, Roger Corman's contract called for four films at a budget of $100,000 each. By the time it came to "The Beast with a Million Eyes," the fourth film in the series, there was only $29,000 to $30,000 left, so Arkoff signed off on shooting the picture non-union in Palm Springs. See more »

Goofs

On some occasions, especially when Duke attacks Carol, we hear it bark but its mouth stays closed. See more »

Quotes

Carol Kelley: I don't suppose it really matters, but...
Allan Kelley: Does anything really matter to you anymore?
Carol Kelley: Oh, I'm sorry she heard, I'm... I didn't mean to...
Allan Kelley: You say a lot of things you don't mean, Carol. But you still say them, don't ya?
Carol Kelley: Yes. I'm not easy to get along with am I? Oh, I don't know. I think I could stand it, except for
[looking at the horizon]
Carol Kelley: out there... all that wasteland and mountains. We might as well be on another planet. Oh, Alan without Sandy I don't know what would happen to me. It'd be just...
[...]
See more »

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User Reviews

 
Nothing brings the family together like random farm animal attacks.
1 September 2014 | by (Ohio, USA) – See all my reviews

Historically-speaking, this is quite an important production as far as horror and sci-fi flicks are concerned. For starters, it is one of the very earliest films involving normal animals suddenly turning on humans and attacking them. In fact, there are a enough surprising similarities between this and Alfred Hitchcock's THE BIRDS (1963) to suggest this was a major inspiration to that classic film. Second, this is not only an early producing credit for the prolific Roger Corman, but also the very first genre film he stepped behind the camera to direct. Though it's credited to David Kramarsky, Corman had replaced him early on into the production, sans credit. Third, this was a key establishing film for the fledgling company American Releasing Corporation, run by a few fellas named Samuel Z. Arkoff and James H. Nicholson. ARC would become American International Pictures. Of course if you know anything about vintage horror, drive-in and exploitation films, you'll know just how important these names are.

BEAST (originally titled "The Unseen") was also a production beset with problems. Originally part of a multi-picture package arranged between Corman and Arkoff / Nicholson, the film's budget was initially slated to be way higher but had to be slashed down to just 29,000 dollars. Problems with the filmmaker's union led to the production being shut down after just a day a filming. It also resulted in the original director and cinematographer both having to be sacked and Corman having to complete the film along with new D.O.P. Floyd Crosby. Supposedly the two managed to knock out all of the interior shots (48 pages of the script!) in just two days on studio sets! The exteriors were filmed in Indio, California and, all things considered, the photography actually looks quite good.

Paul Birch - later to appear in Corman's DAY THE WORLD ENDED (1955) and NOT OF THIS EARTH (1957) - stars as Allan Kelley, a farmer who lives on a date ranch deep in the California desert along with his wife Carol (Lorna Thayer) and teenage daughter Sandy (Dona Cole). The family have seen better times, especially Carol, who's neurotic, miserable because of the constant isolation and bitter to the point where she starts resenting and hating her own daughter out of sheer jealousy. An alien spacecraft that makes a strange humming noises lands in a cave in the desert, all of the glassware in the home shatters and, soon after, all manner of animals start going crazy and attacking. Birds of all kinds begin swooping out of the sky, a cow tramples over a farmer, chickens flog Carol and the family dog turns vicious and must be chopped up with an axe!

Also living on the farm is a character that would later become a staple of these kinds of films: the pervy, creepy, half wit handyman. The one in this one is a lonely mute referred to as only "Him." He's not only a voyeur who constantly stares at the females through the window, but he also spies on the daughter character stripping down to her swimsuit and going for a swim and then tries to touch her. "Him" sleeps in a shack next to the house where the walls are plastered with pictures of bikini or lingerie clad girls and he lies in bed looking at girlie magazines while his eyes bug out. I've seen this character countless other times in other exploitation movies, portrayed almost exactly the same as it is here, but NEVER before 1955. This adds a rather sleazy touch to the proceedings, which is especially odd considering this is essentially a family drama whose core message is about how it's important for families to stick together and support one another.

Though interesting and boasting an intriguing and original premise, this really isn't a very good movie. It's slow, the dialogue is hokey, the acting is gratingly melodramatic and the animal attacks scenes are very poorly staged and edited and are mostly accomplished by filming the animals approaching the camera followed by a terrified reaction shot from the actor. People also rightfully snicker at the special effects, which include a tiny little spaceship that looks like something you'd serve coffee out of and an alien so bad they had to make the image all hazy and then superimpose a giant eyeball over top of it. Then again, the movie was originally filmed minus all that. Since Arkoff had pre- booked the film on the promise of a "beast" based on the title, he insisted a "beast" be in the film. Special effects man Paul Blaisdell was then given just 200 dollars to create both the ship and the alien creature on short notice. The fact he was able to come up with anything at all is actually quite impressive in itself.

A young Dick Sargent (going by "Richard" here and years before finding fame as Darren in "Bewitched") plays a small supporting role as a deputy and Sandy's love interest. Production manager "Jack Haze" would become Jonathan Haze and later became immortalized for playing Seymour in Corman's LITTLE SHOP OF HORRORS (1960).


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