Horror Half-Week, Day 2: The Brain Eaters (1958)

Happy Horror Half-Week! TMP is celebrating the spooky season with three film reviews and a special edition of “Favorite Things About…” to be published on Halloween. Yesterday, we took a look at 1957’s Invasion of the Saucer-Men. See below for today’s frightening feature!

The gossip mill is set alight in the sleepy town of Riverdale, Illinois after several residents see what they think is a fiery chariot flying through the sky.

(Image via Wikimedia Commons)

Glenn Cameron (Alan Jay Factor) and his fiance Elaine (Jody Fair) may find the source of the mysterious sighting when they stumble upon a strange metal rocket that has landed in the woods.

An investigative team led by Dr. Paul Kettering (Ed Nelson) sets up camp around the rocket to investigate. Then, murders also begin happening in the surrounding towns. Are the deaths related to the mysterious metal cone in the woods?

The Brain Eaters was directed by Bruno VeSota. The screenplay was written by Gordon Urquhart.

This film’s tone is much more serious and factual than I expected with documentarian-style narration, a thorough investigation of the mysterious spacecraft, and a full-blown research camp set up! As is documented by the researchers, “The nature of the cone: undetermined. The origin: unknown.” Someone has to find the answers, and the film follows the folks who set out to do just that.

With this tone, it doesn’t live up to the brilliance and terror of its poster, but I still enjoyed watching it.

The Brain Eaters doesn’t deliver any big chills, crazy monster moments, genuine brain-eating, or super sci-fi effects. There are a couple of thrills, including a scene in which a leech-like creature latches itself onto a researcher’s arm. There’s also some interesting medical horror, including nervous system damage inflicted by acid!

(Image via Horror News)

The film is nicely shot, with odd angles thrown in here and there, and a bit of mood-building fog. I loved the design of the futuristic spacecraft, too.

The Brain Eaters doesn’t deliver the film you’d expect based on its title or brilliantly-designed promotional art, but it is a fun watch, and a short one — easy to fit in among your more spine-chilling Halloween selections.

3 thoughts on “Horror Half-Week, Day 2: The Brain Eaters (1958)

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