Thursday, April 10, 2014
The Brain From Planet Arous!
The Brain from Planet Arous is one of the very first old 50's sci-fi flicks I latched onto when VHS made getting these old gems possible. I'd never seen it on television, but was attracted to it by the weird title and the fact it starred John Agar, an actor I admire for his work in such awesome movies from Universal as The Tarantula and the totally awesome The Mole People. Agar is no less entertaining here, in a movie which gives him the room to play not a soft-spoken know-it-all good guy, but a brazen and cackling know-it-all bad guy.
The trouble begins when Steve March (Agar) detects weird gamma radiation at "Mystery Mountain". He and his partner Dan (Robert Fuller) head out into the desert (Bronson Caves it looked like to me) and find an alien floating brain named Gor who quickly dispatches Dan and inhabits the body of Steve. Steve then returns and begins to act most strangely, fondling his girlfriend Sally (Joyce Meadows) pretty roughly and generally being an asshole to everyone around him.
Then he begins to shoot down airplanes with energy emitted from his silvery eyes and making threats to the military. Eventually he announces his plans to gain world domination by terrorizing the nations of the world with the threat of annihilation. But at the same time this has been going on Sally and her dad have been visited by Vol, a good alien of Gor's race who inhabits the body of their dog and bides his time until Gor is most vulnerable, a time when he must leave Steve's body to oxygenate his own brainy form. Sally endures Steve's lustful advances while they wait for the right time to strike and meanwhile Gor as Steve kills more and more people.
The Brain form Planet Arous is a zany old sci-fi movie, filled with many of the cliches of the form. A hostile alien, a hapless scientist, mostly helpless military types, and so on and so forth. The movie is held together by the remarkable acting of John Agar who chews scenery with gusto as the Steve March possessed Gor. His grabby advances on Meadows as Sally are some of the most palpable I've ever seen in a movie of this type, almost scary. Usually the hint of sex is pretty arid stuff in these movies with a lot of talk, this movie does more than talk. You get the sense that March-Gor is just moments from raping Sally who is time and time again put in harms way for the good of the planet.
This is far from a great movie, some might even say it's not a good one. But I've seen this movie many times over in VHS and now in DVD and it always entertains. That's what they're supposed to do.