“An unspeakable horror…Destroying…Terrifying!” It it was terrifying alright; the acting, editing, screenwriting, special effects, etc. Alas, for the sake of this review I will digress. Let’s just say with a title like The Beast with a Million Eyes, it’s about as good as you would expect it to be. Rumor has it the studio gave Roger Corman a set budget with which to produce four films. After the third film, he had only $23,000 left, so that became the total budget for this movie. You can tell. While initially only serving as producer, he was apparently dissatisfied by what he saw and took over direction himself and finished it without credit. This did not seem to matter, as the film was so far gone that not even Stanley Kubrick and a million dollars could have saved it.
I have a soft spot for low-budget, 1950’s science fiction, but this brings the term “low-budget” to a whole other level. For a good chunk of this movie, nothing happens. Literally, nothing. You could have cut this down to 15 minutes and it probably would have told the same story. A warring husband and wife (Paul Birch and Lorna Thayer) who run a dude ranch in the middle of nowhere are going stir crazy during their lonely off-season. One afternoon, a strange “plane” lands nearby, and all hell breaks loose. Glass shatters, animals start going berserk and attempt to kill humans (this is done with some of the worst editing I have ever seen, because they could not afford special effects, mind you), and people start acting strange. One thing leads to another, and they discover it is an alien spacecraft that looks like a mini fridge (heck, maybe it was!). Inside is a creature who can control their minds and is attempting to abduct weak-minded humans to bring back to its home planet to experiment on.
In a romantic ending that only the 1950’s could produce, the husband and wife duo manage to “kill the creature with love”, by thinking positive thoughts and forcing it to self-destruct. The “beast with a million eyes” is barely seen except for a few fleeting seconds, and only one or two eyes are ever really visible. The production must have been a nightmare from start to finish, and that is evident by the end product. They should have just said, “Oh well”, and locked the footage away into storage for a hundred years—it would have been good for publicity; can’t you just see it now, the “Lost Corman Film!”? Usually, a film like this would garner a “So Bad Its Good” verdict from me, but even this was so bereft of anything you could even find entertaining or remotely interesting. The people who designed the poster should have been sued for false advertising. Is it too late for that? Also starring Dona Cole and Dick Sargent. Credited direction given to David Kramarsky.
2 out of 10 stars.
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