The Beast With 1,000,000 Eyes! (review by Doug Smith)
Deep from the bowels of hell comes the Beast with a Million Eyes! And I’m not talking about the monster in this movie; I’m talking about this movie in general. I thought “Manos: The Hands of Fate” was the worst movie ever made until I found this one. Leave it to Roger Corman to once again make me turn to my bottle of Captain Morgan’s to convince me life is worth living. After viewing this film, I thought that, surely, this was the end times. Life as I knew it was going to stop and it would be replaced by some nightmarish, fever dream of a world of Corman-esque proportions. Thankfully, the good Captain pulled me through, with a little help from his buddy, Mr. Cola. The only problem is, now I have to watch it again as I write this review. Excuse me, while I pour myself another drink. Incidentally, the title of this movie kind of reminds me of what George W. Bush wants the government to be.
As for the stars of this film, the only one really worth mentioning anything about is Dick Sargent, who, as any good computer nerd should know, was the second Darrin on “Bewitched.” He plays a completely ineffectual deputy cop named Larry Brewster. Okay, okay, I’ll mention some of the other actors. Larry’s love interest, young Sandra Kelly, is played by equally young (at the time) Dona Cole. This was Dona’s second and last film appearance. Her first was in, “The Long Gray Line,” which at first I misread as “The Long Gay Line,” which I thought was a movie about the first day of ticket sales to a Cher concert. Her parents, Carol and Allan, are played by Lorna Thayer and Paul Birch, respectively (go fig). Lorna is perhaps best remembered for her role as “Matron” in the “Highway Robbery” episode of “ChiPs.” Paul’s most famous role, if you ask me, was in the ever classic, “Bonzo Goes to College.” Another notable mention (well, not really) goes out to Leonard Tarver who plays the mute farm helper the family just calls “Him.”
All right then, on with the pain. The movie opens with a bunch of drawings of various things that have eyes that I guess are supposed to terrify you into thinking this is a good movie. It doesn’t work, of course, because this is a Roger Corman film. Hey, at least he tries! Give the guy credit! Also, there’s some very Russian music playing that makes you want to put on a big, puffy, furry hat and do a little dance that involves a lot of kicks while your arms are crossed upon your chest.
The first scene gives us a panoramic view of a desert and then a big patch of some trees. The first lines are, “A date ranch in the off season is the loneliest place in the world.” I don’t know, but I’m kind of thinking a date ranch during ANY season can’t be that exciting. Unless it’s a blind date ranch. Then you have all sorts of various couples who are probably wrong for each other, running around willy-nilly. And as we all know, willy-nilly can be pretty exciting.
The first half hour of this film is taken up by the married couple, Carol and Allan, yelling at each other, and the wife talking about how much she hates their daughter, Sandy. The wife also burns several quiches or soufflés or whatever it is country housewives make. Then she decides she doesn’t hate her daughter after all and we go through several more mood swings until Allan decides to he needs to go “flood the north grove,” when what he probably really wants to say is, “I need to drive over to Vegas and pick me up one of them $20 hookers.” After he drives off, we’re introduced to a new character, whom everyone just calls “Him.” During this first introduction, we get to see “Him” lying on his bed, looking at bikini magazines all bug-eyed and just really creepy.
Meanwhile, there’s some kind of subplot involving Carol not liking Sandy’s dog, named Duke. They quickly enough stop talking about that, and Sandy decides to go swimming, in the date pond, I guess, and takes Duke with her. Him decides to follow her and to climb up a tree so he can stare all bug-eyed at her like he was staring at the dirty magazine. Remember when I reviewed “Eegah” and said it really made me want to take a shower? Well, I think this movie at least equals that, if not surpasses it entirely.
During this time, a loud shrieking sound flies overhead, shattering glass in the house and prompting Sandy to say, “crazy pilots.” She really summed up that kind of situation, let me tell you. The sound seems to spoil Sandy’s swim, so she gets out and spots Him up in a tree watching her. She doesn’t seem to think anything about this and just tells him to get down and go with her back to the house. Once there, Him goes in the house for lunch, but mom’s in a bad mood again so she tells him to get out. I’m pretty sure this woman is at least manic depressive, if not bi-polar, but I guess that’s what one can expect when living on a date ranch.
After mom’s little outburst, we go to visit Allan, who’s driving along a date field or date grove or date patch or whatever the hell date kind of place you want to call it. Suddenly, a bird flies right into his windshield. In actuality, it was probably poisoned by the filmmakers and then some stagehand tossed it at the vehicle. I hope Betty White opened a can of whupass on them. Allan gets out of the car to inspect the bird and he’s promptly attacked by a whole bunch of birds, again being thrown by some offscreen stagehands. At least this time they’re live, though they look more like parakeets than blackbirds. No doubt Corman ran down to the local pet shop and bought out the whole budgie bin.
This odd sort of animal behavior continues for a while, and pretty soon the family dog goes nutzo and mom has to blow it away. Then, before we know it, Him is acting strangely. We come to find out, that sound that broke all the glass in the house earlier was actually some kind of spacecraft that landed out in the desert and is controlling various things’ minds.
During the climax – and I mean the really dull kind of climax, like when you go to Hardee’s and they’re out of curly fries so you’re all depressed until you find out they have a special on roast beef sandwiches – we find out that Him’s name is Carl for some inexplicable reason and that (get ready for this) there’s NO FRICKIN’ BEAST WITH A MILLION EYES! Here I was all primed to see some hideous creature with a lot of puss-filled, crusty eyes and then all it really turns out to be is a damn metaphor! The only creature there is, is some two foot, fluffy little thing with fangs that looks like a Woozle! Or a Muppet! Or My Pet Monster!
So anyway, this movie sucks. Sorry to put it in such an uncreative way, but that’s really what I tall comes down to. It just sucks. Thankfully, the only copy of this movie I could find was on eBay and there was only the one listing for it. I pray, for the love of god, that I hold the only existent copy and that I can protect the planet from this film. Admittedly, it’s laughably bad, but still. It’s evil! Yak turd!