(Aka, Attack of the Eye Creatures)
Larry Buchanan is yet another of those familiar names in the world of bad SF movies. Perhaps he is best remembered for Mars Needs Women, which, despite being universally hailed as a truly awful film, is probably far better than most of the schlock he made.
The Eye Creatures was one of a series of AIP remakes he did for TV in the fifties, this time based on 1957’s Invasion of the Saucer Men.
It is really hard to imagine why anyone thought we needed a remake of Invasion of the Saucer Men, which is a goofy but minor SF comedy whose biggest asset was Paul Blaisdel’s awesome alien designs.
But not needing it was never enough to dissuade a schlockmeister like Buchanan from making a movie. So we get the same, goofy plot played out once again – only at slightly longer length and with what surely ranks as the worst alien suits ever.
I do have to confess a certain weakness for one of the new subplots of the film, as we see the inept – and frankly comic – response of the mighty U.S. military establishment to the arrival of the flying saucer. Which in this case is a former press-agent turned Lieutenant, his superior, and a handful of Air Force guys with guns. And then there are the two guys monitoring the secret cameras, who miss the saucer landing because they were too busy spying on the couples in Lovers’ Lane with the infrared cameras that are part of their massive surveillance system!
However, the “parents never pay attention to what their kids say” theme seems a little dated in the mid-Sixties, when the gap between generations would have seemed much larger than it did a decade earlier.
Ironically, while we are told that one of the characters died of severe alcohol poisoning, this remains totally unexplained in the new film. Originally, the aliens’ hands had fang-like claws which inject alcohol into their victims, but the monsters in the remake don’t have them. Nor do we see them injecting poison into anyone. The reference to alcohol only makes sense If you remember the plot of the original film.
The “Eye Creatures” themselves are the most singularly ugly aliens ever – roughly what you’d get if you left the Staypuft marshmallow man out on a hot, humid day and he got all moldy. And the footage of the saucer in space – which looks like a hamburger in a McDonalds’s ad – does not in any way resemble the flying saucer we see on the ground (it has even turned green).
It is sporadically amusing, with a few okay bits and the same goofy “headlights” ending as the original film. If you don’t expect a lot more, it’s not too bad.
But you’d still be better off watching the original.