The Brain from Planet Arous (1957)

I’ve got a bit of a soft spot for this one.  I’ll admit it.

I suspect the inspiration here may have been It Came from Outer Space:  It starts about the same way, with a bright light falling from the sky and landing in the desert with a big explosion.  We hardly need to be told that it is the arrival of a mysterious alien.

Unfortunately, Nuclear Scientist Steve Marsh doesn’t know what kind of movie he’s in, so, when his equipment shows a spike of gamma radiation from a nearby mountain, he insists on going  to have a look.  And that’s when he gets taken over by a giant brain from outer space.

So John (Mr. Shirley Temple) Agar gets to (over)act like a mild mannered scientist who’s been taken over by a giant alien brain — and, we should note, a giant alien brain who has the hots for his girlfriend.  I guess the life of a disembodied brain isn’t all it’s cracked up to be.

…And is it really a coincidence that it’s home planet is pronounced the same as the name of the Roman god of erotic love, Eros?

Naturally, an alien brain cop shows up to stop him (although he isn’t much help) and takes over the dog.  I think this may be the first time we had this now familiar trope show up in a movie — although I suspect the inspiration was Hal Clement’s novel, Needle.  And it is certainly one of the first films to have a giant alien brain in it, edging out both The Space Children and Fiend Without a Face by a year.

You can’t take this one seriously for a moment.  But fortunately you don’t need to, as its fundamental goofiness is The Brain from Planet Arous’ greatest charm.  I particularly love the giant brain with its big, angry glowing eyes — and the final battle with it, which is ludicrous in the best possible way.

Let’s face it:  if you aren’t ready to watch this one on its own terms, then you shouldn’t be watching it.

But if you can accept it for what it is, you will have fun.  Although probably not as much fun as Gor, the giant brain.

He must be having fun, what with all that maniacal laughter…


And check out our new Feature (Updated May 16, 2019):

The Rivets Zone:  The Best SF Movies You’ve Never Seen!

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