Friday, October 08, 2010
31 Days of Halloween - Day 8 - Movie 2
I really like John Agar. Unlike other actors in the 1950s who were often cast in the clean-cut, leading man scientist roles that populated science fiction movies of the era, John Agar always seemed really personable on top of being smart and heroic. He was someone who could be comfortable out of his labcoat. Usually he plays characters that are really out and out goody-two-shoes. In The Brain From Planet Arous (1957) he gets to play a character that's completely contrary to that and it's a delight to watch him take such pure joy in playing someone so bad.
After investigating erratic radiation readings from a mountain in the middle of the desert, Steve March (Agar) finds himself inhabited by Gor, an enormous criminal brain from the planet Arous, who plans to use Steve to achieve his goals of enslaving earth in order to build an armed space fleet to return to his own planet where he can enslave his own people. Gor also discovers the carnal pleasures of making out with Steve's girlfriend, Sally (Joyce Meadows). Sally, and her father (Thomas B. Henry) are joined by Val, a benevolent brain from Arous, who inhabits their dog in order to remain close by Steve without arousing Gor's suspicion until the time comes when they can strike against the criminal brain.
The movie is no classic, but it's consistently entertaining, and both brains have personalities of their own. They also look pretty cool. The make-up in this movie was handled by the legendary Jack Pierce, who created all of the Universal monsters of the 1930s and 1940s. Nathan Juran who directed The 7th Voyage of Sinbad, among other genre pictures, directed this one as well, but without much flair. As stated above, the real draw is watching wholesome John Agar acting like a lecherous, power mad fiend. This movie is definitely worth seeing once.