“You acted funny — and that way you kissed me…”
When a nuclear physicist (John Agar) and his colleague (Robert Fuller) explore a sudden source of intense radiation at a cave near Mystery Mountain, Fuller is killed while Agar’s body is taken over by a nefarious disembodied alien brain named Gor. Concerned about Agar’s sudden aggressive change of character, Agar’s fiancee (Joyce Meadows) and her father (Thomas B. Henry) go to the cave to investigate, and meet a well-meaning brain named Vol who decides to inhabit their dog. Can Vol-as-dog prevent Gor-as-Agar from destroying Earth for the sake of his own ambitions?
Genres, Themes, Actors, and Directors:
- Disembodied Parts
- John Agar Films
- Mad Doctors and Scientists
- Mind Control and Hypnosis
- Nuclear Threat
- Science Fiction
- World Domination
Nathan Juran — a.k.a. Nathan Hertz — directed a number of Peary-listed sci-fi and fantasy films throughout the 1950s and ’60s, including Hellcats of the Navy (1957), The 7th Voyage of Sinbad (1958), Attack of the 50 Foot Woman (1958), Jack the Giant Killer (1962), and First Men in the Moon (1964). This irresistably titled flick is sure to appeal to fans of its unique sub-genre — talking disembodied parts — and/or those interested in viewing all manifestations of The Red Scare through cinematic depictions of alien mind control and possession, such as Invasion of the Body Snatchers (1956) and I Married a Monster From Outer Space (1958). On its own merits, TBFPA is ridiculous (of course) but competently enough made that it’s easy to sit through. As Agar is violently possessed by Gor, he suddenly experiences wild passion for his plucky fiancee, demented joy at his ability to take down planes through the power of his glowing eyes, and gleeful anticipation at the thought of world domination: there’s no mistaking the metaphor here of the danger humans face of being not-so-secretly taken over by nefarious forces eager to exploit our weaknesses.
Note: Juran’s work in Hollywood was multi-faceted: he won an award for Best Art Direction for How Green Was My Valley (1942) and was nominated for his work on The Razor’s Edge (1946).
Redeeming Qualities and Moments:
- John Agar’s amusingly campy performance
- Some clever directorial moves
No, though it’s a hoot in its own way. Listed as a Camp Classic in the back of Peary’s book.
One thought on “Brain From Planet Arous, The (1957)”
A once-must for camp / cult fans – others may not take to its ‘charms’.
As per my post in ‘Revival House of Camp and Cult’ on facebook:
“Your feeling of helplessness is your best friend, savage!”
‘The Brain from Planet Arous’: ‘Brain’ tells us of the planet Arous and the brain creatures who populate it. Of course, there are good brains and there are bad brains. One of the bad brains – Gor – is, in fact, a criminal brain, a James Cagney-type brain. (He even has a crazy laugh.) He escapes from Arous and hightails it to Earth in order to harness all of its nuclear power (to, of course, control the universe). To do this, he takes over the nuclear scientist body of Shirley Temple’s ex-husband John Agar (who also then develops a crazy laugh). BUT, one of the good brains – Val – has followed Gor… to bring him to justice. This is a movie tailor-made for MST3K but I don’t know if they ever got their witty mitts on it. Sometimes a B-flick of this sort that doesn’t have MST3K commentary to help it along can be simply unwatchable. But ‘Brain’ is entertaining enough on its own.