The Eye Creatures
|The Eye Creatures|
VHS cover for the film
|Directed by||Larry Buchanan|
|Produced by||Larry Buchanan|
|Written by||Paul W. Fairman
Robert J. Gurney Jr.
|Music by||Les Baxter
|Cinematography||Ralph K. Johnson|
|Edited by||S. F. Brownrigg|
|Distributed by||American International Television|
The Eye Creatures (also known as Attack of the Eye Creatures, with the opening title as Attack of the The Eye Creatures from a production error) is a 1965 science-fiction film about an invasion of an unnamed American countryside by a flying saucer and its silent, shambling alien occupants. While the military ineptly attempts to stop the invasion, a group of young people, whose reports to the local police are dismissed as pranks or wild imagination, struggles to defend themselves against the menacing monsters.
The Eye Creatures is an Azalea Pictures film. It was directed by B-movie director/producer/auteur Larry Buchanan. The screenplay was developed by uncredited writers Robert J. Gurney Jr. and Al Martin from the short story "The Cosmic Frame" by Paul W. Fairman (also uncredited). The film is a color remake of the 1957 black and white AIP film Invasion of the Saucer Men intended to fill out a package of American International Pictures films released to television.
A military briefing film shows a hovering flying saucer resembling a domed yo-yo as the narrator (Peter Graves) describes how the military's "Project Visitor" has been tracking it and anticipates it will land in the "central United States." After the briefing, Lt. Robertson reports to the base near the expected target where he berates his subordinates for their habit of using the monitoring equipment to spy on teenagers making out in the woods. One of the teens sees an object land nearby and tells his friends at a local bar, including Stan Kenyon. Stan and his girlfriend Susan Rogers later accidentally hit one of the multi-eyed, lumpy greyish white aliens from the ship with his car, so they drive off to call the police. Out in the woods, they are forced to use the phone of a grumpy local codger who resents the "smoochers" who use his property as a lovers' lane, frequently threatening them with a shotgun.
Meanwhile, one of two drunken drifters new in town comes across the dead creature and decides to put it on exhibition as part of his latest get-rich-quick scheme. When he returns to the site after excitedly rushing home to tell his buddy Mike, other aliens arrive, scaring him and causing a deadly heart attack. When the police finally investigate, they assume that Stan ran over the drifter and they arrest the young man, refusing to believe his crazy story.
Having overheard the bar conversation about the UFO, Lt. Robertson reports to his commander, who reluctantly authorizes a cordon around the saucer. They eventually accidentally blow up the spaceship and congratulate themselves for their effective defense, not realizing that the creatures weren't in their craft and are still roaming the woods.
Easily escaping from the police, Stan and Susan meet up with the dead drifter's friend Mike and the three of them attempt to prove the alien danger to the community. Mike is cornered and attacked by the angry creatures, but Stan and Susan manage to flee and accidentally discover the monsters explode when exposed to bright light. Unfortunately, after the autopsy showed that the victim earlier died from an alcohol-induced heart attack and that Stan had not killed him, the police want nothing more to do with him and refuse to help. The teenagers then gather their friends together and drive out to the clearing where they left Mike. Surrounding the aliens with their cars, the teens use their headlights to evaporate the remaining creatures. Mike survives his attack, and Stan and Susan resume their interrupted plans to elope.
Larry Buchanan had made Free, White and 21 (1963) which was distributed by AIP. They hired the director to make a series of low-budget color remakes of old AIP films, of which this was the first. Buchanan later called them his "wretched remakes".
Most of the film was shot at the ranch of wealthy businessman Gordon McLendon. Ashley claims the film ranks up "with some of the worst all-time horror films ever made" but says it was a professional operation and Buchanan treated him very well.
The Eye Creatures is infamous for its many production errors and goofs. The story takes place during a single night, but movie criticism website Rotten Tomatoes points out that these night scenes include intercut shots from obvious daylight shoots, were likely intended to be rendered as day-for-night shots but not appearing as such in the final film. A string can be observed during a scene where a creature's severed hand creeps toward Susan and Stan.
The creature costumes in particular presented problems for Larry Buchanan. There were not enough full costumes for all the creature actors during crowd scenes, so some scenes include creatures with only head appliances, wearing skin-tight black outfits in an attempt to hide their costume deficiencies.
In keeping with a frequent practice of B-movie re-release retitling, the phrase "Attack of the" was superimposed on top of the original in the title screen. The production person failed to notice that the original already included "the," producing the redundant Attack of the The Eye Creatures.
Movie-mocking television series Mystery Science Theater 3000 featured the oddly-titled print of the film in a 1992 season-4 episode. In the MST3K version, Joel riffs Rick Astley's song "Never Gonna Give You Up". Years later, the snippet surfaced on YouTube as "The First Rickroll" as the episode predates the "roboroll" from the Squaresoft game "Chrono Trigger". In the Mystery Science Theater 3000 episode featuring the film, Joel Robinson sarcastically suggests that "some eye creatures […] are born with tight acrylic wool-blend turtleneck sweaters from Chess King." Crow T. Robot also mocks, "If you're ever in a fight with an eye creature, keep in mind that his head is simply draped casually over his shoulders and should be no trouble to knock off. […] Get ready to give chase to an injured eye creature; as you can see, he's wearing his Jack Purcell athletic shoes!" Crow even points out a shot featuring a common monster-movie goof: "The eye creatures […] were also unfortunate enough to have evolved with heavy-duty zippers running up their backs." Their riffing produced the fan-favorite phrase "They just didn't care," which was applied to other movies viewed on the show.
- Mark McGee, Faster and Furiouser: The Revised and Fattened Fable of American International Pictures, McFarland, 1996 p237-238
- Goodsell, Greg, "The Weird and Wacky World of Larry Buchanan", Filmfax, No. 38 April/May 1993 p 64
- Tom Weaver, "Interview with John Ashley", Interviews with B Science Fiction and Horror Movie Makers: Writers, Producers, Directors, Actors, Moguls and Makeup, McFarland 1988 p 40
- Zontar the Thing From Venus/The Eye Creatures DVD, 2005, UPC 014381233025
- Mystery Science Theater 3000, episode #418 (Attack of the Eye Creatures)
|Wikiquote has quotations related to: Mystery Science Theater 3000#Attack of the Eye Creatures|
- The Eye Creatures at the Internet Movie Database
- The Eye Creatures is available for free download at the Internet Archive
- The Eye Creatures at Rotten Tomatoes