The Brain Eaters

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The Brain Eaters
Directed by Bruno VeSota
Produced by Ed Nelson
Roger Corman (exec) (uncredited)
Written by Gordon Urquhart
Based on novel The Puppet Masters by Robert A. Heinlein (uncredited)
Starring Ed Nelson
Alan Jay Factor
Cornelius Keefe
Joanna Lee
Jody Fair
David Hughes
Leonard Nimoy
Music by Tom Jonson
Cinematography Lawrence Raimond
Edited by Carlo Lodato
Corinthian Productions
Distributed by American International Pictures
Release dates
Running time
60 min
Country United States
Language English
Budget $26,000[1]

The Brain Eaters is a 1958 American science fiction-horror film about alien parasites who invade the small Illinois town of Riverdale and are able to take over any living thing, mind and body, by attaching themselves to their host's back and inserting two mandibles into the base of their spines. The film was directed by Bruno VeSota and stars Ed Nelson, Alan Jay Factor, Joanna Lee, with a brief appearance by Leonard Nimoy (name misspelled in 10th place in the credits as "Leonard Nemoy").[2] The film was released by American International Pictures as a double feature with Earth vs. the Spider


A team of local scientists discover alien parasites when they investigate a mysterious, three-story-tall, cone-like object that has appeared outside of town. It becomes obvious that the parasites' first victims, whose minds have been taken over, are the town's leading citizens.


  • Ed Nelson as Dr. Paul Kettering (billed as Edwin Nelson)
  • Alan Jay Factor as Glenn Cameron (billed as Alan Frost)
  • Cornelius Keefe as Senator Walter K. Powers (billed as Jack Hill)
  • Joanna Lee as Alice Summers
  • Jody Fair as Elaine Cameron
  • David Hughes as Dr. Wyler
  • Robert Ball as Dan Walker
  • Greigh Phillips as the Sheriff
  • Orville Sherman as Mayor Cameron
  • Leonard Nimoy as Professor Cole (billed as Leonard Nemoy)


Actor Bruno VeSota wanted to direct. He approached Roger Corman with the script and Corman helped him raise the low budget and arranged distribution through AIP. The film was shot in six days.[1]

The movie was known during production as The Keepers, The Keepers of the Earth, Attack of the Blood Leeches and Battle of the Brain Eaters.[3]

After the film was released, Robert A. Heinlein sued for plagiarism, asking for $150,000 claiming that the film was based on his novel The Puppet Masters. Roger Corman vowed he was unfamiliar with Heinlein's work when presented with the script and during production. He did, however, see the obvious references once he read the story, so he settled out of court for $5,000. Heinlein also demanded that he himself receive no screen credit, as he found the film based on his story "wanting".[1] This movie halted actor John Payne's intentions to produce a movie based on Heinlein's novel

In popular culture[edit]

  • Posters for The Brain Eaters appear in the movie theater from System Shock 2.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b c Mark McGee, Faster and Furiouser: The Revised and Fattened Fable of American International Pictures, McFarland, 1996 p121-122
  2. ^ "The Brain Eaters (1958) - Notes -". Turner Classic Movies. 
  3. ^ Gary A. Smith, The American International Pictures Video Guide, McFarland 2009 p 33

External links[edit]