Directed by Arthur ("Horrors Of The Black Museum") Crabtree and Marshall (uncredited) Thompson
Written by Herbert ("The Frozen Dead") Leder
Produced by John ("First Man Into Space") Croydon and Richard ("The Projected Man") Gordon
Produced under the auspices of the National Film Board Of Canada in 1957, this piece was intended as a cautionary tale, stressing the need for proper brain hygiene. It was made at a time when an overbearing neighbor to the south was carelessly beaming black and white television signals into the Commonwealth nation, prompting concern among officials about cultural contamination from such unhealthy media icons as the Honeymooners and Howdy-Doody. The film was preceded by an educational short (paid for by the Molson Company) which advised Canadians to wash their brains daily with alcohol.
The setting is a quaint Canadian village whose principal industry is accents. Unwanted electro-magnetic waves eminating from a nearby U.S. Air Force base have depressed local milk production, particularly among the farm animals. A suitably thick and ripened Air Force security officer (Marshall Thompson) tries to allay the fears of the residents as several citizens turn up with their brains sucked dry. He barely manages to trace the deaths to a doddering old professor (Kynaston Reeves) who pirated the Air Force radar signals in order to create an invisible friend for myself. Hoping to conjure up a six foot rabbit, the professor falls short of the mark and unleashes a horde of stealthy brain predators. It all comes to a head at the prof's home, inside his combination living room and tool shed, where the surviving humans try to hold out against flying Claymation effects. No one important dies and no one worthwile survives.
All the same, Canadian viewers are reminded to floss their brains at least twice a week.
The Critics Rave...
WryGrin> "Effects filled" oh, I don't think so.
BEMaven> filled as in dunnage, i suppose.
Bice> Fiend Without a Face. That was a Billy Idol song, wasn't it?
THX-1138> Oh, this takes place in Canada. Who cares then?
WryGrin> "In Electrovision"
DetJohnMunch> Lala Lloyd, Va va voom.
BEMaven> what was that thumping? did the invisible monster bring a rythm box?
Trademark> Here, have some of this absinthe.
BEMaven> "if he was killed.."
WryGrin> 'Well, he may just be very sleepy.'
BEMaven> natural causes? sure, he sneezed his brains out thru his left nostril.
Bice> I'm always suspicious of people who wear their watches upside down.
WryGrin> Atomic Radar?
Bice> Col. Buttlift?
WryGrin> Col Buttlove & Major Cummings?
BEMaven> no autopsy. turns out Farmer McCraken was a zen Buddhist.
Bice> 'Black Dog, this is Led Zepplin...'
Trademark> 'Turn on the Pong game, over.'
WryGrin> 'The Armed Forces: Beaming signals into your brain for 20 years.'
DetJohnMunch> 'Now we will finally see why socks don't always come out in pairs.'
BEMaven> Test Baker: they're going to drop the Pillsbury Doughboy.
WryGrin> Army couldn't spring for a couple florescent lights?
Bice> That light show would go good with some Floyd and some hash.
THX-1138> All this scanning is taking out satellites for cell phones everywhere.
THX-1138> 'I canna increase the range, Cap'n!'
BEMaven> 'we've got to lick this power fade. failing that, we have to lick something.'
WryGrin> Wow, leather jumpsuits. Scientific.
Bice> He ran out of clean clothes, so he wore a garbage bag to work today.
Trademark> Nice. I could use a Generic Meter. To measure the danger level of... something.
Bice> 'This is Red Dog. We taste horrible but we'll get you drunk. Over.'
WryGrin> 'It's huge, and it's got a straw!'
Bice> Mrs Bice sez: Oh no, a deadly carpet muncher!
THX-1138> What is that noise? Is it eating Rice Krispies?
Trademark> Whoa, apparently getting attacked by the fiend makes women scream like chimpanzees in a turf war.
BEMaven> 'ok, who kicked over the light during my autopsy?'
Bice> "Promise them anything, but get ahold of those bodies." Sounds like most single guy's Saturday night strategies in bars.
BEMaven> "the brain is gone."
THX-1138> My god, it's the magic bullet that killed Kennedy!
Bice> I'm a doctor dammit, not an actor.
Trademark> Pete Postelthwaite as General Lip-Reader.
BEMaven> 'and Doctor, stop wearing your coat backwards.'
WryGrin> When do they introduce the 'top scientist' woman with the androgyonous name?
Bice> Given the music, I'd say right now.
DetJohnMunch> i like her aquarium.
WryGrin> Just walk right into the bathroom.
Plumm> Nice Auschwitz brand shower.
DetJohnMunch> what's with the sitcom music?
* BEMaven averts his eyes in shame.
WryGrin> 'Nice equipment.'
BEMaven> Major: 'i always barge into houses at the sound of a shower. it's my Marine training.'
Plumm> Duel of the man-girdles!
WryGrin> Rock'em Sock'em Idiots.
THX-1138> You can tell, he's a MAVERICK!
Trademark> 'Come back tomorrow and meet your damage quota again.'
DetJohnMunch> he officially left.
Plumm> Contrails! Call Art Bell.
Bice> Fiend with a Backbeat.
WryGrin> Ooooh, the mayor's gonna get his brain sucked out threw a straw.
Trademark> Heh. This has all the menace of a junior-high haunted house.
BEMaven> in addition to being invisible, the monster is a klutz.
WryGrin> The monster kicked the bucket. The End.
THX-1138> Always put a lid on your big bucket of chocolate milk.
Trademark> Some fiend. Has to stop the film between each movement in his vandalism.
Bice> He's got rubber-wood floors.
WryGrin> The dead guy blinked!
DetJohnMunch> he didn't only blink, he changed his face like 5 times.
Plumm> Floyd the Barber joined the frennch Foreign Legion and is now in joint screaming exercises with the USAF townfolk.
Bice> What the HELL is with these accents?
WryGrin> This guy plays dueling accents with himself.
Plumm> Hurry up fellas, Serling needs the backlot in ten minutes.
WryGrin> 'Remember, you can't shoot well unless you're liquored up, so don't go easy on the booze.'
BEMaven> also, by not showing the monster, this movie compels us to use our imagination to picture it.
Bice> And saves a few bucks on rubber monster suits.
Trademark> This is a corollary to Corman's rule. Don't show the monster for the first 90 minutes.
BEMaven> exactly. i envision the monster as being a guy in a rubber suit.
Bice> TM - in a 75 minute movie?
BEMaven> whiskey. great for a stroke patient.
Bice> "An expression of complete whore?"
Trademark> 'It was a cold, dead kind of face. Like you'd find on your corpses and bodies.'
WryGrin> Aw, the professor can't rise when he's excited.
WryGrin> 'sounds like a drum solo.'
BEMaven> 'can i go home? it's dark and i've already shot myself in both feet.'
WryGrin> The Pride of the Ozarks.
Bice> 'When drums stop, then comes bass solo.'
Trademark> The fiend apparently walks around with a portable dentistry spit-sucker.
BEMaven> 'Gibbons! what's eating you?'
WryGrin> 'Gibbons! I see gibbons everywhere! Run from the gibbons!'
* Ironf has joined.
Ironf> The guy on my tv kept having a face, so I thought it was the wrong channel.
THX-1138> So when Stan Winston was saying this movie had stop motion animation, he was talking about all the actors?
Ironf> Was he... gibbed?
Trademark> They're taking orders from a turtle?
WryGrin> Uncle Joe calls the meeting to order.
Bice> The rejected cast of Gilligan's Island.
Trademark> 'Cows often secrete yogurt and brie, it happens all the time.'
BEMaven> 'the drop in milk production is easy to explain: you idiots are milking the bulls.'
THX-1138> Here comes the villiage ray-tard.
Ironf> He's just looking for Chunk.
WryGrin> "I'd like to take a look at your cemetary."
Ironf> Have they shown Abbot or Costello yet?
DetJohnMunch> 'quiet, you'll wake the dead.'
WryGrin> Yeah, they locked you in... they're gonna just let you out.
WryGrin> Set fire to the corpse, that will get you some light.
Trademark> And the noise he makes causes the cows to give off kerosene instead of methane. And the townspeople bitch.
Bice> I love how candles emit millions of watts of power in the movies.
BEMaven> the hell. is the Major wearing tap shoes in the crypt?
Trademark> Yep, start scratching out the days until you die.
DetJohnMunch> 'guard, sick man, water.'
WryGrin> Yeah, those crypts are airtight.
BEMaven> a cigarette? why not, that's just as healthy for a stroke victim as booze.
Trademark> 'Oh, and Rosebud!'
Bice> "It's a terrible story"... I call it 'Hudson Hawk'.
BEMaven> that sound. there must be sand in his pacemaker.
WryGrin> "It's a terrible story" --- 'Yeah, but we filmed it anyway'
Trademark> My parents went to Hanford, and all I got was this lousy third arm.
BEMaven> never mind that. what about the milk production? i need to know!
Plumm> 'Because it's a meth lab, my child.'
Trademark> 'Tying a dog collar to my head.'
THX-1138> Early Jerker lab tests.
Trademark> Uh-oh, a closet drummer finds an outlet.
THX-1138> I call it Cerebus.
Trademark> 'Did I mention that my head was hooked up directly to the lightning rod atop the lab? I don't know why I did that.'
THX-1138> Imagine, with that telepathic device, no one will ever have to turn a page with their hands EVER!
Bice> Jeeze, I don't even keep my PC on during a thunderstorm. He straps his head to the equipment and doesn't bother turning it off.
Trademark> He's sacrificed himself as a surge protector, Bice.
Ironf> He's just doing this so he can masturbate and type at full speed all at once.
BEMaven> why the leather band on his head? did his brain get a hernia?
THX-1138> "I learned to amplify my thoughts without hurting myself."
THX-1138> Most people would envision a really hot chick that would pleasure them, but he envisions a brain sucking monster.
WryGrin> 'Hey you fiends, get the hell out of my yard.'
THX-1138> 'We make monsters the old fashioned way - we think about them.'
WryGrin> And the rest of the cast shows up.
Bice> Just shakin' the bushes, boss.
Plumm> Inspector Tiger?
Trademark> The fiend! He's no landscaper!
BEMaven> wow. first time i actually heard an actor scream 'Wauuughh'.
Plumm> o/~ It's the story of a Hurricane o/~
THX-1138> Say their names 3 times and they become visible.
Trademark> Casper is here, and he's pissed.
THX-1138> Johnny Blue Jeans, noooooooooooo!
WryGrin> Johnny Cool bites the dust.
BEMaven> monsters attacking and they suddenly to decide to rearrange the furniture?
Plumm> Donovan's Brain... taking a shit.
Trademark> Quick, call in the Iron Chef!
THX-1138> Was that Andy Warhol?
DetJohnMunch> so why are they still standing NEAR the window?
WryGrin> A meatloaf infestation.
Plumm> Did I miss the part where we went from telepathy to brains and spinal cords climbing trees?
Ironf> Are they going to attack those Indians in the distance?
BEMaven> 'can you spot the brains of the outfit?'
DetJohnMunch> it's nice to see that those things falling from the sky in the first Eraserhead dream sequence got other work.
Trademark> Man, the brains should eat less sodium. Listen to that blood pressure.
BEMaven> quick, burn your organ donor cards.
Bice> Ah, they're jelly-filled.
BEMaven> he died as he lived... short on brains.
Trademark> And lo, the Shiatsu brains rose up and slew the load.
Bice> Yes, blowing up the control room automatically shuts down a nuclear power plant.
Plumm> And he dips the corpse.
WryGrin> What was that frame rate - 6 per second?
THX-1138> Somewhere, an Observer dies.
Plumm> It's got diarrhea of the brain.
Trademark> Enjoy the music stolen from an educational short.
DetJohnMunch> why is the atomic plant at the top of an apartment complex?
Bice> Good thing they left the hammer lying there.
THX-1138> nothing more dangerous than a brain with a hammer.
Trademark> Uh-oh, they've advanced to tool usage.
Trademark> Maybe it's the brain of Bob Vila, so it'll hand the work off to other brains after a minute or so.
THX-1138> Flying Brains, the new screen saver!
WryGrin> That one was filled with Hormel Chili.
Plumm> Feed me, Seymour.
Trademark> I think they've got the same stuff in them that Stretch Armstrong had...
Bice> The great thing is, once they shut the power plant down the things go back to being invisible. No messy cleanup.
Bice> I'll have a Bavarian Cream filled brain, please.
THX-1138> You might want to dodge it when it flies at you.
THX-1138> Is that stop motion? I couldn't tell.
BEMaven> more like stunted motion.
Plumm> Stop, motion, what's that sound? Brains farting jelly, what's going round.
WryGrin> Meanwhile, now the radioactivity which leaks from the destroyed plant *does* affect the cattle.
BEMaven> but wait. the Professor didn't mention his experiments in projecting his other organ.
Plumm> And watch my breakthrough series, MANIMAL!
Trademark> Would we want to see him shocking that one, BEM?
Capt. Chester: "If he was killed."
Col. Butler: "Tell him to pour it on!"
Gibbons: "You found that GI killer yet? You know, you'd be far better off hunting him down instead of tomcatting around here."
Maj. Cummings: "Promise them anything, but get a hold of those bodies."
Maj. Cummings: "It's as if some mental vampire was at large."
Coroner: "I'm a doctor , Colonel, not a detective."
Maj. Cummings: "I'd like to take a look at your cemetary."
Barbara: "I didn't know you had a laboratory."
Prof. Walgate:"I learned to amplify my thoughts without hurting myself."
Prof. Walgate: "I believe it feeds on the radiation from your atomic plant, and that it's evil!"
As a strict vegetarian, BEMaven would only eat the brain of Trent Lott. And only if the Two Fat Ladies prepared it.