The Beast with a Million Eyes (1955)
To call this film “cheesy” or imply that it is “worse than Ed Wood” is absurd. The Beast With A Million Eyes may indeed have a pathetic space ship that looks like a coffee percolator, but the film itself is an understated and serious attempt to deal with issues as diverse as individualism, loneliness, guilt, and spirituality. The film doesn’t rely on stock footage, giant bugs, prescient scientists, granite jawed generals, or any of the other cliches of 50s sci fi. Shot in the deserts of California on a meagre budget, it manages to convey the depression and decay that have overcome the small, but nuclear, farm family headed by the excellent Paul Birch. Birch went on to play a similar role in the 1956 ARC production, The Day the World Ended–another film that is remembered primarily for its goofy monsters instead of its interesting story. This film scared me to death when I was 10 years old, and seeing it now reminded me of the primal fears of betrayal and disloyalty that were the obvious triggers of my pre-pubescent psyche. By no means a ‘classic’: simply an outstanding example of low low budget independent filmmaking and intelligent screenwriting.