Strained vision: Attack of the Eye Creatures (1965)
Eye Creatures? Seriously? Attack of the The Eye Creatures is 100% sci-fi schlock. Is it worth seeing? Is it scary? Did they care?
Eye Creatures are not totally unique. Their plight is almost forgivable. A lot of aliens want to attack the United States, and who can blame them? As we learned in Independence Day, aliens just hate the human race. In fact, even kinder, gentler aliens like E.T. or Alf at least have reasons to potentially despise us.
On top of that, they’re also not unique in being ultra-cheesy looking and shockingly ineffective in their mission. See, that’s how a lot of these sci-fi movies work. Aliens show up, try to look tough for a bit, get exposed as being laughably weak, then get sent home packing.
The Eye Creatures excel in that regard. After watching this film, you’ll wonder how these creatures can do anything without killing themselves. In addition to moving slower than sap-encrusted, semi-frozen molasses, they get killed by car headlights. That’s right: Car headlights.
Hit them with high beams and they pretty much burst into flame! Scary, right? Don’t they send shivers up your spine?
Also, if they ever do a remake, they should try to use a certain song by The Wallflowers. Normally, I might not provide such a big spoiler, but I fear this won’t really spoil much. In fact, I’m probably doing you a favor by providing that detail, because it lets you know what sort of movie this is. Then again, you’ll get the idea by the opening title card, which reads, “Attack of the The Eye Creatures.”
Of course, there’s a chance you’ve seen these creatures on Mystery Science Theater 3000, where Crow T. Robot noted:
“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.”
Crow also pointed out that one of the Eye Creatures is wearing “Jack Purcell athletic shoes.” Even without their added commentary, you can see that, yes, some of the creatures are wearing sweaters and other human clothes (if I remember correctly, at least one is wearing a wristwatch).
Also, their skin apparently comes conveniently equipped with a zipper! It brings up interesting questions: Did they at some point steal clothing from people or do they sew and stitch together clothes for themselves? Can they unzip their skin if necessary? Also, how do they build their UFOs?
I struggle to imagine these dim-witted creatures successfully manning space missions. Still, they manage it somehow, and maybe I shouldn’t question or judge.
Like many sci-fi movies, Attack of the The Eye Creatures features teenagers parked in the woods to make out. Creepily, the U.S. Air Force is watching over them regularly (your tax dollars at work, people!). In particular is this creepy peeper named Culver (Bob Cowan), who makes a bunch of related comments about how he loves his job.
While it could be seen as mocking the characters or criticizing the surveillance state, it’s also just a question of opportunity. These people at “make-out point” never seem to learn that necking in public will get you noticed by perverts, by police, by perverted police and miscellaneous Air Force personnel. In other words, Attack of the The Eye Creatures potentially offers a valuable lesson: You probably shouldn’t get too hot and heavy in public.
Not only will you attract the attention of perverts, but you’re inviting alien attackers as well. I was halfway expecting aliens to knock on a car window and say, “Hey, why don’t you get a room somewhere?”
On top of that, you’ll attract the attention of ornery old coots like Old Man Bailey (Charles McLine), who has a gun and isn’t afraid to use it. He complains about “Another carload of those blasted smoochers on my property!”
Basically, if you’re a character in an old sci-fi movie and you have the word “Old Man” attached to your name, you’re probably a grumpy old cuss with a shotgun somewhere. You wouldn’t know fun if it walked up and kneed you in the groin — which is what this movie may feel like to some.
MST3K noted that the makers of Attack of the The Eye Creatures just didn’t care, which is likely true. Larry Buchanan isn’t an ultra-serious name in film for a reason, even if he has a cult following. This movie at least borders on being fun, though it’s not the best of the cheesier sci-fi flicks.
In fact, the best Eye Creatures quote is probably from the character Susan (Cynthia Hull), who notes: “Opening strange doors isn’t a thing for a good clean-living American girl to do!” It’s not exactly that funny or memorable, but cute nonetheless.
Interestingly, the film’s biggest star, John Ashley, was a narrator and co-executive producer for TV’s The A-Team, and, most impressively, an associate producer for the film Apocalypse Now. Cynthia Hull appeared on numerous TV shows including The Andy Griffith Show, Hawaii Five-O and The Flying Nun (yes, that really was a show, and people watched it). Finally, arguably Larry Buchanan’s best-known (and best overall) horror film is It’s Alive!, about a baby who isn’t exactly a bundle of joy.
What are your thoughts on Attack of the The Eye Creatures? Let us know in the comments!