THE EYE CREATURES (1965)
Article #161 by Dave Sindelar
Viewing date: 8-24-2001
Posting date: 1-7-2002
Military personnel and teens encounter aliens from outer space in Lover’s Lane.
If you’ve seen INVASION OF THE SAUCER MEN, you’ve seen this one, and you’ve seen a much better version, too. This is one of several films directed by Larry Buchanan that came about as a result of AIP sending several of their old scripts to him and telling him to make cheap color versions of them for TV distribution. I originally saw them on my local Creature Feature, and if you aren’t prepared ahead of time for what’s coming, the amount of deja vu you get from watching them is incredible; you don’t necessarily recognize them as remakes immediately, but the realization that you’ve seen them before sneaks up on you. The original SAUCER MEN was a comedy, and plays like one; it’s still a comedy in the remake, but it’s so flabbily directed for the most part that it’s hard to tell. In fact, the big comic scenes in the movie are ones that didn’t appear in SAUCER MEN, and those are the scenes involving military personnel spying on kids making out at Lover’s Lane; I don’t know if these scenes were in the original scripts for SAUCER MEN, but if they were, they were left out of the finished product for a reason.
So how bad is it? Watching it again was interesting; there’ll be a moment here or there that actually doesn’t seem all that bad, and you start thinking that maybe Buchanan had some talent, but then you’ll see a hopeless muddle of scenes that show either gross incompetence or gross carelessness, and you suspect the good scene was a fluke. The costumes are ugly and incomplete, the sets dull, the day-for-night photography obvious and the acting inconsistent. One of my favorite quotes about Larry Buchanan (and I wish I could remember where I read this) stated that he probably gave AIP what it wanted when they requested these movies; he sent them exposed film. From the looks of it, he didn’t do much more than that.
One interesting experiment to try is to watch both this and SAUCER MEN in fairly close proximity; it’s a chance to see two different versions of the same script. SAUCER MEN isn’t a great movie in and of itself, but it does give you an appreciation of how simple competence and decent editing can make a world of difference.