The Brain from Planet Arous Blu-ray Review: It’s Kind of Fun

The wait is finally over!  The Brain from Plant Arous has been released!  Yes, on June 21st Film Detective released the Special Edition Blu-ray of this science fiction classic from 1957, and things will never be the same!  Well, nothing is really going to change other than you could feasibly have $19.99 less to spend on gas if you pick up this gem.  Now, the fact that is has a runtime of only 71 minutes may dissuade you from making the purchase.  Don’t let it!  I assure you it will seem longer.

Small town nuclear scientist Steve March (John Agar) and his coworker Dan Murphy (Robert Fuller) are picking up radiation readings from Mystery Mountain and decide to go check it out.  Now, I’m no coward, nor am I some kind of rocket surgeon, but I ain’t gonna check out squat at a place that somehow got the name Mystery Mountain.  Come on, Steve!  Have you ever seen a science fiction B-movie!?  This is not going to go well.  Sure enough, Steve gets possessed by an evil brain from, well, you can probably figure that out.  Spoiler alert:  Dan is toast.

Gor, the evil brain inside Steve, is planning to take over the world, but not before the new urges he is feeling are explored with Steve’s girlfriend, Sally (Joyce Meadows, no, that’s not the lady from The Honeymooners).  Gosh, Steve sure is acting differently thinks Sally.  She, her dad, and the local sheriff all detect different behavior.  Luckily, before things get too out of hand, a good brain from Arous shows up to help Sally and all of us humans.  Val (because when you’ve evolved into a giant floating brain with eyes, you only need three letters for a name), who has powers greater than Gor, decides, rather than just kick a little cranium contents, to instruct Sally how to defeat Gor with an ax. Val then inhabits Sally’s dog and watches the action play out.  Great plan, Val!  That’s really using your…you!

In an ending that plays out like producer Jacques R. Marquette ran out of money and needed to wrap up this brain burner in the most economical fashion possible, Gor gets axed, as do the visible strings keeping him afloat, and Val drifts back to Arous.

No, this is not the worst movie ever made.  As a matter if fact, for a 1950s B sci-fi flick, it’s kind of fun. Despite the horrible decisions to have giant floating brains with eyes serve as our antagonist and protagonist, there are some decent special effects and some over the top performances that show our thespians trying to do the best they can with what they have.  The direction by Nathan Juran is efficient and the good versus evil story has enough interesting dynamics to keep the audience interested.

The special edition includes a full commentary track by historians Tom Weaver, David Schecter, Larry Blamire, and Planet Arous star, Joyce Meadows.  I’m not saying that you should watch the movie twice, but it is only 71 minutes, and the commentary is extremely informative and entertaining.  There is an introduction by Joyce Meadows that is pleasant, but a little too much of a commercial for the product.  Two featurettes on Juran are a bit much.  We need more information about the movie and less about the director.  The Full Color Booklet with an original essay by Tom Weaver is good and leaves you wanting to know more.  Both widescreen (1.85) and full screen look great.

The Brain from Planet Arous garners Ron’s Recommendation.  Laugh at the floating brains with eyes and the camp that abounds, and make sarcastic comments to your friends while eating some popcorn.  This is ’50s sci fi schlock at its best and worst.

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