Double bill of 1950s science fiction B-movies. In 'The Brain from Planet Arous' an evil floating brain intent on world domination takes over the body of a nuclear physicist. Mankind's only hope lies in the form of the scientist's dog, Vol, who plays host to another brain - that of a policeman waiting to make his arrest. In 'Teenage Monster' Charlie is a hirsute adolescent who occasionally emerges from hiding to kill someone, despite his mother's best efforts to keep him in line. His family, having recently become wealthly, are duly blackmailed. Also includes a complete episode from the 1950s TV series 'Tom Corbett - Space Cadet'.
You have to credit the folks who put this double bill together. The Brain from Planet Arous
, a low-budget alien invasion 1958 film, is one of those programmes that lingers in the memory as much for its title and impressively ludicrous giant-staring-transparent-brain monster as for its poverty row dramatics, in which the usually stiff John Agar grins evilly and flashes contact lenses when possessed by the creature and a good guy brain shows up to take over his dog to thwart the renegade cerebrum's plan for world domination.
For this release, Brain is teamed with its original co-feature, a movie so bad you wouldn't buy it on its own but whose presence here is a pleasing extra. Whereas Brain from Planet Arous delivers exactly what its title promises, Teenage Monster is a cheat: rather than feature a mutant 1950s delinquent in a leather jacket, it's a melodramatic Western in which prospector's widow Anne Gwynne keeps her hulking caveman-like son (who seems to be well into middle-age) hidden, only for a scheming waitress to use the goon in her murder schemes. Brain is snappily directed, even when staging disasters well beyond its budget, while Teenage Monster drags and chatters and moans until its flat finale.
On the DVD: The Brain from Planet Arous/Teenage Monster double bill disc is a solid showing for such marginal items, featuring not only the trailers for these attractions but a clutch of other 1950s sci-fi pictures (Phantom from Space, Invaders from Mars, etc.) and a bonus episode ("The Runaway Asteroid") from a studio-bound, live-broadcast juvenile space opera of the early 50s (Tom Corbett, Space Cadet) in which hysterical types in a capsule break off from the space programme to deliver ringing endorsements of gruesome-looking breakfast foods. --Kim Newman