Two great early releases here in the UK from Anglo-Amalgamated Film Distributors. "Phantom" was the support to "Day the World Ended" double feature programme and "Beast" was the top feature in a double bill with the curiosity starring Lex Barker entitled "Mystery of the Black Jungle". Great nostalgia value and really nice prints in the correct ratios. Hard to believe, but back then these two films rated "A" censor certifications which meant that kids could only see "Beast" if accompanied by an adult, and not at all on first release in the case of "Phantom" due to "Day the World Ended" being rated "X" for over sixteens only. Pity no original trailer bonuses but still good value nevertheless and a must for any fan of mid-50's monster shows.
It's all very well trying to forgive production values etc, by proclaiming that the writing has metaphors for the red scare, unity is powerful etc, but when the dialogue is delivered in such amateurish autocue fashion it struggles to impact. Add in to the mix that for the 75 minute run time the film is immeasurably dull, where someone off screen throwing a rubber blackbird at a car or live chickens at Lorna Thayer doesn't count as dramatic thrust, well you got exactly what The Beast with a Million Eyes is, namely an awful film.
Plot finds the isolated Kelley family menaced by animals and their mute handyman when a spaceship lands near their home. Hence that is the million eyes of the title, as in a multitude of creatures of nature acting as surrogate baddies for the one beast in the ship. Which, as it turns out, proves to be a funky puppet we see at the end of the show.
There is undoubtedly good ambition here, but the cold hard fact is that the budget wins the day, you can't make a silk purse out of a sows ear. With bland interiors of the farm house rampant, and stilted camera work operating outside, film rarely appeals visually either. The poster art rocks, mind, and an opening shot of a tree with many eyes grabs the attention, even if it proves to be a false dawn.
Midnite Movies DVD series have paired it with the equally dreadful Phantom from 10,000 Leagues, don't be fooled by those who say either film is a classic of low budget sci-fi, both films are the epitome of awfulness and should be avoided by those who want to keep their sanity in tact. 3/10
The Phantom from 10,000 Leagues (1955)
His body was rigid with radiation burns.
The Phantom from 10,000 Leagues is directed by Dan Milner and written by Dorys Lukather and Lou Rusoff. It stars Kent Taylor, Cathy Downs and Michael Whalen. Music is by Ronald Stein and photography by Brydon Baker.
Plot, for what it's worth, sees an amphibian like creature suddenly start killing any unfortunate human being that strays near its lair. And just what is that glowing thing down there? An absolute hack job attempting to cash in on the success of far better films of its ilk that were all the rage in the 1950s. It's the sort of Z grade film that gives the fans of creaky creature features and sci-fi schlockers a bad name. Right off the bat the makers commit a big error by introducing us to the man in the rubber suit straight away, a hopeless creation that's about as scary as the insipid dialogue that litters the production. Dialogue that's delivered by a cast of wooden actors who bring laughs on account of the fact they seem to be taking their roles seriously!
Milner's direction accounts to being a number of similar scenes strung together at different intervals, with the creature's appearances being as rare as any suspense is. While the 10,000 Leagues aspect is rendered a big joke since the creature is in water that's only about 5 fathoms deep! I wonder if the makers realised that just one league is 3 nautical miles?!
Is it in the "so bad it's good" category? Absolutely not! There's a modicum of science interest involving genetic tests and atomic energy dabblings, but this is lost amongst the laborious pacing as the characters do incredibly dumb things. While somewhat surprisingly Ronald Stein's foreboding music is decent and deserves a better movie. It also has a great title, with awesome poster art to match, but all told it's a major "league" clunker and only makes one cherish even more the likes of Creature from the Black Lagoon and The Beast from 20,000 Fathoms. 2/10
A poor excuse for a horror double feature. The Phantom from 10,000 leagues is just about watchable, but still very poor, and as for the beast with a million eyes, well you would need a million eyes to see it! It just dos,nt appear! I will say again a very very poor double feature!
Two good science fiction films and great in black and white from the start to finish. Phantom From 10,000 Leagues brings trouble under the sea, from the sea creature made the doctor and who gets a baby turtle and makes it larger than life .Not safe to go swimming in the sea. Beast of 1000,000 Eyes is more disastrous on land. A plane lands in a near by field. A powerful magnetic force field changes the animals' personalities,and there is a battle to get rid of the corophony causing misery. Trouble under the sea and trouble on land two good films to suit your mood.