The Brain Eaters


60m 1958

Brief Synopsis

Strange things are happening in Riverdale, Illinois. A huge, seemingly alien structure has been found jutting out of the earth. Sent to investigate the origin of the mysterious object, Senator Walter Powers discovers that parasites from the center of the earth have infiltrated the town, taking control of the authorities and workers, making communication with the outside world impossible, and leaving the responsibility of stopping the invasion up to Powers and a small group of free individuals.

Film Details

Also Known As
Battle of the Brain Eaters, The Keepers
Release Date
Nov 1958
Premiere Information
not available
Production Company
Corinthian Productions
Distribution Company
American International Pictures
Country
United States

Technical Specs

Duration
60m
Sound
Mono
Color
Black and White

Synopsis

Driving home to Riverdale, Illinois, Glenn Cameron and his fiancée Elaine are startled by an odd flash of lightning and stop their car to investigate. After finding the mutilated bodies of several animals, the couple stumble on a towering cylindrical object with a small circular opening and report their discovery to the authorities. Two days later in Washington, D.C., a UFO committee, headed by Senator Walter K. Powers, convenes to watch a film of the strange cone-like object in Riverdale, which is being investigated by research scientist Dr. Paul Kettering. Powers, convinced that the situation is a hoax, determines to uncover the truth and departs for Illinois with his aide, Dan Walker. Upon arriving in Riverdale, Powers learns from Glenn that his father, the mayor, has been missing for several days and that there have been three more unexplained deaths. Glenn takes Powers to the cone, where Paul, his assistant, Alice Sommers, and fellow researcher Dr. Wyler continue their examination of the cone. Powers is annoyed to learn that no one has gone inside the cone and under pressure from Powers, Paul agrees to investigate. Emerging hours later, Paul reveals that the cone is full of spiraled tunnels that appear to lead nowhere. Glenn learns that his father has returned, and at city hall the group finds Mayor Cameron, confused and unable to clarify his whereabouts for the last few days. When Paul notices Cameron has a strange object on the back of his neck, the mayor pulls a gun and threatens everyone. The sheriff wounds Cameron, who stumbles out into the hall only to be shot by a police officer. Paul and a surgeon conduct an autopsy on Cameron and learn that the black mound on his neck was attached through his brain to his nervous system, filling it with a corrosive acid that would eventually have killed him. Later that night, the sheriff is attacked by two zombie-like men who attach a black mound to his neck. In the laboratory, Paul dissects the mound removed from Cameron and realizes it is a parasite. Later, Paul and Alice conclude that since the attacks by the parasites have gone from animals to humans, specifically to those in authority, the creatures are intelligent. Back at the cone, Wyler reveals his theory that the cone may be part of a larger ship that has, like a fuel section, fallen off and is of no use. Glenn suggests everyone split up to search the area for any other part of the cone. Paul and Alice find the dead body of a power company man with two puncture wounds in his neck, while Glenn and Elaine fight off two zombie-like strangers. Meeting back at the mayor's office, the group finds an empty jar in Cameron's desk and Paul deduces that the parasites are carried to their human victims by infected hosts. Powers sends a telegram to the governor requesting military aid to close off the town, but the operator, controlled by a parasite, does not send the message. Later that night, the sheriff and the two infected men take a parasite to Alice's home and infect her. Wyler urgently summons Paul to return to the cone, but when Paul finds Alice missing from her home, he realizes that she has been taken over by the parasites. At the cone, Wyler stuns the others with his discovery of a man with puncture marks in his neck, near death, who crawled out from the cone. Paul recognizes the man as a scientist who disappeared years earlier. At the hospital, the scientist reveals that the parasites are not from space, but rather from the Earth's interior. Powers and Walker go to the radio station to broadcast a warning about the parasites, while Paul and Glenn, concerned about receiving no response from the governor, go to the telegraph office, where they are attacked by the operator and his assistant. Certain that the key to the parasites lies in the cone, Paul returns there with Glenn, Elaine and Wyler. The guards, taken over by the parasites, attempt to stop Paul from going inside, and are killed. Powers arrives after the failed radio broadcast and learns that Paul and Glenn are inside the cone. After clambering through the various tunnels, the men find themselves far beneath the ground, and discover several glass tubes filled with parasites and an old man whom Paul recognizes as missing scientist Dr. Kohl. Kohl reveals that the parasites have existed for thousands of centuries and need mankind to convey them to the outside world, where they will bring peace and tranquility. The sheriff, having followed Paul and Glenn inside, attempts to attack them, and in the ensuing shootout, several glass tubes are shattered, releasing the parasites. Paul and Glenn flee outside where Paul declares they must destroy the cone by utilizing nearby power lines and the cables from a nearby abandoned power truck. As Paul and Glenn string the cables around the cone, Alice appears on the cone scaffolding and beseeches Paul to help the parasites. When he refuses, she shoots him. Wounded, Paul calls for Glenn to set off the electrical circuit, which when completed kills Paul and Alice, and destroys the parasites and the cone. Relieved, Glenn and Elaine plan to return to town to clean up those still infected.

Film Details

Also Known As
Battle of the Brain Eaters, The Keepers
Release Date
Nov 1958
Premiere Information
not available
Production Company
Corinthian Productions
Distribution Company
American International Pictures
Country
United States

Technical Specs

Duration
60m
Sound
Mono
Color
Black and White

Quotes

Trivia

The producers of this movie were sued by Robert A. Heinlein, who claimed the plot stole several elements of his novel, "The Puppet Masters." The suit was settled out of court.

Notes

Working titles of this film were Battle of the Brain Eaters and The Keepers. According to a January 1960 Variety news item, science fiction author Robert A. Heinlein sued American International Pictures for $150,000 in damages, claiming that The Brain Eaters "copied, imitated and appropriated" his serialized novel The Puppet Masters (which was later filmed in 1994). The outcome of the suit has not been determined. Leonard Nimoy's surname was misspelled "Nemoy" in the onscreen credits.

Miscellaneous Notes

Released in United States 1990

Released in United States Fall September 1958

Shown at Film Forum (They Came From the Arkoff Archives) in New York City October 26 - November 15, 1990.

Released in United States 1990 (Shown at Film Forum (They Came From the Arkoff Archives) in New York City October 26 - November 15, 1990.)

Released in United States Fall September 1958