Archive for the Bruno VeSota Category

THE BRAIN EATERS/1958

Posted in AIP, American Horror, Bruno VeSota, Ed Nelson, Leonard Nimoy, Science Fiction-Fantasy on June 29, 2011 by Bill Courtney

THE BRAIN EATERS

1958/Director: Bruno VeSota/ Writer: Gordon Urquhart

Cast: Ed Nelson (also producer), Leonard Nimoy, Alan Frost, Joanna Lee, Jody Fair, David Hughes, Robert Ball, Greigh Phillips, Orville Sherman   

This not a film to write home about in any sense of the word, but at a mere sixty minutes and featuring an early performance by Leonard Nimoy (billed as Leonard Nemoy) it is not a total waste of time. Produced by and starring Ed Nelson and directed by Bruno VeSota (the sexually frustrated fat guy in Attack of the Giant Leeches) and so based on The Puppet Master by Robert A. Heinlein  that AIP was sued. Roger Corman settled the deal out of court for $5000 and the promise that Heinlein receive no credit for “inspiring” Gordon Urqhart’s lifeless screenplay. But as I said, the film is not really that bad that it cannot be seen and enjoyed.

The story moves along and is aided by often campy and unnecessary narration. For example in one scene we are told that the heros are visiting the local telegraph station, but there is not need to inform us of this since we can see with own two eyes that they are doing this. But it adds for some laughs, though I assume unintended ones. The residents of peaceful Riverdale Illinois have recently been plagued by violent murders and now must contend with the appearance a huge alien craft that has either come from space or the bowels of the Earth. The mystery is compounded when a scientist believed long lost reappears from the craft after some fifty years. Some of the town’s folk have fallen prey to small parasitic organisms that look like little “tribles” (as in Star Trek) with pipe cleaners for antennae that attach to the base of their necks and control their thoughts and actions. Scientist Paul Kettering (Ed Nelsen) is hot on the mystery and even journeys into the alien craft seeking answers, with are not forthcoming. A lot of the action winds up being fist fights or gun battles between the infected and uninfected, or verbal sparring between everyone and the cantankerous Senator Powers (Cornelius Keefe, billed as Jack Hill and so it is not director Jack Hill in an early acting role as is often thought). On a return trip inside the ship Kettering finds another long lost scientist, Professor Cole under total control of the alien creatures and  who is played by Leonard Nimoy, but you would not know if not for the voice. The action ends with high voltage wires frying the little brain eaters to death and the hero dying to save the girl.
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The movie has potential with the material but does not do too much with it. What have been better is if the people under the control of the creatures were not so apparent. Some act like zombies practically. It would have had more tension had the cast and audience not known who was and was not  infected, like in Invasion of the Body Snatchers or The Thing. I would also say a little more violence would have helped, as well as more frightening creatures. To the film’s credit it does not go over board with scientific explanations and long dialogs as is typical of a lot of films of the period. The movie takes itself seriously and the laughs are unintentional, which can make for a good time. The movie poster is one of my favorites, but here is nothing in the entire film like it. There is no woman with vampire fangs and exposed brain, or hordes people fleeing some monster. In fact the monsters are little fuzz balls that a horde of fleeing people would squash. Can I recommend the film? Sure. It is required cult film viewing in fact, and as I said it is only about an hour in length, about the same time you would spend at the dentist’s getting a cleaning.

ATTACK OF THE GIANT LEECHES /1959/YVETTE VICKERS

Posted in American Horror, Bruno VeSota, Camp-Cheese, Yvette Vickers on May 19, 2011 by Bill Courtney
ATTACK OF THE GIANT LEECHES
1959/Director: Bernard L. Kowalski/ Writer: Leo Gordon
Cast: Ken Clark, Yvette Vickers, Jan Shepard,  Michael Emmet, Tyler McVey, Bruno VeSota   
Sure there are a lot of problems with this movie. The lighting is dark and the sound quality is poor. The plot has more holes than the leeches have suction cups on their octopus type arms. The acting is pretty bad and the dialog is as campy as it comes. But I really enjoyed this thing for the most part and since it clocks in at about an hour it is not the worst way to waste sixty minutes of your life unless you’re doing cancer research. Getting with the mood of the day the giant leech creatures are more than likely radioactive mutations caused by the rocket launches at nearby Cape Canaveral and they are soon sucking blood from the local moonshine swilling swamp hillbillys. The creatures look like giant plastic garbage bags really and you can plainly see the actors inside moving about. There are a few grisly close-up scenes of the beasts feeding on redneck blood and the scenes of captive hicks inside the underwater cave are pretty good really.
The basic plot centers on the conflict between beefcake game warden Steven Benton (Ken Clarke) slowly coming to the realization, after the locals keep disappearing, that some sort of creature is living in the swamps. Creatures he refuses use dynamite on because that might kill a few fish. Of the opposing view is local Dr. Greyson is ready to blow the blood suckers sky high but first he and Benton must have a series of heated arguments that wear out the pro and cons of using dynamite to kill the beasts and of course at the end of the film they use dynamite to finally kill them). Benton and the doc’s daughter Nan (Jan Shepard) have one of those classic old horror film relationships where they act like they can¡’t agree on anything but it is obvious they are smoking hot for each other and all the bickering is simply so much horror couple foreplay.

More interesting is the relationship between local tub of lard cuckold Dave Walker, played by sometimes director (The Brain Eaters) Bruno VeSota, and his slutty, ball busting wife Liz (Playmate Yvette Vickers). This poor guy is so whipped and humiliated by this tramp you sort of feel sorry for him but not too much. She is just too hot for this guy and there is a really spicy scene of him watching her change clothes. He gets his revenge later when he is wandering around in the swamp when he was supposed to be making grocery deliveries and finds her with the local tomcat. For punishment he makes them walk out into the swamp water to get all wet I guess (???) where they are pulled under by the giant leeches and taken into an underwater cave. The leeches suck blood out of them as needed and poor Liz gets pretty much drained dry before the monster are finally blown up after hardheaded hunk Benton decides a few dead minnows and turtles is a worthy exchange for killing the man sized blood sucking radio active leeches. It is sold as a DVD double with The Wasp Woman, which is a better film really but Attack of the Giant Leeches has it B-Movie moments and is recommended for cheese lovers. Included here is the Playboy gatefold for July 1959 with the lovely Miss Vickers playing some records. Lucky leeches.
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Yvette Vickers  1928 – 2010