Scientist Steve March (John Agar) and his friend leave their families for a few days to explore a nearby mountain range, including several caverns in the area, where strange events supposedly happened. It only takes a few moments before Steve and his friend are attacked by a giant, floating, phantasmal brain from another planet! The brain is called Gor and he possesses Steve and kills the other man. Gor controls Steve now, and is directing him to gain control over the entire planet, using his awesome mental powers to manipulate the world governments, all while maniacally laughing in the background. Another alien ghost brain shows up, this one named Val, who reveals to Steve’s girlfriend Sally (Joyce Meadows) that Gor is an escaped criminal genius from the planet Arous and Val is here to recapture him. And Val has a plan…
One of those loopy, crazy sci-fi/horror flicks of the 1950s, Brain From the Planet Arous was one that I somehow kept missing. I remember seeing pictures of the floating ghost brains in my monster books from early childhood, and I remembered how much they scared me, but I never got around to actually watching the damned movie. So I finally did, and it was highly enjoyable. Yeah, these movies are goofy, to say the least, and you can’t take most of them too seriously. The plots are harebrained and the acting is often awful, but the best of them can still entertain, and this one certainly does. It’s in the little moments that movies like this win, like the scene where Val the floating alien brain tells Sally and a friend that he will return the following night to visit them and reveal his plan to defeat Gor. Sally and pal don’t blink an eye, they simply accept this all as perfectly normal, and the next night get all gussied-up in a nice dress for her and a suit and tie for the guy for their meeting with this floating alien brain! They want to be polite, after all! The movie is full of good stuff like this. Oh, and the evil brain is still pretty scary, to be honest, until the end, when Gor takes physical form, then he looks like a Styrofoam blob held up by wires.
All in all, this was a fun walk into naïve times that don’t exist anymore: Cold War politics, simple plots, simple characters, and wild action. Agar steals the show because he’s really good, and he’s sometimes effectively chilling as he portrays the tortured scientist possessed by a superior alien intelligence. This movie is as much a possession flick as it is an alien invasion one, and it succeeds within that subgenre more than you would think. In any case, this one is streaming free on a lot of platforms, so if you want to sit down and have some good, clean fun for an hour, and yet still get a chill or two running up your spine, this is a good place to go.