When near the small village Riverdale, Illinois, a weird cone, 50 feet in
diameter, that might be a spaceship (or some devilry from Russia) is found
& at the same time lifestock & even some people turn up dead, the
government sends two-fisted no-nonsense senator K.Powers (Cornelius Keefe) to
sort things out.
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He & scientist Kettering (Ed Nelson as the young hero) soon
discover the problem is on a lmuch larger scale than they have imagined when
they witness Riverdale's mayor (Orville Sherman) going wild before their eyes
in a manner that he has to be shot dead. Once he is dead though they discover a
parasite (or brain eater) attached to his neck who might have been the
reason for all this. & that's only the beginning, as other brain eaters
seem to have found other hosts & they are slowly traing to take over
Riverdale - & hereafter, the USA (?).
& while Riverdale is slowly taken over, first & foremost all
telecommunication services, cutting the village off from the rest of the
country, Kettering & Powers, supported among others by the mayor's son
Glenn (Alan Frot) - who also narrates the story offscreen -, his wife Elaine
(Jody Fair) & Kettering's girlfriend Alice (Joanna Lee) find Doctor
Hensigman (Saul Bronson), a scientist who has disappeared from the face of the
earth 5 years ago & who was obviously abducted by the beings inside the
cone - which turns out to be not an UFO at all but some kind of drill from the
earth's core, housing beings of the earth's carnivourous age (don't ask)
- & they have come back to re-claim supremacy of the planet.
So our heroes decide to enter the cone to find some answers´... & there
find another scientist who has disappeared 5 years ago, doctor Cole (Leobnard
Nimoy) who has become sort of an emissary of the brain eaters (complete with
toga & white beard), & offers humanity a true utopia ... even if that
utopia involves brainwashing. Of course our heroes decline, & Kettering
won't even flinch when the braineaters abduct his girl Alice.
In the end he devices a plan to electrocute the cone - even if he has to
give his own life in the process - to free the world of the brain eaters.
Though back in the 50's, sci-fi-writer Robert A.Heinlein has sued AIP for
using his novel The Puppet People as a major influence, Brain Eaters
was rather obviously inspired by the 1956 film Invasion of the Body
Snatchers, & it presents essentially the drive-in version of that story
- complete with shoot-outs, fist fights & an explosive (in the sense of the
word) finale. As such, Brain Eaters is pretty enjoyable though, despite some
quite obvious leaps of reason & unconvincing plottwists.
Interestingly, Leonard Nimoy, who played Cole the emissary here, played a role
in the 1978-remake of Invasion of the Body Snatchers that is in some
ways pretty similar to the one he played here (though without beard & toga).