Movies I’d Like to See II – The Remake

The Brain from Planet Arous (1957) is widely regarded as one of the worst movies of all time – with good reason. The acting is terrible, the special effects are about as un-special as can be, and there are so many idiotic things in the script that the viewer is frequently left gobsmacked at the stupidity on display. The crap is partially balanced out by good camera work and a proper use of decent stock footage. It’s mostly the glaring disconnect between the acceptable and outrageously bad that makes the movie a favorite among B-movie buffs.

The plot is decent enough. Two scientists, nuclear physicist Steve March (John Agar) and Dan Murphy (Robert Fuller) head off into the mountains near Steve’s home to investigate a meteor that crashed there the night before. Turns out it was an alien spacecraft, piloted by an energy being of some sort called Gor. Gor takes over Steve’s mind, and kills Dan. Luckily for Gor, Steve is part of a government weapons research program, so Gor figures he’ll take advantage of this knowledge and position to take over the world.

Steve’s fiancee, Sally Fallon (Joyce Meadows), notes that Steve has been acting strangely since he got back from the mountains – and whatever happened to Dan, anyway? She and her father (Thomas Browne Henry) hike off into the mountains to investigate. There, they find Dan’s body – and Vol, another alien who has been hot on the trail of Gor to bring him back to Arous to face the music for certain unspecified crimes. Will they be able to collar the criminal before he can make good on his nefarious plans?

So, is it possible to fix this?

Personally, I think there’s enough in there for some thought-provoking discussion. Have any of these supervillains who want to take over the world ever thought of what they’d do once they got it? Absolute Total Control Over Everything means not only directing the masses of humanity to build your giant palace, but also making sure that the Department of Motor Vehicles in Minot ND has enough paper in the printer. And then there’s dealing with all the many squabbles of humanity…..

“Supreme Leader, here’s your schedule for today. At ten, you’re meeting with a delegation from Israel asking for your decision on their settlements in the West Bank. At eleven, you’re going to the school Science Fair; this is, as you undoubtedly recall, part of your program to encourage the STEM fields so you’ll have more engineers to work on your many projects. Your lunch meeting is with a delegation from the OAS; they don’t seem to want anything other then the chance to be seen with you and have some photographs taken. At one, a delegation from the Palestinian Authority will be here asking about your decision on Israel’s settlements in the West Bank…..”

Should the Supreme Leader decide to delegate some of their authority, then that authority is no longer absolute. If it’s a supercomputer that can manage the affairs of well over seven billion units in complete detail, surely a properly rational computer will understand that humans need to eat and rest every now and then.

There’s never even any attempt at negotiating with the prospective overlord. “Okay, so you want to rule the world. To what end? What’s in it for us? Will you settle all these many issues that have been giving us grief for decades? Make your case, and we might even agree!” I also note that these wannabe dictators always show up in the US. Who are we to speak for the rest of the world? What if there are countries that are used to dictators and figure the new one would be a step up? By the way, I note that Gor of Arous’ only stated ultimatum is that he wants to meet with a delegation of leaders from the world’s nations….

So, here’s my take on a remake.

First, there’s no need for Sally’s father to come into it. Keep Dan around. Instead of killing him, just knock him out or keep him out of the cave where Gor is. Sally can be Steve’s wife, or they can just be living together in an unspecified relationship. Follow the plot of the original reasonably closely. Gor-controlled Steve shows some marked personality changes (some of which please Sally, who is happy to see the new, more interesting and exciting Steve – Gor is unused to sensory pleasures, and is being more daring as he tries them out), but they soon both realize Something Is Up – especially when Steve starts talking about a plan for world domination. They go back to the cave and discover not only Gor’s craft, but meet up with Vol who explains the situation. Meanwhile, Gor/Steve is demonstrating his powers at a weapons test and issuing his “ultimatum”. Can Dan, Sally, and Vol stop Gor?

Along the way, have some arguments. Steve, when Gor is leaving him alone, notes that Gor wants to get off the planet as fast as he can. Helping him would mean decades of scientific and technological advancement in the space of a few years. Dan is adamantly opposed to the idea of enslaving the human race. Sally, who as mentioned likes the New Improved Steve, is afraid that taking care of Gor will mean Steve’s death. So she argues for a more moderate course.

I think there are some definite possibilities in there.

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