“I expected to be scared on my wedding night, but nothing like this!”
Some bad movies are forgivable. Ed Wood had no idea how bad he was at everything, and no one around him spoke up. But he got his movies made and for all their flaws, are loved and celebrated.
Some bad movies are unforgivable. The men like Jerry Warren, who cheaped out on everything and thought a good poster and title made a movie, these are the men who don’t care.
So what to make of director Larry Buchanan? Despite the SOL claiming, ‘he just didn’t care’, I think Larry actually falls into the first group. He had so many cards dealt against him and he still managed to (so the legend goes) never lose a cent on a movie. AIP, trying to movie into the television market, signed Buchanan to direct what we’d now call ‘straight to video’ movies. Attack of the the Eye Creatures is one of those TV remakes.
Consider: half the budget went to leading man John Ashley. The rest of the cast was made up of people from the Dallas area where Buchanan made most of the remakes. No money, no talent, and a deadline of now. In that light, The Eye Creatures is actually kind of a success. The odds were against him, and Larry Buchanan got the movie made. And, according to John Ashley, kept it professional. The making of this movie would be so much more interesting than the actual movie.
Now I’m not saying, given the chance, he would have made Citizen Kane. There are some grievous technical errors that I like to think I would have noticed if I was making the movie. And his ‘plug on through’ attitude does show a lack of creativity which should be a part of any filmmaker’s soul. Larry Buchanan did care, his talents were just limited.
Missed riffatunities: Zontar, The Thing from Venus, Mars Needs Women (when Tommy Kirk says it is the worst movie ever, that’s saying something. Plus, Yvonne Craig.), and In the Year 2889. Any of these could have made good episodes.
Watchablity: 3 of 5. Too many creepy guys. Dialogue that would have been campy at the time of making it. And yes, all the technical flaws. This is in many ways a perfect BLC movie: All of the bad, and enough sympathy for the director’s struggles we can prevail with him. Buchanan knew he was making a bad movie, but it was the movie his bosses wanted. This could be a good ‘gateway’ film, if you are wanting to get someone interested in BLC movies.
Missing the riffs: 4 of 5. The flaws are so out there, so clear and easy to see, you may miss a favorite line or two, but overall, you don’t need the SOL. The riffatunities are plentiful.