4.5 stars for acting story and atmosphere.
-1.5 for mostly poor special effects.
"His head it was torn off"
This line scared the heck out of me as a kid - along with a number of decapataions and idea of an eye monster. I could not sleep alone for weeks. Seeing it now - what is scarey about this film is not the creatures - but more everything that leads up to them.
A very good mysterious plot - spooky, and atmospheric - good acting and an actress, Janet Monroe - who with a bad haircut, worse teeth, funny eyes and a crooked mouth is also very cute in a wholesome sister-ish sort of way. She is very believable and projects all her fears onto the viewer.
I took the eye monsters as realistic and a total terror as a kid. Especially - their exelerated hyper breathing along with a little bell that sounds when they are up to their evil tricks.
Up close the eye creatures are menacing, large, and gross.
But from a distance the monsters look more like marshmellows with pipe cleaner legs. - Infact most of the minitures are shoddy, cheap and not at all believable. Utlra low flying aircraft is slung through the air on strings and the paper cut out people are obvious. A roaring fire appears more like someone burning a cigerette package.
That said - TCE is still a good, fun movie.
TCE will probably entertain and even scare kids. While many adults will enjoy TCE for the atmosphere story they will also cringe when they see the terrible special effects.