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A scientist's thoughts materialize as an army of invisible brain-shaped monsters (complete with spinal-cord tails!) who terrorize an American military base in this nightmarish chiller, directed by Arthur Crabtree (Horrors of the Black Museum). This outstanding sci-fi/horror hybrid is a special effects bonanza, and a high-water mark in British genre filmmaking.
Fiend Without a Face contains one of the most indelible images to emerge from sci-fi/horror movies of the atomic age: malevolent human brains, creeping like caterpillars on spinal-cord tails, choking the life out of their helpless victims! If that weren't enough to make any genre enthusiast drool with sick delight, the movie's also got an above-average plot (as B-movies go) and made genre history as an international success, independently produced in England, set in Canada, starring an American (Marshall Thompson), with magnificently grotesque special effects created in Germany!
The mystery begins near an American Air Force base in Manitoba, where unexplainable deaths are somehow connected to the base's atomic reactor, which is being used to power an experiment in advanced long-distance radar. Thompson (who later starred in the TV series Daktari) plays Major Cummings, who discovers that the lethal monsters--slurping, unseen "mental vampires"--are actually the horrific byproduct of thought-control experiments conducted by hapless, retired professor (echoes of Forbidden Planet's "monster from the Id"). Once visible, the fiendish brains are everywhere, attacking our heroes from every angle (in a scene that may have inspired Night of the Living Dead), and sputtering puddles of blood when riddled by bullets. This climactic scene--a triumph of latex rubber fiends, eerie sound effects, and stop-motion animation--was a gory breakthrough in 1958, and it's still a worthy precursor to every gross-out monster movie that followed in its trendsetting wake. Beware the faceless fiends! --Jeff Shannon
a must for 1950's sci-fi fans.fiends are real creepy.don't see much of them until last 30 minutes.has kind of a british/canadian touch.Published 14 months ago by steve smith
This movie scared the hell out of me when I was at home one day watching tv by myself as a young boy! Read morePublished on Feb. 20 2003
Fiend Without a Face was made in the 50s when the threat of nuclear war was high and the fear of radio activity peaked. Read morePublished on July 19 2002 by Swederunner
What a trully fantastic little movie this is, a real SPFX shocker in its day, and a great story with some fantastic character acting. Read morePublished on April 24 2001 by mr_inferno
I had never heard of this film and seeing it as an adult mayhave taken away some of the fun of it but I fail to see the fuss orthe reason that Criterion spent their time on this. Read morePublished on April 5 2001 by Phillip O.
What really gets me about Fiend without a Face is the sound. The sound of the titular fiends sucking out the brains and spinal cords of their victims is delightfully disgusting. Read morePublished on March 31 2001 by A. Gammill
This movie caused severe damage to me as a child. I had nightmares for days afterwards; I still have some residual terror because of it. Read morePublished on March 25 2001 by Wil-n-Tally
This starts as a solid little b-movie programmer, with crisp direction, plotting and acting (especially by the fine Marshall Thompson), and ends with one of the most shocking... Read morePublished on March 6 2001 by William Kersten