Lively, entertaining reviews of, and essays on, old and newer films and everything relating to them, written by professional author William Schoell.

Thursday, November 10, 2011


FIEND WITHOUT A FACE (1958). Director: Arthur Crabtree.

In and around a U.S. Air Force base in Manitoba, mysterious things are happening. Strange sloshing sounds are heard and people are suddenly killed by a weird invisible presence. Corpses are found missing their brains and spinal cords. Major Cummings (Marshall Thompson) investigates and comes across an old professor (Kynaston Reeves), and his pretty secretary Barbara (Kim Parker), the former of whom may know more than he realizes about the deaths. This movie may seem to borrow certain concepts from Forbidden Planet, but it was based on a story that pre-dates that great sci fi film. The stop-motion effects to bring the unusual monsters to life at the climax aren't bad at all, although some of the process work is clumsy; the sound effects are great. Kim Parker, who also appeared in Fire Maidens of Outer Space and a few other films, played another secretary in one more film and then was gone from the screen; she is not bad in Fiend. Crabtree also directed the nifty Horrors of the Black Museum. Thompson was "introduced" in Blonde Fever, although it was not his first movie. He did a number of genre items such as First Man into Space. Fiend without a Face takes its place beside The Brain from Planet Arous as a great brain movie. NOTE: You can read more about this movie and others like it in Creature Features: Nature Turned Nasty in the Movies.

Verdict: You can't beat those brains! ***.

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