Director: Arthur Crabtree
British science fiction films only flourished for a brief period of time, and British sci-fi / horror was on the scene for even less. As a result, a classic like Fiend Without a Face shines even brighter in the back catalog of genre cinema. Sincere, unexpected, and unprecedentedly grisly, Fiend Without a Face is the best of the evil brain films, and appropriately enshrined in the Criterion Collection.
A joint American / Canadian military operation is experimenting with atomic radiation to create an enhanced radar system for detecting missile attacks and keeping tabs on the Soviets. It's 1958, and the world is in the grips of the Cold War. Fear is in the air; even the town's people are distrustful of the military and blame problems with their cattle on the secret experiments going on behind closed doors and 30000-50000 feet in the air. But soon people start to die and their autopsies reveal that their brains and spinal cords are completely missing. Is this the horrible side effect of negligent military experiments?
|I told you that cellphones cause tumors!|
Rating: 4 / 5 Mental Vampires
IS IT SHOCKING?
|This is your fiend. This is your fiend on drugs.|
Its only moment of silliness occurs when a partial-victim of the fiends resurfaces with brain damage and making the most ridiculously mentally-challenged noises.
|Huurrrr. Derp derp derp.|
After all these years, Fiend Without a Face still manages to offer some shocking ideas and disturbing visuals, but it's also a well-acted, solidly-produced, and well-conceived film. The stop-motion creature effects are rough at times, but for the era they are excellent. Sometimes, they almost reach the levels of fluidity and immersion seen in the work of Ray Harryhausen. All together, Fiend Without a Face is a solid fusion of science-fiction, horror, and social subtext. It's not the power of the atom or alien invaders we need to fear but, instead, the evil things that come from within our own minds.