Monday, October 29, 2007

Fiend Without a Face

(1958) ***



The description for Fiend Without a Face hailed it as “one of the first films to feature explicit gore”. I didn’t even need to read the rest of the summary as I was already sold.

Soldiers are being mysteriously strangled at a remote military base in Canada. I almost aborted this movie after watching 4 separate men pretend to be strangled by an invisible assailant as I feared another Sound of Horror, one of the lousiest no budget horror movies I’ve had the displeasure of watching in October. But the promise of early explicit gore gave me the strength needed to continue.

All of the evidence seems to point to Professor Walgate, an eccentric scientist who is spearheading an experiment that aims to detach thought from consciousness. The locals take matters into their own hand and assemble an armed militia to destroy the invisible killer while the army guys conduct several unproductive meetings to discuss their bad ideas and concerns. Three quarters of the movie is an excruciating bore.

Then the superb last 15 minutes commence, bumping this rating up a full **. Prof. Walgate admits that he lost control of his experiment. Lightning struck his equipment and the electric shock created mental vampires that feed on brains. Any follow-up questions to that last sentence are pointless. What matters is that we are now able to see the attackers and they take the form of brains with spinal chords and slug-like eyes. These brains crawl, leap around and strangle their victims. An epic battle ensues between the brains and the army and there is much awesomeness.

2 comments:

AC said...

glad your persistence was rewarded!

Octopunk said...

I was entranced by this movie's monsters when they showed up in the clip movie It Came From Hollywood, but it took many years before I found the movie. It is a lot of 50's sci-fi hooey, but those brain monsters make it all worthwhile.