Fiend Without a Face (1958) starring Marshall Thompson, Kynaston Reeves, Kim Parker
In Fiend Without a Face, a scientist’s atomic-powered thoughts materialize as deadly flying brains with trailing spinal cords. No, seriously!
Fiend Without a Face is actually a very good 1950’s sci-fi horror film. Until the final 20 minutes, at least. The basic story deals with a military radar installation in the Canadian wilderness, where something is happening. Someone or something is killing civilians. Even more weirdly, the brains and spinal cords are missing from the corpses. The only clue left behind are two puncture marks at the base of each skull. This mysterious thing is invisible — we actually see a couple of the victims being choked to death onscreen — and the audience can’t see who, or what, is doing it.
At the same time, at the military radar base, something is stealing energy from their nuclear reactor. And if that’s not enough, the local townspeople are up in arms, and accuse the military of somehow being behind the strange deaths. So, they send out the handsome Major Cummings to investigate.
The major becomes suspicious of a retired British scientist living near the airbase. He’s in the process of writing another book about his ongoing experiments with telekinesis, and thought projection. To say more would frankly spoil the movie. Except …
You can see for yourself on the cover what the “fiends” look like. And onscreen, it’s just stop motion silliness. It literally turns a serious movie into a comedy — unintentionally.
Considered one of the goriest horror films to come out of the 1950s, Arthur Crabtree’s sci-fi/horror film now has cult status. A long-range radar installation and its surrounding Canadian wilderness becomes the host to something deadly. At first, when military personnel and civilians are struck down, the leaders suspect murder. But the autopsies reveal that each victim has had its spinal fluids sucked dry through a hole in the skull. Eventually the finger of guilt points to Professor Walgate, who has been experimenting with human thoughts, the results of which are invisible brain monsters. When a massive dose of radiation reveals the monsters, a gory showdown ensues.
- Marshall Thompson (It! The Terror from Beyond Space) … Maj. Cummings. Our male protagonist, investigating the murders, as well as the theft of nuclear power.
- Kynaston Reeves … Prof. R.E. Walgate. The retired, brilliant scientist. His experiments in thought projection and telepathy inadvertently triggers the entire problem.
- Kim Parker (Fire Maidens of Outer Space) … Barbara Griselle. The professor’s lovely secretary. She’s the young lady clad in a towel on the cover, when the major accidentally walks in on her!
- Stanley Maxted … Col. Butler
- Terry Kilburn (Goodbye Mr. Chips) … Capt. Al Chester
- James Dyrenforth … Mayor
- Robert MacKenzie … Const. Gibbons
- Peter Madden … Dr. Bradley
- Gil Winfield … Dr. Warren
- Michael Balfour … Sgt. Kasper
- Launce Maraschal … Melville
- Meadows White … Ben Adams
- E. Kerrigan Prescott … Atomic Engineer
- Lala Lloyd … Amelia Adams
- Shane Cordell … Nurse