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Fiend Without a Face
Directed by Arthur Crabtree
Produced by John Croydon
Written by Herbert J. Leder
Starring Marshall Thompson
Kynaston Reeves
Michael Balfour
Kim Parker
Music by Buxton Orr
Cinematography Lionel Banes
Editing by R.Q. McNaughton
Distributed by Criterion (Region 1 DVD)
Release date(s) United States 3 July 1958,
United Kingdom December 1958
Running time 77 min.
Country UK
Language English

Fiend Without a Face is a 1958 British black-and-white science fiction film directed by Arthur Crabtree. It tells the story of mysterious deaths at the hands of an invisible monster that steals human brains. The film was based upon an Amelia Reynolds Long short story entitled "The Thought Monster" which was originally published in 1930 in Weird Tales magazine.[1][2]

Contents

Synopsis

The film is set on an American airbase in rural Manitoba, Canada. Mysterious deaths begin to occur in the small town near the base, and postmortems reveal that the victims' brains and spinal cords have disappeared. The locals become convinced that fallout from radiation at the base is causing the deaths. But Jeff Cummings, an air force major, becomes suspicious of Professor Walgate, a British scientist who is experimenting with telekinetics. It is eventually revealed that Walgate has succeeded in developing telekinesis, but that the nuclear experiments at the nearby base have enhanced it beyond his intentions, creating a new, invisible form of life which has grown in intelligence and escaped his laboratory. The creatures later become visible and are revealed to be brain-shaped monsters that suck out the brains of their victims, thereby acquiring their knowledge and intelligence. The film climaxes with an attack on an isolated house by the new life forms. Cummings saves the day by blowing up the airbase's nuclear power plant, thereby destroying the monsters.

Production

The film was shot in England. The Canadian setting was chosen because it enhanced the film's appeal to American audiences, while still being easy to replicate in English locations. The producers used primarily expatriate American and Canadian actors working in the UK, plus a few British actors dubbed by Americans.[1]

Screenwriter Herbert J. Leder was originally intended to direct the film, but as an American was unable to obtain a British work permit. Arthur Crabtree was hired instead.[1]

Cast

  • Marshall Thompson as Major Jeff Cummings
  • Kynaston Reeves as Professor R. E. Walgate
  • Michael Balfour as Sergeant Kasper
  • Kim Parker as Barbara Griselle
  • Terry Kilburn as Captain Al Chester
  • Gil Winfield as Captain Warren, M. D.
  • Shane Cordell as a nurse
  • Stanley Maxted as Colonel G. Butler
  • James Dyrenforth as Mayor Hawkins
  • Kerrigan Prescott as an atomic engineer

References in other media

The Fiend Without a Face appeared as one of the aliens in Area 52 in Looney Tunes: Back in Action.

Futurama's Brainspawn also seem to be inspired by them to a certain extent

The surfabilly side-project band of Brent Hinds (guitarist of Atlanta metal band Mastodon) is named after this film.

This film is also referenced in one strip of Bill Watterson's Calvin and Hobbes. Hobbes asks the subject of Calvin's report. Calvin replies "the brain". Hobbes asks what Calvin knows about brains. Calvin tells him he saw a movie where a guy's brain was kept alive in a tank of water. A power surge mutated the brain, and it crawled out and terrorized the populace. Hobbes says that's informative.

The main character of the 1999 animated film, The Iron Giant, can be seen watching a black & white film that parodies The Fiend Without a Face.

In a short comic in Alan Moore's graphic novel The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen: Black Dossier, one of the monsters appears in an extraterrestrial zoo, along with triffids, among other things.

References

  1. ^ a b c Richard Gordon and Tom Weaver, commentary on the Criterion Collection DVD.
  2. ^ Amelia Reynolds Long http://amelialong.tripod.com/

External links


Fiend Without a Face
Directed by Arthur Crabtree
Produced by John Croydon
Written by Herbert J. Leder
Starring Marshall Thompson
Kynaston Reeves
Michael Balfour
Kim Parker
Music by Buxton Orr
Cinematography Lionel Banes
Editing by R.Q. McNaughton
Distributed by Criterion (Region 1 DVD)
Release date(s) USA 3 July 1958,
UK December 1958
Running time 77 min.
Country UK
Language English

Fiend Without a Face is a 1958 British black-and-white science fiction film directed by Arthur Crabtree. It tells the story of mysterious deaths at the hands of an invisible monster that steals human brains. The film was based upon an Amelia Reynolds Long short story entitled "The Thought Monster" which was originally published in 1930 in Weird Tales magazine.[1][2]

Contents

Synopsis

The film is set on an American airbase in rural Manitoba, Canada. Mysterious deaths begin to occur in the small town near the base, and postmortems reveal that the victims' brains and spinal cords have disappeared. The locals become convinced that fallout from radiation at the base is causing the deaths. But Jeff Cummings, an air force major, becomes suspicious of Professor Walgate, a British scientist who is experimenting with telekinetics. It is eventually revealed that Walgate has succeeded in developing telekinesis, but that the nuclear experiments at the nearby base have enhanced it beyond his intentions, creating a new, invisible form of life which has grown in intelligence and escaped his laboratory. The creatures later become visible and are revealed to be brain-shaped monsters that suck out the brains of their victims, thereby acquiring their knowledge and intelligence. The film climaxes with an attack on an isolated house by the new life forms. Cummings saves the day by blowing up the airbase's nuclear power plant, thereby destroying the monsters.

Cast

  • Marshall Thompson as Major Jeff Cummings
  • Kynaston Reeves as Professor R. E. Walgate
  • Michael Balfour as Sergeant Kasper
  • Kim Parker as Barbara Griselle
  • Terry Kilburn as Captain Al Chester
  • Gil Winfield as Captain Warren, M. D.
  • Shane Cordell as a nurse
  • Stanley Maxted as Colonel G. Butler
  • James Dyrenforth as Mayor Hawkins
  • Kerrigan Prescott as an atomic engineer

Production

The film was shot in England. The Canadian setting was chosen because it enhanced the film's appeal to American audiences, while still being easy to replicate in English locations. The producers used primarily expatriate American and Canadian actors working in the UK, plus a few British actors dubbed by Americans.[1]

Screenwriter Herbert J. Leder was originally intended to direct the film, but as an American was unable to obtain a British work permit. Arthur Crabtree was hired instead.[1]

Remake

Roy Frumkes confirmed on 22 March 2010 to Fangoria to produce with the original producer Richard Gordon his work an the US remake for 2011.[3]

References

  1. ^ a b c Richard Gordon and Tom Weaver, commentary on the Criterion Collection DVD.
  2. ^ Amelia Reynolds Long http://amelialong.tripod.com/
  3. ^ “STREET” cred for “FIEND WITHOUT A FACE” remake

External links








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