Proto-glop “Fiend”

Proto-glop “Fiend”


Arthur Crabtree’s “Fiend Without a Face” (1958) is a nifty little Cold War sci-fi shocker that apparently caused a stir with the depictions of the mutant brain-creature fiend things getting shot or clobbered — with appropriate splatter.

See, there’s this USAF base way the hell up in Manitoba somewhere, and they are playing around with a nuclear reactor to get a better picture on their radar screens. Meanwhile people in the small town nearby start croaking, and it’s kinda odd — their brains and spinal cords are sucked out.

Jeff, the handsome American major, figures out that the stupid mad scientist professor is behind it all. The prof, while working on telekinesis experiments, managed to summon up out of his diseased academic brain an invisible monster that shuffles around, making slurping noises, until — SHPLOOT! Another brain sucked away.

For some reason the creatures become visible for the last third of the flick, and this is where it gets fun. They are basically brains with tails — they use the tails to push themselves along until they fly up and wrap themselves around the victim’s neck.

We’re talking good-looking girl in late 50s tight pants. Flying attack brains. Jeep. Manitoban goobers. Giant sucking sounds. Highly dubious science. Extremely cavalier approach to nuclear power (“Whaddya mean the rods are all smashed? Where can we get some more?”)

And attack brains getting shot, getting clubbed, getting their radioactivity shut off, with appropriate gurgles and glop.

“Fiend” was ahead of its time. The stop-action effects are pretty much the same as those used years later by (to pick one example) Sam Raimi in the first two “Evil Dead” flicks.

Nice, tight little flick. Three coils.

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