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Fiend Without a Face (1958)

Not Rated | | Horror, Sci-Fi | December 1958 (UK)
Invisible atomic monsters attack a U.S. Armed Forces base and the local residents.

Director:

Writers:

(screenplay), (original story "The Thought Monster")
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Cast

Complete credited cast:
... Maj. Cummings
Kynaston Reeves ... Prof. R.E. Walgate
... Barbara Griselle
Stanley Maxted ... Col. Butler
... Capt. Al Chester (as Terence Kilburn)
James Dyrenforth ... Mayor
Robert MacKenzie ... Const. Gibbons
... Dr. Bradley
Gil Winfield ... Dr. Warren
Michael Balfour ... Sgt. Kasper
Launce Maraschal ... Melville
Meadows White ... Ben Adams (as R. Meadows White)
... Atomic Engineer (as Kerrigan Prescott)
Lala Lloyd ... Amelia Adams
Shane Cordell ... Nurse
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Storyline

A Scientist, experimenting with telekinetic powers enhanced by a nearby nuclear power plant succeeds in creating a new form of life. This new creature grows in intelligence until it finally escapes his laboratory. Once outside the lab, and closer to its nuclear power source it multiplies. The creature is also invisible, so no one knows what it looks like... Written by <harold.lind@airtouch.com>

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis

Taglines:

New Horrors! Mad Science Spawns Evil Fiends! ...Taking form before your horrified eyes!

Genres:

Horror | Sci-Fi

Certificate:

Not Rated | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

 »
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Details

Country:

Language:

Release Date:

December 1958 (UK)  »

Also Known As:

Les monstres invisibles  »

Filming Locations:

 »

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Box Office

Budget:

£50,000 (estimated)
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Show more on  »

Technical Specs

Sound Mix:

(RCA Sound Recording)

Aspect Ratio:

1.66 : 1
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Did You Know?

Trivia

The Criterion Collection DVD has a hidden gag on it added by the authors. If you check the disc name/ID on a PC through various means, the ID reads AFIENDINNEEDISAFIENDINDEED, i.e. "A fiend in need is a fiend, indeed". See more »

Goofs

Capt. Chester offers Maj. Cummings a cigarette, even though the Major already has a lit one in the ashtray. See more »

Quotes

Prof. R. E. Walgate: What have I unleashed?
See more »

Connections

Featured in Bloody New Year (1987) See more »

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User Reviews

A film with brains...
29 November 2004 | by See all my reviews

To start off in a horribly clicheed manner, if you can't say anything nice, you're not supposed to say anything at all. Considering that this Fiend Without A Face came about in a decade when sci-fi was generally considered grade-Z clap trap, one would assume that I'd not have anything polite to discuss in regards to this film. Well, then again, maybe you wouldn't think that - Fiend is, after all, on Criterion, a bastion of intelligent film-making. So maybe, just maybe, Fiend Without A Face is an unjustly maligned masterpiece - a brilliant satirical look at human faults and foibles allegorized through a tale of malevolent brain-beasts.

I dare say, Fiend Without A Face falls somewhere in between. It's not schlock, nor is it masterful. It's a decent idea turned into a decent story (which someone had the foresight to save by not including the romantic subplot) acted by all right actors and directed with a steady hand. It's not Ed Wood; it certainly isn't Welles either.

There are some beautiful shots, to be sure (the establishing shots of the air-force base and some of the images of a jet's trail are gorgeous), and solid acting. On the whole, though, Fiend Without a Face is simply a well-done sci-fi/horror amalgamation and does not necessarily deserve the full, Criterion treatment.

Yes, the idea that atomic energy's greatest harm to mankind lies within our own psyches is interesting, but it's not as interesting as the paranoia of conformism that drove Body Snatchers. Yes, the acting is decent, but it's not as solid as the work done by a young Steve McQueen in the Blob. Fiend Without A Face is a movie that should not be forgotten, but it's also a film that should not be elevated to the level of greatness (which in some ways a Criterion edition somehow does).

That said, if you have a passing interest in horror or sci-fi, or the 1950s, you will enjoy this film (it's short, sweet, and very much to the point). Again, it's a well-made film and deserves to be seen; it's not, though, one of the greatest films of the science-fiction genre.


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