Fiend Without a Face (1958)

Genres - Horror, Science Fiction  |   Sub-Genres - Creature Film  |   Release Date - Jul 3, 1958 (USA - Unknown)  |   Run Time - 74 min.  |   Countries - United Kingdom   |   MPAA Rating - NR
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Fiend Without A Face is about as neat and compact a sci-fi chiller as was released in England in the 1950s -- indeed, it is the only real challenger to the primacy of Val Guest's two masterpieces of the genre, The Quatermass Experiment (1955) and Quatermass 2 (1956). Director Arthur Crabtree, a cinematopher-turned-director, demonstrated a good command of his actors -- mostly just getting out of the way and letting them run with the script -- and a knack for intermixing the drama and the special effects, the latter courtesy of Peter Neilson and Puppel Nordhoff. Coupled with a dedicated cast led by Marshall Thompson, who could play the material in the most earnest manner possible, the result is a truly chilling mystery/chiller. One of the novel twists of the story is an explanation for the killings that manages to put a grisly twist on Forbidden Planet's notion of monsters driven by man's own subconscious urges and destructiveness -- that, and the graphic realization of those ideas on camera, plus a final siege that recalls elements of Night Of The Living Dead, have helped to make Fiend Without A Face an enduring classic of its genre and, much like the Quatermass movies, one that continually gains new fans.