Facing A Faceless Face
The faceless fiends in Fiend Without a Face (1958) remind me of that old Richard Pryor joke where men spend the first nine months of their lives trying to get out of the womb, and the rest of their lives trying to get back in. That’s pretty funny.
The previously invisible creatures eventually materialize into extra large brains with a spinal cord tails. And while they aren’t exactly trying to get back into heads, they do suck your brain and spinal cord out through two “bite marks” in the back of your neck to make more mind mates.
These creatures were once manifested thought brought to solid life by lightning quality electricity, the byproduct of an old fart professor scientist who had been experimenting with using his mind without his hands for decades. Big deal – I’ve been manifesting solid farts since birth.
For the first two-thirds of the movie you only hear this faceless creature (loud heart beats that sound like clopping footsteps), rustling leaves, torn screen doors, etc. Then you see their victims clutch the back of their necks as if being hammer-locked by an entertainment grade pro wrestler, and then immediately dying with eyes wide open and mouth agape as their brains and spinal columns are slurped out.
Major Jeff Cummings of the U.S. Airforce stationed in Winthrop, Manitoba, Canada for atomic energy testing next to Canadian cows, Canadian farms and Canadian Canadians called the attacks on the locals as being the work of mental vampires. (I know a lot of those.) To buy time before the brains become visible enough to fight, he spends his time mackin’ on the professor scientist’s hot assistant. (She resists at first, but then later gives up the sugar.)
The best part of this clunky sci-fi classic is when the brains corner a few military brass, the professor, who just moments ago confessed to creating the monsters in a concise and believable back story, a panicky local old fart, and the hot assistant.
Boarding up the one window and blocking the door, the brains – flying like mental Frisbees™ – get in through the fireplace chimney and punched holes in the windows. When shot by the military guys, these brains got big time splat and stop-motion dissolve into red-stained oatmeal. This is the same method used on those ick demons in The Evil Dead (1981).
So if you wanna see flying brains, guns and oatmeal splat, you don’t have to go much further than Winthrop, Manitoba, Canada.