Monster of the Day #36

Let’s wrap up this week with another in our short series of psyche-related monsters.  These babies are more like the Id monster than like Gor (except physically), because they are literally thoughts given form.  Even by ’50s sci-fi standards their ‘origin’ is a mess:  They are incarnated thoughts, who feed up and multiple through atomic power, but who (I think; and I’ve seen this movie many, many times) achieve physical form by stealing the brains and brain stems from human victims.  However, for that to be true, they would have to have killed dozens and dozens, maybe hundreds of people, to account for the vast number of them seen at the end of the movie.  And if they ARE incorporated in regular human brains, why do they remain invisible until the power is turned way the hell up?  Ah, well, it doesn’t matter, because these little guys are completely and utterly awesome.

  • Not-So-Great Cthulhu

    The logic behind these critters was all over the place. Or perhaps it’d be better to say that any logic behind their creation and how they ‘worked’ was lacking.

    That having been said… the little kid in me insists that these are among the greatest monsters ever!

  • The Rev. D.D.

    I thought they were simply feeding on gray matter to stay alive, and that they didn’t become visible until they were given more power, which was done as a desperate plan by the heroes.

    Of course, it’s been a while since I’ve seen it, but that’s my recollection.

    I love these critters so much. I was surprised how messily they died when I first saw it, and that was back in high school. (Curse of the Living Corpse got me the same way.)

    Man, remember when the former Sci-Fi Channel played movies like these (and occasionally stuff like Giant Spider Invasion), instead of all those crappy DTV movies? Well, crappy DTV movies and Mega Piranha, which is effing great.

  • BeckoningChasm

    I’m with the Rev–the Professor even said he envisioned the creatures to look like human brains, and he tapped into the atomic reactor to give them sufficient power to be active on their own. When the guy at the reactor got debrained, they were able to draw on much more power, and “used” that power to become more substantial.

    An awesome, awesome film. Best of B-Fest 2010 IMHO.

  • Rock Baker

    Yes, I agree with the Rev and BC. Honestly, Ken, this movie never confused me until I read this post. Now my brain feels like it’s trying to untangle a twisted waterhose. Shame on you!

    This was yet another of those movies that had such a huge impact on my childhood (wow, I saw a lot of these things pretty early in the game!) because Pop loved it and bought the tape. Stop motion brain monsters, a tough military hero, a cute brunette in a towel, a secluded house under siege, radar, atomic science, spooky woods at night, a crypt, this movie has it all!

  • it also has one of the spookiest and most evocative titles of all time.

  • sandra

    What IS the title ?

  • Rock Baker

    Fiend Without A Face (1958)

  • BeckoningChasm

    Lesson 1: Ultimately, these entries should eventually include the (1) name of the film and the (2) name of the monster if such is not included in the title. FURTHER PROOF that all these folks…creatures…monsters….should have a nugget.

  • Rock Baker

    You include the title and we lose the guessing game on some days. Part of the fun here is seeing if we can be stumped. (Sadly, my life has turned out to be so empty that the only thing I’ve been briefly stumped on was the Dr. Who yeti, and I figured that one out before I moved onto the comments to see if I was right.) I suppose that if the title hasn’t been mentioned within the first four or five comments, one of us could leave a comment with that information.

  • I agree. I love to see how long it takes you guys to suss out the title; five minutes, or only four. I mean, really, you guys got Island of the Burning Doom?!

    Maybe we’ll ask the first person who knows the title to post it. Bonus nerd points!

  • The Rev. D.D.

    You didn’t think we’d get Island of the Burning Damned? Is that due to its relative obscurity?

  • Yes, it’s an obscure flick, plus the (very seldom seen) monster isn’t really that distinctive looking.

  • The Rev. D.D.

    Yeah, they aren’t shown much. Still, hard to forget the aliens that look like fried eggs/roast turkeys/giant bird craps/what have you.

  • John Nowak

    Stop motion brains leaping about on spinal columns. What’s not to love?

  • Marsden

    Looks like I opened up a can of worms last time with Forbidden Planet, but this one’s supposed to be remade, too. They actually said 2011.

  • John Nowak

    I am torn. On one side, they’ll do the brains on spinal cords as bad CGI.

    On the other hand, they might make “Fiend Without a Face” toys out of rubbery plastic which I can poke at my sister, and use to decorate the top of my monitor at work.

  • John — There is (or was) a life-sized foam Fiend with a bendable spinal cord. I know, because I own one. I can never find the link for the place that sold/sells them, however.

    But yeah, a little one would be nice.

  • Rock Baker

    The Fiend appeared to good effect in Looney Toons, Back in Action, and that was done entirely with real-time practical effects. But does a b picture like this really have enough of a following to justify a remake? Is this the sort of flick any kid off the street has seen and mussed that it would be better in color? What next? The Haunted Strangler? Teenagers from Outer Space? Pharoh’s Curse? Monster on the Campus? Monolith Monsters? The Twonky?

  • John Nowak

    >There is (or was) a life-sized foam Fiend with a bendable spinal cord. I know, because I own one.

    I seethe with barely-suppressed envy and jealousy.

    That would be perfect to wear wrapped around my arm.