Monday, December 6, 2010

Great Screen Monsters: Fiend Without a Face

Ah, the 1950s...

Poor misunderstood atomic power, Cold War Tensions, and monsters.

If you haven't had the opportunity to watch1958's Fiend Without a Face, you've missed one of the more original of the '50s atomic power gone wild spinoffs--original in terms of the monsters, anyway.

At first, the "fiends" are invisible, killing via two puncture holes in the back of a victim's neck through which the creature sucks out said victim's brain and spinal column. Sounds delicious. Speaking of sounds...the fiends always announce their presence with a grotesque sucking noise as they inch along.

Once we see them, wow. Each one is a brain-like slug, moving about by means of an inch-worm motion of its attached spinal column tail. Tack on eye stalks and tentacles, and these little critters become something special.

The movie is tense and noirish to start, much like the mystery at the beginning of another 1950s atomic monster-fest, Them! It packs a good amount of entertainment in 75 minutes, and works just fine if you suspend any knowledge of how nuclear power actually works (and doesn't).

(slurp, slurp, slurp...)

Thursday, December 2, 2010

Gifts for Monsters: Dick Briefer's Frankenstein

The first volume in Yoe Book's thrilling new series, "The Horror Comic Book Masters Library," fittingly features the first and foremost maniacal monster of all time... Frankenstein! Dick Briefer is one of the seminal artists who worked with Will Eisner on some of the very first comic books. Briefer created a bizarre, twisted version of the classic Frankenstein that is legend among comic book aficionados. If you like the comic book weirdness of cartoonists Fletcher Hanks, Basil Wolverton, and Boody Rogers, you're sure to thrill over Dick Briefer's creation of Frankenstein. The large format book lovingly reproduces a monstrous number of stories from the original 1940s and '50s comic books. Briefer did both a dark horror take and a more humorous-yet twisted-styling of Frankenstein, and both are powerfully showcased here. The stories are fascinatingly supplemented by an insightful introduction with rare photos of the artist, original art, letters from Dick Briefer, drawings by Alex Toth inspired by Briefer's Frankenstein-and much more!