Fiend Without a Face
A low-budget sci-fi horror movie from the fifties. As you can imagine, it has to do with nuclear energy gone awry. The movie follows some American soldiers on a base in Canada. There are some mysterious deaths around town in which victims have their brains and spinal cords sucked out through the back of their heads. Eventually, a mad scientist reveals what these creatures in fact are.
For most of the movie, the action is slow and the script is talky. The monster is invisible for the first two-thirds. The audience is only alerted to its presence by the various objects it clumsily knocks over as it moves around. The movie only really picks up when the monsters become visible and are revealed to be flying brains with antennae. The movie is exceedingly silly. Not much about it is memorable. I may have seen it before. I can’t remember. Regardless, it’s not suspenseful enough or campy enough to be fun. It’s just kind of there. Still not sure why it’s available on Criterion.
Body count: 8
The Monster at Camp Sunshine
A few days ago, I wrote that I had seen one of the most inept films ever made. Well, it’s been trumped. I had seen The Monster at Camp Sunshine a few years ago. I remembered being bored by it (despite being set in a nudist colony) and confused at times. So when a friend said he was showing it at his place, I thought I would give it another try. The result: it’s even worse than I remembered.
I sincerely wonder what the filmmakers thought they were doing when they made this movie. Were they trying to be ironic? Did they think all the stock footage could be edited together into something cohesive? Did they just pray that the nudity, stock war footage, and threat of a “monster” would turn it into a hit?
The story revolves around some girls who go to a nudist colony called Camp Sunshine. Meanwhile, a mad scientist creates a potion that seems to make mice angry – according the the silent movie-esque title cards that randomly pop up – and the mice then force a nurse to fall and or/jump out of a window. But don’t worry, she crawls back in. The mad scientist then dumps the experimental something in the ocean, which through a prolonged boring sequence is transferred to a river where it infects exactly one person who becomes a monster. (“My bra-ther ees a mahnster!”) I think there’s a flashback in there (no one in the room was exactly sure), but the girls spend a lot of time getting their pictures taken and lounging around nude. The monster is then locked in chains in a cabin while the girls continue frolicking. One particular shot, which lasts a good six or seven minutes, observes the girls as they hang out next to a van. Meanwhile, the “monster” gets out and lurches about with his ax. While the girls continue picnicking, the military is called in. The scientist parachutes into the camp. Normandy is invaded. A man on stilts stands about. A girl gets a cut on her arm and writhes in pain on the ground. There seems to be some stock footage from the Civil War. There are some explosions. Soldiers crawl under babrbed wire. Day becomes night, and then back again. Eventually, the monster becomes a porous rock that someone throws a little dirt on. Meanwhile, the naked chicks continue being naked and frolic. Somewhere in there, the flashback ends, but it’s difficult to tell where.
The soundtrack is almost exclusively bad voice-over and public domain recordings. The cinematography is regularly blown-out, perhaps in an attempt to make it match the random assortment of stoick footage they have. I am absolutely baffled that this is a movie at all. Absolute shit. Watch only if you have a sadistic sense of patience.
Body count: 1. The monster. Who turns into a rock.
Total body count: 248