Moviedrome Mondays: The Andromeda Strain (1971) and Fiend Without a Face (1958)

Series 7 of Moviedrome opens with a double bill consisting of two science-fiction films – one is a Hollywood product and the other was financed independently.

The Andromeda Strain (1971)

I would like to give a special shout-out to Steve (click here to view his youtube channel), a loyal visitor to this site. A month or two ago, he found/uploaded a version of Alex Cox’s Moviedrome introduction to director Robert Wise’s 1971 science-fiction thriller The Andromeda Strain, that I will be posting a link to below. Readers can also read Cox’s intro transcript here. The episode’s original airdate was May 15, 1994 (read here). with the exception of his thoughts on They Live (I love that film), I agree with everything else Cox states (eloquently as usual) about this film. As for myself, I would rank The Andromeda Strain alongside Westworld (both the movie and the cable-television series) and Jurassic Park as my three favorite film adaptations of a Michael Crichton property. If any of you readers are interested, here is a link to my favorite Robert Wise films (read here).

Here is a link to Steve’s youtube video of Alex Cox’s Moviedrome intro to The Andromeda Strain

Here is a youtube video link to the film’s original theatrical trailer


Fiend Without a Face (1958)

I have posted a youtube video link below to Moviedrome presenter Alex Cox’s introduction to director Arthur Crabtree’s low-budget 1958 British cult B-monster movie Fiend Without a Face. Readers can also read Cox’s intro transcript here. The episode’s original airdate was May 16, 1994 (read here). Once again, I agree with Cox completely. When it comes to 1950’s horror/science-fiction films, Fiend Without a Face benefits largely from inventive special effects (stop-motion animation was reportedly used to create the brain creatures) and (shocking for it’s time) a fair share of blood and gore.

Here is a youtube video link to Moviedrome presenter Alex Cox’s intro to Fiend Without a Face

Here is a youtube video link to the film’s original theatrical trailer

15 thoughts on “Moviedrome Mondays: The Andromeda Strain (1971) and Fiend Without a Face (1958)

  1. ‘Andromeda Strain’ ! I remember what a scary movie that was when it came out. And like a lot of great SciFi it remains topical to our moment – and even prophetic at times.

  2. I wasn’t much of a fan of The Andromeda Strain. I saw it a while ago. It had some good scenes but it didn’t sustain my interest much. It’s a bit lengthy and the lack of recognisable actors didn’t help. Maybe I need to rewatch it. Although it’s now a very relevant and pertinent film what with the events of the last year. Alex’s intro for it is great though.

    As for Fiend Without A Face. The scenes with the killer brains are great but the rest of the film is forgettable and isn’t at all good. If the killer brains had been in the film more then it would’ve been a great film. They shouldn’t have been invisible for the first half of the film. The special effects were great for that era. Alex’s intro is great though.

    Season seven was a great season of Moviedrome. A lot of great films were shown and Alex’s intros were great too. Also, the film noir/Third Man homage opening of the intros is brilliant. The King Kong opening of season five was brilliant too.

  3. When I saw The Andromeda Strain it mostly didn’t appeal to me. I found the characters vapid, vacuous and they had no depth. I think you could have interesting characters with depth dealing with momentous events. I also found the actors very uncharismatic and the goings on underground quite uninteresting.

    There are good points to the film. The direction is good and the scene where they’re exploring the town is good. I just wouldn’t consider this film to be one of the best shown on Moviedrome.

    The Andromeda Strain has an Arrow Video release

  4. The Andromda Strain remains one of my favourite sci-fi genre films to this day. I watched it again on TV last year, and it is still excellent. Unlike Steve, I thought not using big star actors in the cast made it more convincing.

    The ‘killer brains’ are almost funny now, but that film frightened me as a child.

    Best wishes, Pete.

  5. We just saw Andromeda Strain a year ago too! I never fail to get stressed out when the female scientist goes into a fugue state due to the red blinking light. It’s a different time when this movie was made. One has to have more patience.
    Fiend Without a Face I’ll have to look up! Never saw it.

  6. Actually I felt that the lack of big name stars was a plus because for a film like The Andromeda Strain, star power could have compromised it. Same thing goes for 2001: A Space Odyssey – big name stars would have compromised a beautiful masterpiece. Unlike 2001: A Space Odyssey though, I admire The Andromeda Strain more than I adore it. The Andromeda Strain is still very good though 🙂

    Fiend Without a Face is a good film and I agree that the killer brains should have had more screen time. I agree with everything you say about it 🙂

    I too really love those homages in those intros and you could just tell that Alex Cox is really having a ball with them 🙂 Speaking of which, I read somewhere that the 1933 King Kong is one of Alex Cox’s top 10 films or at least it was during a particular period 🙂

  7. Well Steve, I think the characters lacking depth may have been intended because this is more of a plot-driven film. If the characters lack charisma that is because they are not supposed to be charismatic, they are everyday scientists. That was probably what they were going for, but then again that is just me 🙂

    I will concede that it is not the greatest film ever shown on Moviedrome – I mean If you look at the back catalogue of the dozens of films shown on there, one could probably find ones that surpass so I do concur with you on that 🙂

    I also see that The Andromeda Strain has an Arrow release and while I would buy it cause I do admire the film, I would also want to buy it to check out Kim Newman’s comments on it because he is always interesting to listen to 🙂

  8. I too agree with you Pete on the lack of big name stars. As I told Steve above, The Andromeda Strain is a film that I admire more than I adore, but I still give it a high praise and for my money, I would rank it as one of my three favorite film adaptations of a Michael Crichton novel 🙂 Anyway, thanks for dropping by 🙂

  9. The Andromeda Strain is a very good and yeah I agree with you about the red blinking light scene. It sure was a different time when the film was made 🙂 As for Fiend Without a Face, it is worth checking out 🙂 Anyway, thanks for dropping by 🙂

  10. Another season, another reason to celebrate Moviedrome. I’m looking forward to your forthcoming posts, at the time Alex Cox considered season 7 the strongest line up since season 1!

  11. Sorry for the delayed response Steve 🙂 Not yet, but I plan on continuing my poliziotteschi marathon as soon as possible – continuing with Emergency Squad of course 🙂

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