Eyes Without a Face (1960) 31 Days of Horror   2 comments

postereyes

Louise (Alida Valli) drives down a dark deserted road while eerie carnival music plays in the background. She pulls over, opens the trunk, drags a large package along the ground, and throws it into the river. In the next scene, Dr. Génessier (Pierre Brasseur) speaks at a surgical conference on the transferring of body parts from one animal to another. Sounds great so far, right? I mean, you have to love a film that starts out with a body dump and a lecture on organ grafting. After his speech, the doctor heads to the morgue to identify his daughter, Christiane and the party really starts. Despondent and incredibly quiet, dad returns home to see…Christiane. Yeah, it’s that kind of film.

french

I remember having insult fights as a kid and saying dopey things like, “You should go to the store and buy a new face!” The writers of Eyes Without a Face take that to the next level. The French Dr. Mengele and his henchwoman Louise lure young girls to his country home and use them for spare parts. It’s pretty nasty.

chloro
Does this rag smell like chloroform?

Director Georges Franju, who made a name for himself filming horse slaughterhouses interspersed with children playing does creepy well. The film looks beautiful. Pierre Brasseur, as the not so good doctor, goes about his dirty business with a charmless, blank expression as if he understands the depths he has reached, but feels compelled to go deeper. Alida Valli also knows she is doing terrible things, but continues because of her loyalty to the doctor. The spooky prize in Eyes Without a Face goes to Edith Scob as Christiane.

chris
A face? Pour moi?

Her face obscured for the majority of the film, she still manages to exude an alien je ne sais quoi. Christiane moves slowly and seems to float. Her dancer’s body stands erect despite her character’s tenuous grasp on reality. She too knows she’s part of something evil, but can only relate to the collection of dogs her father has collected to experiment on.

woof
You understand me.

I was snake fascinated by Eyes Without a Face, but I wouldn’t say I enjoyed it. The disturbing plot combined with the disturbing characters, and the disturbing surgical scenes make for a genuinely…you guessed it…disturbing film.


You want my what?

Moody circus music by Maurice Jarre (The Longest Day, Sundays and Cybele) added to the overall ghoulishness. As usual, I’m glad I saw Eyes Without a Face. I’ll remember it the way I remember the face of the odd guy I run into at the dry cleaners who I watch out of the corner of my eye in case the police ask me about him later. If you’re into that, you’ll love this movie. You might also like the short included on the Criterion DVD. Called Le Sang des Betes (Blood of the Beasts) it’s a documentary about French slaughterhouses. I managed about four minutes of random images before they started offing horses and I moved on with my life. Anyway, Les Yeux Sans Visage, as they say in Paris, is a film you’ll remember, but may wish to forget.

bird

I wrote this for the 31 Days of Horror Challenge on cinemashame.wordpress.com
Look for more horror reviews on thirtyhertzrumble.com

I’m @echidabot on twitter.

shame
October 7, 2014

2 responses to “Eyes Without a Face (1960) 31 Days of Horror

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  1. We love this movie!

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