“My face frightens me … my mask frightens me even more.” A fascinating and disturbing horror film from French director Georges Franju, Eyes Without a Face (Les yeux sans visage) was quite controversial when it was first released and still has the power to shock all these years later (especially the “face removal” scene!). After the face of his daughter “Christiane” (Edith Scob) is horrifically disfigured in a car accident that he caused, renowned surgeon “Dr. Genessier” (Pierre Brasseur) – with the help of his assistant “Louise” (Alida Valli) – kidnaps several young woman and gruesomely removes their faces in failed attempts to perform skin grafts to restore his daughter’s beauty. Meanwhile, Christiane wanders aimlessly around the secluded, Gothic-style mansion (full of caged animals used for experimentation in the basement) wearing a creepy white mask (think Michael Myers’ mask in Halloween) and becoming increasingly despondent about her condition. Based on a novel by Jean Redon, Eyes Without a Face also features Francois Guerin as Christiane’s fiancé “Jacques,” Juliette Mayniel as “Edna Gruber,” Alexandre Rignault as “Inspector Parot” and Beatrice Altariba as “Paulette Merodon.” In addition, the film boasts a nice eclectic score by Maurice Jarre and excellent cinematography by Eugen Schufftan. An edited, dubbed version of the film was released in the United States in 1962 as The Horror Chamber of Dr. Faustus and somehow ended up on a double bill with The Manster – “See the Two-Headed Killer Creature!” Bottom line: Eyes Without a Face is an unsettling atmospheric horror flick that demands repeated viewings!
Useless Trivia: The film reportedly served as the inspiration for Billy Idol’s song of the same name from his hit 1983 album Rebel Yell: “I’m all out of hope/One more bad dream could bring a fall …”