Thursday, March 29, 2007

Eyes Without a Face

Les Yeux Sans Visage (1959)

Directed by: Georges Franju
Writing: Adapted by Pierre Boileau, Thomas Narcejac, Claude Sautet & Jean Redon, based on the novel by Jean Redon, with dialogue by Pierre Gascar
Starring: Pierre Brassuer, Alida Valli, Edith Scob, Alexandre Rignault, Béatrice Altariba, François Guérin, Juliette Mayniel, Claude Brasseur

As with M, I think that enough has probably been said about this movie over the years, but, like I said before, I'm sexy and I can eat as much cream cheese as I like (that isn't what I said, is it...).

This is about a brilliant surgeon who accidentally disfigures his daughter because he can't drive. So, in an attempt to fix her face, he tries to graft other woman's faces onto her head.

The movie features a rather graphic scene of the grafting procedure (which is why it got released as The Horror Chamber of Doctor Faustus in the States), surprising considering that it was made in the '50s. It isn't cheap, mind you, unlike the crap they put in movies today.

That makes me wonder why they haven't remade it. I mean, it's got people tied up having their faces removed, various surgical tools, people wearing masks. That's the shit right now. They could have made it a companion piece to House of Wax.

But why bother, right? Edith Scob (heh heh. Scob) is frigging creepy as Christiane, spending almost the entire movie behind a blank wax mask. Interesting point - traditionally the mask is used in horror movies in the 'masked killer' sort of context. She's really more of a victim, almost along the lines of Erik from Phantom, but even he kills a few people.

Apart from the occasional bloody scene (girl getting her face cut off, Chrissy taking off the spooky mask, Dr. Genessier getting his face eaten by dogs (cute dogs, too)) it's all atmosphere. Chick-chick there stalking young women and luring them back to said Horror Chamber... the faceless girl wandering around the house in her mask and a weird sort of nightgown that makes her look like an alien.

And weird carnival music giving it a freak show feel. That sort of makes her character all the more sympathetic in a way. I try to avoid digging meaning out of this stuff and looking at the metaphorical bullshit behind everything. This does seem to have a lot of that in there, but I sort of took it at face value.

I didn't mean to make that a pun, I swear.


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