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5. EYES WITHOUT A FACE [LES YEUX SANS VISAGE] (1960) November 13, 2008

Posted by 366weirdmovies in Weird Movies.
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AKA Horror Chamber of Dr. Faustus [dubbed and edited version]

“I love images that make me dream, but I don’t like someone dreaming for me.” –Georges Franjou

 

 

PLOT:  The face of the daughter of a brilliant plastic surgeon is horrifically scarred in an automobile accident. Her father makes her pretend to be dead until she can be cured, and she floats about his Gothic mansion wearing an expressionless face mask, accompanied by the howling of the dogs the doctor keeps in pens to perform skin grafting experiments on.  When several pretty young girls go missing, the police and the girl’s fiancé start to suspect the doctor.
eyes_without_a_face

BACKGROUND: Eyes Without a Face was adapted for film by the famous screenwriting team of Pierre Boileau and Thomas Narcejac, who also co-wrote Les Diaboliques (1954) and Vertigo (1958), from a novel by Jean Redon.

     Director Georges Franjou has stated that he was told to avoid blood (so as not to upset the French censors), animal cruelty (so as not to upset the English censors), and mad scientists (to avoid offending the German censors). Remarkably, all three of these elements appear in the final product, but the film did not run into censorship problems.

    The film did poorly on its initial release, partly because the surgical scene was so shocking and gruesome for its day.  It was released in the US, in a dubbed and slightly edited version, as The Horror Chamber of Dr. Faustus, paired on a double bill with the now-forgotten exploitation flick The Manster.

INDELIBLE IMAGE: There are several worthy candidates, including the haunting final scene with Christiane surrounded by freed birds, but the facial transplant scene is the centerpiece of this film (and comes almost exactly at the midpoint). An anesthetized woman’s face is peeled off like the skin of a grape, in surprisingly graphic detail.

WHAT MAKES IT WEIRD: At least until the very final scene, Eyes Without a

Trailer for HORROR CHAMBER OF DR. FAUSTUS and THE MANSTER

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