Steal Your Face

eyeswoaface

As I’ve mentioned before, when a movie actually comes up with a refreshingly unique idea, sometimes it gets ripped off so often that it spawns a whole genre….Such is the case with Eyes Without A Face (released in the states under the less intellectual-sounding, more exploitable title Horror Chamber Of Dr. Faustus) a French film by Georges Franju that captures the eerily beautiful, tragic feeling of 30’s horror films, while also pushing the envelope with blood and very unsettling makeup fx. It’s about a plastic surgeon who gets in an automobile accident with his teenage daughter…Both survive but the girl’s face is burned beyond recognition. She wears a white mask that’s a replica of her own face. The expression is blank but here eyes speak volumes. The doctor performs skin-graft experiments, trying to restore the girl’s face with the flesh of kidnapped girls. The film is unforgettable, so it’s no wonder it was copied so often.

One such knockoff was…

awfulorloff1

Which was the first film by Jesus Franco, quite possibly the most prolific auteur in cinema. In terms of output he makes William “One Shot” Beaudine look like Terence Malick. Though it has the same plot, Orlof doesn’t look much like Eyes Without A Face, opting for more of a 19th Century, Hammer film style. It’s the closest Franco probably ever got to making a normal movie, and it plays for the most part like a decent B-horror picture…but it does have the character  of Morpho, Dr Orlof’s mindless (yet girl-crazy) henchman, who looks kinda like Cesare from The Cabinet Of Dr. Caligari but with Killers From Space ping pong ball eyes. It’s a nice place to start but it will not prepare you for the mindblowing weirdness of Franco’s subsequent films…

awfulorloff2 

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