Another French film! I have an International Cinema class and we watched Eyes Without a Face. This is a classic French horror film that has influenced a lot of directors including John Carpenter. The director, Georges Franju, is known for doing Blood of the Beasts. A very gory film where animals are slaughtered for reals. It’s a real shocker if you haven’t seen animals be butchered. This film is not that bloody and gory, but it has some moments similar. Enough introduction, let’s get to the plot. Spoilers at the end!
Dr. Génessier is a man with a daughter! That doesn’t sound too exciting on paper. That is until you find out the daughter is disfigured. She has well eyes without a face haha. Génessier’s assistant, Louise, routinely kidnaps girls that I guess look similar enough to his daughter. Once she kidnaps them, the doctor operates on them by removing their faces. It reminds me of The Corpse Vanishes where Bela Lugosi steals caskets after girls die so he can inject their fluids into his dead wife. Génessier takes the faces and puts them on his daughter. The faces apparently don’t always work and they start to deteriorate. It’s like in The Haunted Mask. The guy creates all these faces, but they eventually become ugly. I’m not sure what the doctor always does with the girls he kidnaps. The one girl we see possibly kills herself or dies trying to escape. The film ends with another girl being captured and the daughter, Christiane, freeing her. She then kills Louise and frees all the dogs the doctor had captive. The dogs then killed him in hilarious fashion. Fin.
I loved the music when Louise would kidnap people. It’s still playing in my head even after finishing the film. It’s like when the Halloween theme would play, but it’s a lot sillier than scary.
This film is full of suspense. We want to know what Christiane looks like under that mask. It’s a lot like watching Phantom of the Opera. We want to see that ugly face. We only really get to see it once. It’s a blurred shot though, so it’s still left up to our imagination. The mask is so plain in simple that it’s creepy. We know she’s a nice girl, but that mask is a bit scary. It’s like the Captain Kirk mask in Halloween. John Carpenter said he wanted a simple mask similar to the one in this film. It works. Sometimes simplicity is best.
For 1960, the effects are not too great. At first you think when he cuts off the face it is going to be grotesque. After a little bit you notice how fake it looks. I wondered the whole time how they accomplished that scene. The face looked a bit rubber too near the end of the scene. The scene with the dogs killing the doctor is funny too. It looks like he had puffed up a bit since he was in some sort of body suit that protected him from dog bites. It added to the charm of the film.
It’s a good film. There is a lot to like. It’s simple, but it’s a fun watch. It’s not always overly scary, but the suspense will keep you wanting more. The last five minutes are a real hoot too. I strongly recommend Eyes Without a Face. Oui Oui!!!!!
- ‘Eyes Without a Face’ balances lyrical with horror (latimes.com)
- Halloween Havoc 2013 Day 18: La Horde (thegreatnodnarb.wordpress.com)
- 6 Halloween Safety Rules for Homemade Halloween Costumes (allstate.com)