Sexy European women plus gore; how can you lose?
B-Movie Nightmares | Sparks, NV United States | 04/28/2004
(4 out of 5 stars)
"I'm surprised that Faceless isn't more well-known, considering it's a strong entry in the Euro trash-horror sweepstakes. Before viewing, I thought it was a remake of the influential French film Eyes Without a Face, but it's actually an original screenplay with parts that bring to mind Franju's movie and director Jess Franco's The Awful Dr. Orloff. This 1987 release was unusual for Franco in that he finally has a decent budget to work with, courtesy of producer/writer Rene Chateau.The story revolves around the "Clinique des Mimosas," a medical buiness run by the twisted Dr. Flamand (Helmut Berger) and his lover Nathalie. Nathalie is played by French ex-porn star Brigitte Lahaie, whose nearly emotionless performance brings a "creepy nurse" quality to her role. The clinic specializes in...well..let's say a rather unorthodox kind of plastic surgery. The doctor and Nathalie keep track of their patients voyeur-style by watching them on a bank of six video monitors. Add to this an Igor-like assistant named Gordon with shaved eyebrows, and you've got all the ingredients for a chilling story.Telly Savalas plays a rich businessman whose daughter Barbara, a model with a penchant for cocaine, turns up missing. Barbara is played by Caroline Munro, veteran of many sci-fi and horror films such as Starcrash, The Golden Voyage of Sinbad, and the gorehound clasic Maniac. She was even a "Bond girl" in The Spy Who Loved Me! Private investigator Sam Morgan (Chris Mitchum, Robert's son) is hired to search for Barbara and finds a trail that eventually leads him to the clinic.The world of Faceless is filled with glossy, reflective surfaces and an atmosphere of rich decadence. There seems to be a subtle commentary on wealth, superficial beauty and the ugliness beneath the surface (and behind closed doors), but I may be overanalyzing a bit. At any rate, you do get a stylish, gory film with some weird erotic moments. The locations are effective: the doctor's luxurious, wood-paneled sitting room with expensive paintings on the walls, the neon-lit excess of Paris strip clubs at night, and the barren sterility of the real-life clinic building where most of the horrors take place. Franco fans will also appreciate Howard (Orloff) Vernon's appearance as a minor character named, of all things, Dr. Orloff!I would have given Faceless 5 stars if it wasn't for the disappointing conclusion. In his interview, though, Chris Mitchum mentions some dialogue missing from the final version that would have changed the meaning of the ending completely. It's a minor drawback, however, considering how well the film delivers the goods throughout. The only other thing I disliked was the horrible George Michael-esque song that was repeated at least four times during the movie.As usual, Shriek Show comes through with nice packaging and extras. The DVD cover is reversible, and the pamphlet inside has a lengthy interview with Caroline Munro complete with filmography. The disc's special features include interviews with Munro, Chris Mitchum and Jess Franco. The director also provides audio commentary along with Franco regular Lina Romay, who has a small part in Faceless as Dr. Orloff's wife. I would say this DVD is a worthwhile purchase for lovers of bizarre horror, and obviously a requirement for Franco fans."
The eyeball scene, that's all I have to say.
M. | Mass. | 01/20/2008
(5 out of 5 stars)
"This is a pretty wierd French horror flick from Jess Franco, arguably his only good movie. I was going to take off 1 star for the putrid music but the eyeball scene.......dude........the eyeball scene......that was sweet......"