A brilliant surgeon, Dr. Génessier, helped by his assistant Louise, kidnaps nice young women. He removes their faces and tries to graft them onto the head on his beloved daughter Christiane... See full summary »
A young man is confined in a mental hospital. Through a flashback we see that he was traumatized as a child, when he and his family were circus performers: he saw his father cut off the ... See full summary »
A brilliant surgeon, Dr. Génessier, helped by his assistant Louise, kidnaps nice young women. He removes their faces and tries to graft them onto the head on his beloved daughter Christiane, whose face has been entirely spoiled in a car crash. All the experiments fail, and the victims die, but Génessier keeps trying.... Written by
During the original release of the film an English film critic for The Spectator was nearly fired for writing it a positive review, while the general critical reaction had been poor. See more »
There are actually two different Citroen DS cars used in the film as the Doctor's car. One, presumably a DS21, has two spotlights built into the bodywork by the headlights and chrome trim, including a driver's wing-mirror (see 10:00 as he arrives with no lights and 12:50 as he leaves a few minutes later using headlights and spotlights, another continuity gaff in itself). At 12 :50 and 14:16 the DS with spotlights is seen but at 17:19 it has changed to one with no spotlights and no wing-mirror, presumably a DS19. Though its front plate is "7769-GR75", when the Doctor puts it into the garage, the rear plate reads "2923-GR75" and the assistant's Citroen Diane has the plate "7769-GR75" on the front. At 32:18 the Diane has "2923-GY75" on the rear and at 32:55 the same on the front, which was its registration when first seen near the start of the film. Finally, at 54:49 it's back to the DS with spotlights. See more »
This is one of those oddities that makes an interest in cinema worthwhile. Like the equally atmospheric Carnival of Souls, it was made by a director whose primary activity lay in documentaries, and can very much be regarded as a 'one-off'.
Franju's vision is at once beautiful and emetic: on the one hand, we have the stunning face of Edith Scob, the weird sight of her masked figure running into the night, the sequences which are held for longer than seems natural; on the other hand, arguably the most nauseating operation scenes committed to film (and somehow more unpleasant for being in black and white). The atmosphere is one of quiet poetry, but the juxtaposition with horror makes it unusual and effective. A connoisseur's delight. 9 out of 10. See it, if you can stomach it.
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