4.8/10
17
3 user 1 critic

Killer Without a Face (1968)

Assassino senza volto (original title)
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Cast

Cast overview:
Mara Berni ...
Barbara MacDonald
Gianni Medici ...
John Brenton
Giuliano Raffaelli
...
Francis
...
(as Laurence Tierney)
Luigi Batzella ...
(as Paolo Solvay)
Anita Todesco
Rita Klein
Genevieve Soné
Gabriella Mantovani
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Plot Keywords:

castle | giallo | See All (2) »

Genres:

Horror | Mystery

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Release Date:

20 July 1968 (Italy)  »

Also Known As:

Killer Without a Face  »

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User Reviews

 
An early giallo "hybrid"
9 September 2015 | by (NYC suburbs) – See all my reviews

Before Dario Argento's BIRD WITH THE CRYSTAL PLUMAGE changed the face of gialli in 1970, most from the late '60s (especially those of Umberto Lenzi & Carroll Baker) were psychological, "bloodless" erotic thrillers that relied on murder, sex, and DIABOLIQUE-like plot twists but 1968's KILLER WITHOUT A FACE was an exception in that it blended mid-60s "Barbara Steele/haunted castle" horror with the kind of proto-giallo crime thrillers ex-pat actor John Drew Barrymore used to make in the early '60s.

After her beloved cousin falls (?) from the tower of "Nottingham Castle" one stormy night in the pre-credit opening, Barbara, the mentally unstable mistress of the manor, hires a handsome architect to re-do the castle top-to-bottom but her husband warns him that she has psychotic fits every now and then as various castle inhabitants (a barrister, a Mrs. Danvers-like housekeeper, maids, and other sundry folk) start getting picked off one by one with a gun that has an extraordinarily long silencer. As if that wasn't bad enough, there's a curse on the castle ever since an ancestor was burned at the stake centuries before. Is Barbara responsible -or is something more insidious -maybe even supernatural- going on?

Filmed in atmospheric black & white with a jazzy score, the film can also boast Jess Franco favorite Janine Reynaud as a slinky femme fatale and Lawrence Tierney as a mute Igor-type servant. I love Larry in American Film Noir but, reely, what's he doing in this -wasn't he supposedly reduced to driving a hansom cab around Manhattan at the time?

The Italian giallo's usual xenophobia's on display here as well- the depraved goings-on occur outside Italy (England this time) and the heroine actually recuperates from a breakdown in sunny Italy to restore her health. When she goes back to England, supposedly recovered, depravity sets in again and the murders resume.


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