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The Headless Eyes (1971)

X  |   |  Horror  |  1971 (USA)
3.7
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Ratings: 3.7/10 from 228 users  
Reviews: 26 user | 14 critic

Poor artist gets eye gouged out while committing a robbery. When his eye heals, he goes on a killing spree and cuts out women's eyes with a spoon.

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Cast

Complete credited cast:
...
Arthur Malcolm
Ramon Gordon ...
(as Gordon Ramon)
Kelley Swartz
Mary Jane Early
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Storyline

Poor artist gets eye gouged out while committing a robbery. When his eye heals, he goes on a killing spree and cuts out women's eyes with a spoon. Written by Josh Pasnak <chainsaw@intouch.bc.ca>

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He's out there...out of sight, and out of his mind! See more »

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Horror

Certificate:

X
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1971 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Bloodthirsty Butchers  »

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1.85 : 1
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Referenced in Video Nasties: Draconian Days (2014) See more »

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User Reviews

Shocking only as a document of extreme poverty.
10 October 2003 | by (England) – See all my reviews

I can't say I wasn't warned. See, when I was a little kid, there was a video library near my house that stocked just about every sleazy and disgusting title the owner could get his hands on, and HEADLESS EYES was one of them. I was too young to rent it, and I could only gaze in wonder at the bulky plastic box with its goofy illustration of enormous bloody eyes staring from the sockets of a glass skull, impatient for the day when I would finally be allowed to witness such an obviously horrible and shocking film for myself...

Fast forward some twenty years, and a mint condition copy of EYES turns up at a local junk shop, priced at a reasonable four pounds (about six dollars). Yes, I'd read all the dire reviews on the IMDB and elsewhere, but I'd also read bad reviews for Pieces, Cannibal Ferox, Hearts of Fire and countless others, and I wound up rather enjoying them. So, with that in mind, is EYES really as bad as people say? It's worse. A lot worse. In fact, EYES could well be one of the most threadbare, incompetent and shambolic films ever created by human hands. Compared to this blizzard of bilge, the works of Herschel Gordon Lewis, Andy Milligan, Jesus Franco and Al Adamson are absolute masterworks. In fact, it might not be a bad idea to stick EYES on a double bill with Kubrick's A CLOCKWORK ORANGE, just to demonstrate the two extremes of cinema at its finest and cinema operating at a level several feet beneath the gutter.

EYES begins with the famous sequence in which a struggling artist, played by the oddly-named Bo Brundin (who looks like a cross between Beach Boy Mike Love and a slimmed-down Pavarotti) attempting to burgle a woman's apartment and getting his eye jabbed out of its socket with a dessert spoon(!) for his troubles. A less lethargic director than Kent Bateman might have been tempted to imply the eye-gouging through a judicious use of odd angles and fast editing (think Tobe Hooper), given the obviously miniscule budget and the FX prosthetics that were obviously bought from the local joke shop or the back pages of an EC comic, but Bateman obviously can't be bothered with all that nonsense and instead asks the actors to do a gorier version of the old Laurel and Hardy phoney "poke in the eye" gag. Brundin clasps his hand to his eye, there's a horribly obvious edit, and blood begins to seep through his fingers. "My EYE! Oooaarrghhhh...my EEEYYYEEE!", he screams, and in case you missed it, this roar of agony is looped on the soundtrack a total of six times as Brundin staggers into the street, his ruptured eye hanging down his cheek. There's bad gore and there's bad gore - I mean, some effects are so badly staged they're even more horrifying as a result - but this is SO shoddy it's not even funny.

After that, well, EYES goes downhill, completely alienating itself from the viewer. Every single cinematic pitfall you can think of is here in spades - dismal photography, underlit scenes, grainy and degraded film stock, inaudible dialogue, rotten acting, crass dialogue, editing that seems to have been done with blunt scissors and glue, non-existent pacing (to say nothing of depth, dynamic, timing, or indeed any tangible sense of time and place) and a musical score that's obviously the work of a guitarist with his fingers in splints, a synth player with his hands tied behind his back and a drunk falling into a row of dustbins...or is it a drummer? When I say everything is unclear and confusing, don't take that statement lightly, because I doubt if even the actors knew what the hell was supposed to be happening half the time. Which could be why Brundin makes a simpering, gibbering, drooling meal of every scene he gets where he removes those slippery orbs from a victim's face, or why every other scene exists only to pad out the already scant running time. In the company of these losers, however, 78 minutes seems like a lifetime. This film is the living definition of "interminable".

HEADLESS EYES has been attacked for its limp ending, but I personally rather liked it. It means the film's finally over.


13 of 18 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

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