After causing an accident that left his daughter Christiane severely disfigured, the brilliant surgeon Dr. Génessier works tirelessly to give the girl a new face. He does so, however, by kidnapping young women and attempting face transplants. He has been woefully unsuccessful to date. The doctor's world begins to collapse around him when his daughter realizes just what he has been doing.Written by
Original literary source: 'Les Yeux sans visage', novel by Jean Redon, published by Editions Fleuve Noir (Collection 'Angoisse' N° 56), Paris, 1959, 222 pages. See more »
When she's not wearing it, Christiane's mask is very thick and heavy and would only seem to cover her face. When she puts it on, however, it is very thin, close-fitting, and seamlessly covers her jawline and the underside of her chin, revealing that the mask itself is a prop while the actress probably wears a combination of makeup and prosthetics. See more »
The films initial 1962 release to the US was edited and the film was re-titled. The surgery scene was cut down for content, while scenes that made Dr. Genessier seem sympathetic (particularly the scene where he cares for an ailing boy) were also edited. See more »
An early French chiller that set a benchmark in horror film making, with its unflinching depiction of horrific acts of surgery. The films sole purpose is to shock you in revealing things never before seen in 1959. Unfortunately, we are now in the age of cheap teen horror flicks and action films that feel the need to throw gore in our faces at every possible moment thus diminishing the impact of this film when watching it. Especially now we're in the 21st century, many of the scenes are comparatively tame. This does not mean, however, I disliked the film. Quite the contrary. Eyes Without A Face contains some truly terrifying images that make the hairs stand up on the back of your neck. The use of a woman in a white mask (a technique used so well in films such as Halloween and Friday the 13th) provides the films more memorable and spine tingling moments. It's the clever use of shade and light that make this possible as the director and cinematographer provide us with long -lasting images to chill to the bone.
The pace of the film is also worth a mention. Franju (the director) keeps us on the edge of our seat as the rich upper class couple lead young women into their house in order to remove their face! For some the pace could prove rather too slow - as in truth it did for me once or twice. But the payoffs from the slow pace offset any problems posed by it. It actually comes as a relief from the many directors who, in this day, believe that quick cuts and loud noise provide terror. Maybe it's time they delved back into the likes of this film, Halloween and Psycho to provide them with a few inspirations. I can think of only a handful of directors that have provided me with any real fright in the past ten years - M. Night Shyamalan (The Sixth Sense and Signs), Daniel Myrick and Eduardo Sanchez (The Blair Witch Project) and Wes Craven (Scream) are some of the few I can mention. Other films like the truly awful Jeepers Creepers and Thirteen Ghosts, which served no real purpose what-so-ever, provided me with quick cuts and loud noises - neither of which particularly endeared me to their cause. Call me an old fuddy duddy, but it's time they made more horrors like they did in the old days - films with real suspense and images which truly frighten; films like this one.
Well, that's my moan over with. I gave this film 8/10, for those that care.
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