The initial release of the film was met with negative reactions from film critics. One French critic stated the film was "in a minor genre and quite unworthy of his [director Georges Franju] abilities." Franju responded by saying that the film was his attempt to get the minor genre to be taken seriously.
When the film appeared in the Edinburgh Film Festival in 1960 it was reported that seven audience members fainted during the surgery scene. Director Georges Franju responded "Now I know why Scotsmen wear skirts."
In 1984 Billy Idol released the single "Eyes Without a Face" from the album "Rebel Yell" (1983). The song features background vocals by Idol's then-girlfriend Perri Lister who sings in the chorus the phrase "les yeux sans visage" which is the French translation for "eyes without a face" and the original French title of this film.