5.8/10
208
15 user 7 critic

Pyro... The Thing Without a Face (1964)

Fuego (original title)
Not Rated | | Horror, Thriller | 22 January 1964 (USA)
A married man has a brief affair, then goes back to his wife and children. His jilted mistress, believing that if he had no more family he'd come back to her, sets fire to his house, hoping... See full summary »

Directors:

Julio Coll, Luis García (uncredited)

Writers:

Sidney W. Pink (story), Sidney W. Pink (screenplay) | 1 more credit »
Reviews
1 win. See more awards »

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Cast

Cast overview:
Barry Sullivan ... Vance Pierson
Martha Hyer ... Laura Blanco
Sherry Moreland Sherry Moreland ... Verna Pierson
Luis Prendes ... Police Inspector
Fernando Hilbeck ... Julio
Soledad Miranda ... Liz Frade
Carlos Casaravilla ... Frade
Paco Morán Paco Morán ... Doctor (as Francisco Moran)
Marisenka Marisenka ... Isabella Blanco
Hugo Pimentel ... Gaspar
Pilarin Gomez Pilarin Gomez ... Sally Pierson
Eric Chapman Eric Chapman
Roberto Llamas Roberto Llamas
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Storyline

A married man has a brief affair, then goes back to his wife and children. His jilted mistress, believing that if he had no more family he'd come back to her, sets fire to his house, hoping to kill them. The man, unsuccessfully trying to rescue them, is horribly burned. After he undergoes an operation to reconstruct his face, he begins to plot his revenge against his former mistress. Written by frankfob2@yahoo.com

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

Look at this "man" and BEWARE! There is nothing human about him except his desires! See more »

Genres:

Horror | Thriller

Certificate:

Not Rated | See all certifications »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Vincent Price was originally slated for the role of Vance Pierson. See more »

Goofs

In the new house, the home plate "Se Vende" (in Spanish) is either bilingual in English ("For Sale"), which certainly did not happen in Spain... See more »

Connections

Referenced in Best of the Worst: Our VHS Collection (2019) See more »

User Reviews

 
Before there was "Fatal Attraction," there was...
13 April 2005 | by dwr246See all my reviews

Love is a passion that burns like a fire. So it has been said for centuries. This cautionary tale takes a rather literal view of that assertion, and brings us a surprisingly good thriller.

Vance Pierson (Barry Sullivan) is an engineer who moves to Spain for work related reasons. Accompanying him are his wife Verna (Sherry Moreland), and daughter Sally (oddly, this small part doesn't appear to be credited to the actress who played her). They are a happy family, crammed into a tiny apartment. So Vance decides to buy a house. He goes to look at a rather impressive one, and arrives just in time to stop the owner, Laura (Martha Hyer), from burning it down so she can collect the insurance money. While Vance convinces her that she'll do better with the proceeds from a sale of the house, sparks of a different kind fly between the two of them, and soon they are involved in a passionate affair. However, when first a co-worker, and then Verna learn of the affair, Vance decides it's time to end it. As he is breaking things off with Laura, he makes the mistake of telling her that if it weren't for Verna and Sally, he would be with her. Laura decides that perhaps the best thing to do is to get rid of Verna and Sally, and since she has already mapped out a strategy for burning down the house, she simply waits until Vance has gone out for the evening and Verna and Sally are asleep upstairs, and then she sets fire to it. Vance returns unexpectedly, and runs into the burning house to try to save his wife and daughter. Unfortunately, all he succeeds in doing is getting badly burned himself while Verna and Sally die in the fire. Laura goes to visit Vance in the hospital, and when she confirms Vance's suspicions that she set the fire, he orders her out of his room, telling her that if he ever comes across her again, he'll kill her. Horrified, Laura leaves. The action shifts forward a few years, and Vance, now horribly disfigured, and wearing a mask all the time, is a roustabout with a carnival. For some strange reason, the owner's daughter, Liz (Soledad Miranda) is smitten with him, but given Vance's past, he is understandably unwilling to get involved with her. And then one day the carnival arrives in the town where Laura lives...

Given the setup, this could have been a really cheesy movie, but the writing is surprisingly good, giving the story twists and turns that keep it from becoming predictable, and a few nasty shocks that definitely grab the viewers' attention. Vance's ultimate revenge on Laura is presented in a way that is not satisfying, helping to point out that perhaps revenge was not the right solution to his problems. All in all, a more thoughtful script than one would expect from this kind of movie.

From a production standpoint, the best part of the film was watching Laura set up the fire by splashing gasoline throughout the house, taking the added step up hooking the plumbing up to a gas can, and then setting a fuse to give herself time to get away. When the fire spreads through the house, it is an exciting, if frightening scene. Contrasted with that, the scene where Vance renders Laura unconscious, and sets her apartment on fire is much tamer, helping to make his revenge on her unsatisfying. And the makeup used to show Vance's face when he reveals his disfigurement was also impressive.

The acting is a bit stylized, as was typical of the time period, but overall it is good. Sullivan gives an excellent portrayal of a complex man, delving into the dark corners of the mind of a man who first succumbs to lust, and then is driven by guilt and anger. Hyer's performance sizzles. Her beauty bewitches, and while her actions are deplorable, her regret at the outcome of what she has caused gives you a small amount of sympathy for her. Moreland's betrayed wife is well done, and the uncredited actress who plays Sally turns in a good, if occasionally cloying performance. The only real puzzle is Miranda, who gives us no clue as to what her character's attraction to Vance is all about, thus while her actions speak of good intentions, they make little sense, since we have no context in which to put them.

A dark, cautionary tale, surprisingly well done. A curiosity piece, but one well worth seeing.


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Details

Country:

Spain | USA

Language:

English | Spanish

Release Date:

22 January 1964 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

A Cold Wind from Hell See more »

Filming Locations:

Viveiro, Lugo, Galicia, Spain

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Sound Mix:

Mono

Color:

Color (photographed in Eastmancolor)| Color (color by Panacolor)
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