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Scalpel (1977)

False Face (original title)
When an unhinged surgeon happens across a young woman with her face beaten beyond recognition, he sees an opportunity to put his trusty scalpel to use - hatching a plan to "reconstruct" her face in the image of his missing daughter.


John Grissmer


John Grissmer, Joseph Weintraub (original story)




Cast overview, first billed only:
Robert Lansing ... Dr. Phillip Reynolds
Judith Chapman ... Heather / Jane
Arlen Dean Snyder ... Uncle Bradley
David Scarroll David Scarroll ... Dr. Robert Dean
Sandy Martin ... Sandy
Bruce Atkins Bruce Atkins ... Bartender
Muriel Moore Muriel Moore ... Cousin Margaret
Clara Dunn Clara Dunn ... Gossipy Woman
Stan Wojno Stan Wojno ... Donald (as Stanley Wojno)
Laura Whyte Laura Whyte ... Jennifer Reynolds
Larry Quackenbush Larry Quackenbush ... Keith Jarvey
Greg Oliver Greg Oliver ... Killer
Mimi Honce Mimi Honce ... Maddie Schuster
Ellen Heard Ellen Heard ... Woman at the Party
Tad Currie Tad Currie ... Mr. Branch


Dr. Phillip, a deranged plastic surgeon, who has probably murdered his wife and who definitely has murdered his daughter's boyfriend, is distressed when he learns Phillip's, his father-in-law will. Rather than leave any money to the transparently awful son-in-law, he leaves his entire (very large) estate to the surgeon's daughter, Heather. The only problem is, the girl has run away. He hits on the scheme of re-creating his daughter's face from the ruined features of a go-go dancer, and with her cooperation bilks the estate of several disbursements, growing increasingly deranged as time goes on. Written by dvdbeaver

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis


Her face was his fortune See more »


Drama | Horror | Thriller


R | See all certifications »

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Referenced in Adjust Your Tracking (2013) See more »


After the Ball
by Charles Harris
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User Reviews

more thriller than horror, fairly entertaining but not exceptionally so
15 April 2005 | by FieCrierSee all my reviews

An old man has died, cutting out his only son from his will, as well as his other relatives, leaving five million to his granddaughter Heather. Uncle Bradley, the only son, is understandably angry. So is Dr. Reynolds, the old man's son-in-law and father to Heather. Dr. Reynolds is a plastic surgeon with definite psychotic tendencies when it comes to his family. He evidently had killed his wife, making it look like an accidental drowning while swimming, and also killed his daughter's boyfriend, making it look like an accidental drowning as a result of drunkenness.

Heather, however, isn't around to claim the inheritance. No one has seen her for a year.

Bradley and Dr. Reynolds almost run over a go-go-dancer with their car. She'd been ejected by a bouncer from a club in only her panties and high heels, and the bouncer had smashed her face into a wall several times for reasons unknown. The two men don't know where she came from, and take her to the hospital. Without telling Bradley, the Doctor rebuilds her face so she looks like his daughter, books a phony airline flight for her, then takes her home and teaches her how to impersonate Heather. They'll split the five million evenly. They begin a sexual relationship as well, making the Doc quite the pervert for being able to do that with his daughter's exact likeness!

Complicating things are the fact that the phony Heather can't play piano like the real one, Bradley grows suspicious, and the real Heather quietly shows up again.

Curiously, the other film directed by John Grissmer, Blood Rage, also deals with identical twins - though the characters are actual identical twins played by one actor, here they're identical by virtue of surgery and played by one actress. The fake twins are more or less act the same in False Face (which I saw on video as Scalpel), while in Blood Rage they're more pronouncedly different.

One of the chief problems with the movie for me was that it felt overlong. It was fairly engrossing, but at the same time nothing terribly special.

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Release Date:

January 1977 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Woman of the Shadows See more »

Filming Locations:

Covington, Georgia, USA See more »

Company Credits

Production Co:

PJ Productions See more »
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Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
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