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When model Barbara Hallen disappears in France, her father's private detective traces her steps to a private plastic surgery clinic run by Dr.Flamand.

Director:

Jesús Franco (as Jess Franco)

Writers:

René Chateau (story) (as Fred Castle), Pierre Ripert (adaptation) | 3 more credits »
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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Helmut Berger ... Docteur Flamand
Brigitte Lahaie ... Nathalie
Telly Savalas ... Terry Hallen
Christopher Mitchum ... Morgan (as Chris Mitchum)
Stéphane Audran ... Mme Sherman (as Stephane Audran)
Caroline Munro ... Barbara Hallen
Christiane Jean Christiane Jean ... Ingrid Flamand
Anton Diffring ... Docteur Moser
Tilda Thamar ... Mme François
Howard Vernon ... Docteur Orloff
Florence Guérin Florence Guérin ... Florence Guerin
Gérard Zalcberg ... Gordon (as Gerard Zalcberg)
Henri Poirier Henri Poirier ... Commissaire Legris
Laure Sabardin Laure Sabardin ... La receptionniste
Amelie Chevalier Amelie Chevalier ... Mélissa
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Storyline

A model named Barbara Hallen has disappeared and her father gets private detective Sam Morgan to go to Paris to find his daughter. Barbara's trail leads Morgan to a plastic surgery clinic owned by Dr. Flamand. Morgan's investigation reveals the horrifying secret behind the Doctor's miracle cures which is blood and organs taken from kidnapped young women. As Morgan's investigation closes witnesses are eliminated one by one, each in a more horrible way. Written by Chris Mayo <cmayo@thezone.net>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

If there is but one life, there are several ways to die See more »

Genres:

Horror | Thriller

Certificate:

See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
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Details

Country:

Spain | France

Language:

English

Release Date:

22 June 1988 (France) See more »

Also Known As:

Faceless See more »

Filming Locations:

Paris, France

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Mono

Color:

Color (Fujicolor)

Aspect Ratio:

1.66 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

On the American version, the last line of the film spoken by Telly Savalas is in the French language. What the line actually translates to is "Mrs. Ginny, get me out on the first flight to Paris" See more »

Alternate Versions

In Nova Scotia, Canada the movie was not approved when initially submitted for a rating. After editing, it was re-rated "Restricted". See more »

Connections

Referenced in Fear, Panic & Censorship (2000) See more »

Soundtracks

Mais Que Bonita
Written by Romano Musumarra, Walter Martino and C. Welsman
EMI-Pathe Marconi
See more »

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User Reviews

 
Ultra gory later day Franco
21 April 2003 | by Bogey ManSee all my reviews

Spanish exploitation/sleaze/horror king Jess Franco's "Faceless" (Spanish, French, 1988) is one of his more interesting works and has a remarkably bigger budget, too, when compared to some of his older and duller films, like "El Sádico de Notre-Dame" (1974) with its numerous aka titles to name just one. Faceless has a very typical story that is like in his 1962 classic horror film "Gritos en la noche" aka "The Awful dr. Orloff" and like in that film, Howard Vernon plays "Orloff" in Faceless, too. The plot however is very thin but still the film never feels boring or too long thanks to some interesting elements in the film.

A beautiful French female gets her face ruined by some crazy woman who throws acid on her face. Her determined brother is a doctor and promises to restore her beauty and make her look an attractive girl again. This he will achieve by kidnapping young females to his clinic with the help of his nurses and a Morpho-like monster (referring to the Orloff classic from 1962), and it is not too long before they kidnap a model girl whose father starts to worry about his daughter's disappearance and so he sends a one-faced cop to France to search for her. So there's nothing too special or never-seen in the plot but still Franco manages to maintain our interest with pretty good actors, pacing and (of course) graphic gore all of which are not always present in his other, worse, movies.

This is not a typical Franco flick at all as it hasn't got gratuitous nudity and plenty of it. Of course, since this is directed by him, there are lusty characters who crave for sexual pleasure almost all the time and this animality side of human nature is a real theme in some of his classics, most notably his 1981 women-in-prison film "Sadomania - Hölle der Lust" and the 1977 classic "Liebesbriefe einer portugiesischen Nonne" aka "Love Letters of a Portuguese Nun", both of which depict humans as pretty much animals living only to satisfy their instincts for violence and especially sex, the latter film also having some commentary about church and hypocrisy that can be related to it. But these things are not so "deep" in Faceless anymore and the brief scenes of sexual intercourse and playings feel a little forced and unnecessary but fortunately they are as mentioned very brief.

There's one very interesting character here, and that is the nazi doctor who has done some horrifying experiments on living humans back in the war camps, and he is sent to complete the face transplantation for the girl. There are also some interesting issues about superficiality inside modern society in which external beauty is the most important thing for some/most, and this accompanied with the presence of the most wicked of them all, the nazi doctor, gives the film a fair amount of thoughts about rotten and disturbed society and how far its inhabitants may be ready to go in order to reach the selfish goal and save their own skin (not pun) at the expense of others. As the real life atrocity nazi character is there it all becomes more harrowing and haunting, especially when he indeed looks quite scary physically, too.

The ending leaves some things open but still it is pretty effective and crystallizes the theme of the film described above. It is obvious this film is so easy to sit through as it really has something more than just graphic gore and face mutilation, things that would have been the only things in this film if some less ambitious director had made it. And Franco always (well, almost) seems to be very interested to add something deeper in his (exploitation) films which is nice.

The gore and exploitation elements are pretty strong and present throughout the film. A needle gets plunged into the victim's eye in a zooming Franco close-up, a character gets drilled to the head in a pretty outrageous scene, but the most outrageous scenes involve the facial experiments and how good the special effects are here. It is "a little" more graphic than in John Woo's "Face Off" (1997), and Franco this time really is able to concentrate on the details and close-ups as there are nothing to be shamed of in the effects work this time. The gore and amount of it is pretty extreme so no matter what themes they had in mind, exploitation was still the main thing and those scenes pretty much the reason this film was made for in the first place.

Faceless is easily among the easiest to watch and more noteworthy films of film maker Jess Franco. It has not laughable over-acting, it has some professional actors in it, too (like Telly Savalas in a role of the father of the missing girl), it has some genuinely interesting issues which all are presented in a form of a traditional almost plot-free but well paced gore film. One major negative side for me is the awful 80's disco/pop soundtrack that plays throughout the movie and its various night club scenes and sounds like Wham or George Michael and so it is not a great delight to my ears. The plot is also full of holes and things that don't get explained (like what is in fact the status of a murder clinic of that kind?!) but still it could be much worse and ridiculous and Faceless is a respectable 5/10 achievement by the legendary Spaniard.


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