Wednesday, October 28, 2009

THE RETURN OF 31 DAYS OF HORROR: #25 Eyes Without A Face

And I'm back, sorry about the unGodly long wait between the last two articles. I've been busy being up to no good. Anyway time to play catch up. So let's get right to it.

Don’t hold the awful Billy Idol song against it. This film is something special. The things a doting parent will do for their child. Sweet sixteen parties, full rides at college, serial killings. When the daughter of a famous surgeon is horridly disfigured in a car crash, he does what any sensible parent would do. He stalks the streets of Paris killing beautiful women and then tearing off their faces so he can graft them onto his daughters. That’s devotion I tells ya.

The film is like a demented fairy tale and together with Peeping Tom and Psycho it broke horror out of the “big bug” funk it had been in for the past 15 previous years or so. While not as iconic as the latter, or as searing as the former It has a surreal, sickening beauty to it. As the disfigured girl mournfully witnesses what’s being done in her name with two unbearably expressive eyes that peer through a blank plastic mask. The film is truly horrifying, with its cold ruthless villain made all the more terrifying by the fact that he acts out of love. This movie is better than scary; it’s haunting.

If you happen to catch this on the Criterion DVD, check out the director’s documentary on Parisian slaughterhouses. Between it and the film, I guarantee you won’t get good nights sleep.

1 comment:

Will Errickson said...

I paid a chunk of change for this on a bootleg VHS tape in the early days of eBay. First heard of it thru Clive Barker. Amazing. Kind of afraid to watch it again. I've read--somewhere--that Hitchcock was inspired by this to do PSYCHO. But you're absolutely right; this, that, & PEEPING TOM (along w/ the Hammer films) truly reinvigorated horror for the modern era. Who could envision the clinical body horrors of a David Cronenberg without this?