Moody terror movie about a mad doctor who removes the faces of gorgeous girls and attempts to graft them onto the ruined head of his disfiguring daughter . It deals with a prestigious but crazed surgeon/scientist named Dr. Génessier (Pierre Brasseur), feeling guilty over his intimate daughter's (Edith Scob) facial disfigurement is helped by his assistant Louise (Alida Valli) to kidnap beautiful young women , one of them is Edna (Juliette Mayniel). His beloved daughter is called Christiane (Edith Scob), whose head has been entirely spoiled in a car accident and whose face is so horrible that she wears a mask . All the experiments fail, but he attempts , without success , to transfer their faces and the victims die, but Génessier keeps trying again , but his guinea pig turns out to be his own daughter . Meanwhile , some Police Inspectors (Rignault and Claude Brasseur) are investigating the grisly killings .
Austerily marvelous terror film that contains thrills , chills and haunting poetic fantasy . In this wonderful as well as terrible flick , George Franju established his uniquely poetic and visually striking style . This splendid picture is generally characterized by unforgettable images that owed a great deal to early cinema in general and German Expressionism in particular and results to be a symbolic attack on the ethics of science . Although the film passed European censors upon its original release in 1960, the disturbing facial surgery scene still caused controversy . It was reported that several audience members fainted during the surgery scene . Originally released in the US in an edited version titled "The Horror Chamber of Dr. Faustus" , an odd title considering there's no one named Dr. Faustus in the film . Director John Carpenter once suggested that selecting the mask that Michael Myers wore in Halloween (1978) was influenced by Edith Scob's mask in this film and equally in recent movie (2011) by Pedro Almodovar titled "The Skin I Live In" . Good acting by Pierre Brasseur as a brilliant but demented researcher/scientific/surgeon haunted by past tragedy who abducts girls removing their faces and tries to graft them onto the head on his beloved daughter . Evocative and imaginative cinematography by Eugen Shuftan . Enjoyable musical score by Maurice Jarre , composing in his usual and agreeable style .
This classic terror motion picture , a classic in some circles , was stunningly directed by Georges Franju who never considered the film to be a horror story, but instead felt it was tale of "anguish" . Initial releases of the film were met with negative reactions from film critics , while the general critical reaction had been poor , however ,today is considered to be a masterpiece . One French critic stated the film was "in a minor genre and quite unworthy of Franju's abilities . Franju responded by saying that the film was his attempt to get the minor genre to be taken seriously. Rating : Better than average , well worth watching .
George Franju was a magnificent filmmaker but one of the underrated directors of French cinema , being his feature debut was "Head Against the Wall"(1959) . His reputation was strengthened with the Eyes without of face (1960); Judex (1963), a tribute to French film serial pioneer Louis Feuillade in 1963; and the Jean Cocteau adaptation Thomas l'imposteur (1965), though in the last 15 years of his life he was sadly neglected.
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