Written by: Michael Den Boer on November 2nd, 2009
Theatrical Release Date: Italy, 1974
Director: Sergio Garrone
Writer: Sergio Garrone
Cast: Klaus Kinski, Katia Christine, Marzia Damon, Carmen Silva, Stella Calderoni, Romano De Gironcoli, Alessandro Perrella, Carla Mancini, Luigi Bevilacqua, Bruno Arié, Osiride Pevarello, Amedeo Timpani, Pasquale Toscano, Ayhan Isik, Erol Tas
DVD released: November 10th, 2009
Approximate running time: 90 minutes
Aspect Ratio: 1.66:1 Letterboxed Widescreen
Sound: Dolby Digital Mono Italian
DVD Release: Mya Communication
Region Coding: Region 0 NTSC
Retail Price: $24.95
Synopsis: Professor Nijinski, continues the controversial experiments that lead to the demise of his mentor Baron Ivan Rassimov. The Baron died tragically in a fire which also left his daughter Tanja, who also happens to be Professor Nijinski horribly disfigured. In ordered to give his wife Tanja back the beauty she has lost. The flesh of young women is procured by Professor Nijinski.
Evil Face was written and directed by Sergio Garrone who is more known for his contributions Nazi-exploitation genre SS Experiment Love Camp and SS Camp: Women’s Hell and the Gothic western Django the Bastard. Evil Face’s Italian language title is La Mano Che Nutre La Morte which roughly translates into “The Hand That Feeds the Dead”. Around the same time that Sergio Garrone directed Evil Face (La Mano Che Nutre La Morte), he directed a similar themed film with many of the same cast and locations titled “Le Amanti Del Mostro”. Besides working as the cinematographer on Evil Face (La Mano Che Nutre La Morte) and Le Amanti Del Mostro, Emore Galeassi’s only other credit includes Sergio Grieco’s The Sinful Nuns of Saint Valentine. The special effects for Evil Face (La Mano Che Nutre La Morte) were created by Carlo Rambaldi who diverse filmography includes The Frightened Woman, Lizard in a Woman’s Skin, Deep Red, Alien, Possession and E.T.: The Extra-Terrestrial.
The plot for Evil Face (La Mano Che Nutre La Morte) bears many striking similarities to Georges Franju’s Eyes without a Face. The simplicity of the plot works in this films favor with Professor Nijinski’s motivations quickly established. The film then is able to focus on his fiendish experiments. To keeps thing interesting and the story moving the plot introduces a character who sister was abducted by Professor Nijinski who has worked her way into his life. Finding proof of Professor Nijinski’s diabolical deeds is not an easy feat since the local law enforcement walks lightly around the accusations because of comes from one of the most respected families in the community. Even though the plot throws out a few twists along the way, the biggest reveal saved for the films climax. The skin grafting scenes are effective and gory. The bulk of the blood / gore in this film are during these skin grafting sequences. It is not the amount of screen time which makes a performance, it is what you do with said screen time and once again Klaus Kinski delivers another superb performance that is lesser hands would have been forgettable. In fact the single reason why this film works as well as it does is because of Klaus Kinski’s performance. Even though the rest of the cast tend to get overshadow by Klaus Kinski, another performance of note is Katia Christine in the dual role of Masha / Tanja Nijinski.
Evil Face is presented in a letterboxed widescreen that retains the film’s original aspect ratio. This transfer has been flagged for progressive playback. This looks like a VHS sourced transfer as there are some source defects that are inherent to VHS. Colors and flesh tones look good even if they do look a tad off at times. Details range from general good to average with the bulk of the content falling into the generally good range. The darker scenes tend to look to dark and the daytime scenes tend to look overly bright.
This release comes with one audio option a Dolby Digital mono mix in Italian and removable English subtitles have been provided. The subtitles are easy to read and follow. There is some yet noticeable distortion and background noise. Despite these imperfections the audio is a more than serviceable presentation.
Extras include a gallery with eleven images (posters, lobby cards, CD Soundtrack art and VHS box art). Overall Evil Face gets a transfer that is on par with Mya’s audio / video presentations for their The Legend of Blood Castle DVD release.