Written by: Ken Potocki on June 6th, 2011
Theatrical Release Date: France, 1987
Director: Jesus Franco
Writers: René Chateau, Dominique Eudes, Jesus Franco, Michel Lebrun, Jean Mazarin, Pierre Ripert
Cast: Helmut Berger, Brigitte Lahaie, Chris Mitchum, Telly Savalas, Stéphane Audran, Caroline Munro
DVD released: February 24th, 2004
Approximate running time: 99 minutes
Aspect Ratio: 1.85:1 Anamorphic Widescreen
Sound: Dolby Digital Mono English
DVD Release: Shriek Show / Media Blasters
Region Coding: Region 1 NTSC
Retail Price: $16.98
At a fashion shoot, super model Barbara Hallen (Caroline Munro) is escorted out for cocaine. But the woman leading her to the cocaine is merely Nathalie in disguise. They drug Barabra, kidnap her, and lock her in one of the four chambers in the basement of Flammand’s clinic. They kill the woman who was in the fourth cell because she was choking Nathalie. So the doctor’s henchman Gordon (Gerard Zalcberg) cuts her arms off.
In the United States, Barbara’s father, Terry Hallen (Savalas) is lounging in his office in New York. He calls into his office his old partner from the Vietnam War, Sam Morgan (Mitchum). He tells Morgan all about his daughter’s disappearance, and hires him for large amounts of money to go to Paris, to return the daughter to him. As all this happens, back at the clinic we are introduced to many characters such as Madame Sherman (Stephane Audran) who is an elderly woman in a wheel-chair who just had leg surgery, later on in the film, we are introduced to Nazi doctor Karl Heinz Moser (Anton Diffring), and actress Florence Guerin (playing herself), along with a nosy receptionist (Laure Sabardin). Will Morgan find Barbara in Flammand’s clinic before its to late? Or will the doctor have prevailed with his mad plan?
Almost all horror films fans are familiar with Jess Franco. He has done several low budget films, along with some memorable films. One of his regulars, Howard Vernon has a small roll in here as a character of a previous Franco film series, Dr. Orloff. Brigitte Lahaie who is an infamous exploitation / XXX rated actress, who also appeared in Jess Franco’s Dark Mission (1988). The atmosphere of Faceless is a very strong atmosphere, from beginning to end, you get the sense of richness, glossy-ness, neon, just a very rich, etiquette to an atmosphere. This atmosphere is also booted up a lot because of the jazzy pop songs that play throughout. I thought Romano Musumarra did a great job with the score. He did good compositions for Day of Atonement as well. Vincenzo Thoma & Carol Welsman perform great songs. Acting was ok, but this film does deliver kind of slow throughout.
Chris Mitchum does overplay his role at points, and does act over the top a lot, especially when he tries to squiggle information out of people. The Doctor & nurse play their roles ok. I felt Telly Savalas & Chris Mitchums roles should have been swapped, I would’ve much rathered see Savalas in France. Faceless is an ok film, but its not the best, and not all horror fans would like it. The film also delivers on one of the worst endings I have ever seen to a movie. The last bit of the dialogue is in French for some reason. (Luckily, I can speak French so I understood it, but its still bizarre)
Shriek Show has done a great release of FACELESS. A lot of cool special features, interviews, commentaries, trailers. You can also buy it in the “EuroTrash” triple feature by Shriek Show. Good picture, widescreen, dubbing is a little effy, but still, not all that bad.
So Faceless, it has a very powerful, rich atmosphere, the songs by Thoma & Welsman I thought were a great add to the film, (although the main song plays like 10 times), but I hated the ending, I thought it was too dark & twisted. So Faceless, I thought it was ok, but its not for everybody.