A tale of a brilliant surgeon’s obsessive quest to amend his daughter’s disfigurement, this stunning French horror from 1960 is still a cinematic delight, more than half a century after its original release.
By definition, ‘horror’ should be ‘horrifying’, though this fact seems to have become lost amongst the myriad of grim gore-fests produced today. Eyes Without a Face is refreshingly disturbing – juxtaposing calculated moments of shocking blood with sinister themes of morality.
It also looks creepy, particularly if you have a fear of old-fashioned hospitals. The black and white visuals perfectly set off the scary nature of the dingy beds and the cold, lethal steel of surgical equipment.
A huge amount of comparison can be drawn with Pedro Almodovar’s most recent film, the excellent The Skin I Live In. Starring Antonio Banderas as a virtual carbon copy of this film’s neurotic protagonist, there are also many more similarities, particularly plot-wise, that betray its unquestionable influence. While The Skin I Live In is based on a book, there’s no doubt that Almodovar is attempting to pay homage to Eyes Without a Face.
Now seen as far beyond its time, this fantastic horror is evidently still having a profound effect on its genre. It’s essential viewing for those who profess a love for all things terrifyingly weird and wonderful, as well as cineastes in general. Seeing it on the big screen is ideal, but a DVD will suffice.