A crazed doctor kidnaps beautiful women in an attempt to remove and transplant their faces onto his own daughter’s that was torn up in a road accident. It’s a wild and somewhat thought provoking plot dealing with the extremes a man can go to for the people that he loves. This is one of cinemas masterpieces, along with Psycho, can be credited as a landmark in the modern horror genre.
Released in 1960, It’s French look and feel give it a magical element and the term ‘silver screen’ is truly effective here as the film shimmers beautifully, resembling a silent classic, dreamlike and haunting. Edith Scob virtually floats from scene to scene in her role as Christine, the Doctors daughter, wearing a mask to cover her disfigured face whose hold on reality is slowly slipping away as her father thrives for that successful skin graft. It’s atmospheric suspense and underlying sinister ideal of beauty. The love of a father, whose life devotion is surface rather than the love of a child beneath the mask can be seen as horror enough. The disposable bodies of countless beautiful young women which feed his obsession, destroyed and mutilated out of his own guilt.
It’s an amazing film, Director George Franju made a huge contribution to French cinema and to the Horror genre and here, it’s easy to see why. The final moments of this film are glorious and grotesque. Like a piece of art, once experienced, this film will stay in your thoughts.