This is one of Jesus Franco’s finest moments, a stunning film which flows well and has all the usual charm of a Franco flick, although this time with quite a substantial budget which he uses well and gathering a brilliant cast of 80’s stars. Helmut Berger, Brigitte Lahaie, Telly Savalas, Caroline Munro Anton Diffring and Howard Vernon. Scortcha.
The plot is reinvention of Eye’s Without a Face. A scientists wife is disfigured, resulting in his crazed actions to kidnap women from his plastic surgery clinic in order to rebuild her beauty. When a model (Munro) goes missing, her father, a rich NY business man (Savalas) employs a detective (Chris Mitchum) to find her.
This is all a bit glossier, more professional and coherent to Franco’s usual films: The budget is seriously used well. It looks great, with real characters with great dialogue. The effects are also very impressive. A surgical scene of a face being removed is very good, although, later a scene with a head being removed by chainsaw is not too bad, but improved by the perversity of the weapon wielder lift the decapitation for a kiss. Classy. Another great scene, and one which the film is probably most famous for is the needle inserted into an eyeball by a nurse. A glorious effect. Also, a stunning power drill in the head is of equal kudos.
This is not up to the usual arty standard of Franco’s greats, but it has a real solid feel and a proper story with great actors rather than being carried by nakedness, violence and artistic camera work.
One final word, look out for the bloke at the bar, about 20 mins in. A shifty looking bloke who sniffs his glass rather than drinks it. What’s that all about?