Faceless (1987, Jess Franco)
Ah, Christmas. The season of goodwill, peace on earth, and diabolical Nazi doctors performing human face transplants.
It can mean but one thing – it’s a Jess Franco Christmas movie.
Okay, so it’s barely a Christmas movie, but look here –
No, not at the boobs, to the left – a Christmas tree! They do reference the season of bankruptcy and consumerism a few times, and it all ends with a jolly soiree on New Years Eve, so I am officially declaring Faceless a Christmas film, alongside Home Alone and Muppet Christmas Carol.
Faceless is another of Franco’s remakes of the French horror classic Eyes Without a Face, a film he first, ummm, adapted in 1962, as The Awful Dr Orloff. 25 years later and he’s at it again, even featuring a cameo from Orloff, played by the same actor, good old Howard Vernon.
Faceless is that most rare and precious of commodities – Uncle Jess working with a big budget and real actors. Franco haters can breathe a sigh of relief (or perhaps disbelief), as Franco rises to the challenge and delivers a professional, well made movie that also features all his trademarks and obsessions.
The lead role sadly falls to the worst actor in the cast, Christopher (son of Robert) Mitchum, a man so wooden he can’t even smile like a real person.
What the fuck is that even meant to be?
Crikey, even the corpse is more convincing. Luckily, the film is stolen at every turn by the wonderful Brigitte Lahaie, former porn actress and Jean Rollin muse.
Whether stabbing a needle into someone’s eye, seducing a famous actress into a three-way or running a respectable health clinic, Brigitte is always on hand to grab Faceless by the collar and drag it out of the doldrums, should the need arise.
There’s enough gore and yes, even story here to satisfy non-Franco fans. So in the spirit of giving, here’s my Christmas gift to you all – a hearty recommendation of Faceless.
What, you want more? No problem. Here’s the theme tune, which plays at least once every ten minutes.
Merry Christmas, ya filthy animals.