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Faceless
Les Prédateurs de la Nuit / Los Depredadores de la Noche

France/Spain 1988
produced by
René Chateau for René Chateau Productions, Ibero Films Internacional, ATC 3000, Films de la Rochelle
directed by Jess Franco
starring Helmut Berger, Brigitte Lahaie, Telly Savalas, Christopher Mitchum, Stéphane Audran, Caroline Munro, Christiane Jean, Anton Diffring, Tilda Thamar, Howard Vernon, Florence Guérin, Gérard Zalcberg, Henri Poirier, Laure Sabardin, Amelie Chevalier, Marcel Philippot, Tony Awak, Mony Dalmès, Doris Thomas, Daniel Beretta, antonina Laurent, Isabelle O., Nicky C., Jean Tolzac, Jacques Couderc, Pascale Vital, Lina Romay, Alain Barbier, Daniel G., Thierry F.
written by Jess Franco, Fred Castle (= René Chateau), Michel Lebrun, Jean Mazarin, Pierre Ripert, music by Romano Musumarra, special effects by Jacques Gastineau

Dr Orloff

review by
Mike Haberfelner

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Ingrid Flamand's (Christiane Jean) face is horribly disfigured by an acid attack - but fortunately, her brother Frank (Helmut Berger) is a plastic surgeon who will stop at nothing to restore her beauty. Unfortunately though, even his expertise doesn't suffice to give Ingrid her beauty back - but fortunately, he is able to establish contact with Nazi doctor Moser (Anton Diffring), who, thanks to his concentration camp experiments, was able to take plastic surgery to a far higher - and crueler - level than Frank could have even dreamed of. So soon, Frank's basement starts to fill up with beautiful young women he needs for Moser's further experiments and whom he and his assistant Nathalie (Brigitte Lahaie) have abducted from various nightclubs and the like ... including Barbara (Caroline Munro), the daughter of millionaire Terry Hallen (Telly Savalas), who soon enough sends a private eye, Sam Morgan (Christopher Mitchum), on her trail.

After much to and fro, Morgan finds Barbara in a cell in Frank's basement - only to be locked in with her. And since Moser's experiments have finally proven successful and Ingrid's beauty is restored, the basement as a whole is walled in, to erase all traces of the wrongs that have been done in Frank's clinic.

It seems evil has won this time around - but wait, Terry Hallen, still worried about his daughter, lets loose the cops on the clinic.

Howard Vernon has a guest appearance as his popular character Doctor Orloff, with Lina Romay playing his eternally beautiful wife, and Stéphane Audran plays one of Frank's patients who tries to blackmail him.

 

Wow, this must be one of the greatest trash-movie casts ever assembled: Helmut Berger, porn legend Brigitte Lahaie, Telly Savalas, Howard Vernon, Anton Diffring, Lina Romay, Caroline Munro, plus Robert's son Christopher Mitchum, all directed by trash-legend Jess franco. Plus the film features some nudity and some really gruesome gore scenes, and the film probably had the highest budget of any Jess Franco-film ever. And the film is ... rather disappointing actually: The film is actually another variation on Franco's own Awful Dr Orlof from 1962 (which in turn is of course a variation on Georges Franju's Eyes without a Face from 1960), a film on which Franco over the years has done quite a few variations with varying degrees of success. However, with Faceless the plot gets a streamlined thriller-treatment, to a degree that it looks way too mainstream for a Jess Franco-film, too tame, too impersonal, too ... boring, actually. In his cheaper films, Franco always got away with some tongue-in-cheek humour, he was - out of necessity - allowed to experiment with eccentric cameramovements and set-ups (out of necessity since Franco's weird camerawork would save massive amounts of time and money), and his films were almost invariably high on good-natured sleaze. With Faceless however, the sleaze is seriously downplayed, the camerawork is textbook-style and too slick to be interesting, and there is next to no humour to lighten up the proceedings - which is a massive shame, since the film could have been great had it been directed by an unrestrained Jess Franco, and it would probably have come in at half the budget, but as it is, it's just another piece of slightly trashy horror cinema directed by a faceless (excuse the pun) director.

Still, the film, even as it is, is not all bad, a great B-cast sees to that, but it's absolutely nothing to get excited about.

 

review © by Mike Haberfelner

 

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Robots and rats,
demons and potholes,
cuddly toys and
shopping mall Santas,
love and death and everything in between,
Tales to Chill
Your Bones to

is all of that.

 

Tales to Chill
Your Bones to
-
a collection of short stories and mini-plays
ranging from the horrific to the darkly humourous,
from the post-apocalyptic
to the weirdly romantic,
tales that will give you a chill and maybe a chuckle, all thought up by
the twisted mind of
screenwriter and film reviewer
Michael Haberfelner.

 

Tales to Chill
Your Bones to

the new anthology by
Michael Haberfelner

 

Out now from
Amazon!!!

 

 

 

On the same day
a Burglar wants to kill you
and your Ex wants
to make up ...
... and for the life of it,
you can't decide
WHICH IS WORSE!!!

 

A Killer Conversation

produced by and starring
Melanie Denholme
directed by
David V.G. Davies
written by
Michael Haberfelner
starring
Ryan Hunter and
Rudy Barrow

out now on DVD