A series of strange events is happening around Paris: A wealthy industrialist's daughter (Caroline Munro) disappears whilst on a Parisian fashion photo-shoot. A revenge attack by a disgruntled patient results in a doctor's sister being horribly disfigured with acid. Women are being caged and examined by a bizarre medical team. Will private detective Chris Mitchum unravel the mystery before all hell breaks loose?
More importantly, do we care?Well, this all depends on whether or not Jess Franco is your type of director. To some, he is a hack of the worst kind - to others, the guy is an artist..... Whatever you say about him - he is certainly prolific - he has directed over 180 films!
I have to admit to having a bit of a soft spot for Franco's films. Not so much as I actually think his movies are good (normally, they aren't) but they are always entertaining - if not for the crazy direction, gore or sex, but for the casting. Faceless is no exception. Here Franco clearly has a bigger budget than he is normally trusted with, and he uses the money wisely by selecting one hell of a cult cast - just take a look at this lot: Chris Mitchum, Caroline Munroe, Telly Savalas, Helmut Berger, Stephane Audran, Anton Drifting, Brigitte Lahaie - and, if you watch closely, the original Dr. Orloff is in here too (Howard Vernon) accompanied by Franco regular Lina Romay.
Franco makes really bizarre choices throughout this movie from the strange pop music score, the lack of any overt sexuality that Franco is famous for (even weirder as one of the stars, Brigitte Lahaie was certainly up for it in countless porno movies.....perhaps the fact that her boyfriend produced the movie might have something to do with this omission).
The outrageous gore effects are by Jacques Gastineau, of whom Franco calls a genius on various occasions in the commentary track. Well, take a look at the screenshots - the effects are sub-Fraggle Rock in terms of quality - I was amazed that in every effect Gastineau somehow managed to involve a Girls World make-up head.....He must have been having a bad day.
The film seems to fizzle out of ideas and not even offer an attempt at a satisfying conclusion.
The bottom line for this film, even with all these negative comments, is simple: If you are a Franco fan, this disc is still a must have. If you aren't a fan, or have never watched one of his films before, this isn't necessarily the best place to start - but it is more glossy and accessible than some of his earlier, superior pictures. However, it won't convert many over into his way of film making.
Our Review Ethos