Thursday, July 31, 2008

Faceless (1988)


When renowned plastic surgeon, Dr. Flamand, his sister (Ingrid), and his sanguinary assistant and lover Nathalie are approached in a dark parking garage by a very displeased former patient with an unsightly facial scar (who happens also to brandish a container filled with acid). The encounter ends with Flamand's sister being splashed in the face with the acid, when attempting to shield her brother from the container's contents.

Ingrid does survive the confrontation, but her once beautiful face is now marred by the corrosive acid. Rendering her a prisoner of her brother's home, where she remains in her room languishing in misery.

Feeling guilty for her disfigurement, Flamand begins to consider a radical facial transplant procedure, that would possibly restore his sister's former glory, yet when confronted with the reality that no beautiful woman would willingly subject herself to such butchery, he and Nathalie consider other plans to obtain live specimens.

The various adult clubs that thrive in Paris, make the hunt for beautiful girls that much easier for Flamand and Nathalie, who lure their victims back to their home where they seduce them, before throwing them in a locked cell until any procedures are attempted. Their plans seemingly go off without a hitch, until a father of one of the kidnapped girls hires a private detective to find his missing daughter.

Will Flamand restore his sister's former attributes, or will they suffer the consequences of their murderous acts?

Mmmm...face transplants.

In Conclusion:

Franco had his largest budget for this film. A large portion of it seemingly going to the gore effects, which are impressive. The FX ranging from an eyeball stabbing and botched face transplants to messy chainsaw dismemberment courtesy of one of the creepiest looking bastards in cinema history (Nathalie's mute accomplice, Gordon). Now that is a face only a mother could love.

Franco's trademark fixation for the zoom lense, and fetish based softcore (or hardcore depending on which cut of the myriad films he's been involved with.) are nowhere to be found in this film. Yet an overwhelmingly sleazy undertone is more then present, which is no surprise considering the decadence of the 80s.
Unfortunately, like most Franco titles there are a few things that hindered my viewing experience. First being that Helmut Berger looks unbelievably bored throughout a large portion of the film. It's rather odd seeing him so subdued. Another being the soundtrack, which is downright awful. (A common flaw that many viewers mention.)

Despite that, this would be a good starting point for those that are unfamiliar with Franco, I think this would be one of his more accessible films.
And the gore, the glorious gore! And Telly Savalas. I love Telly Savalas.

Screen Captures: (All screen caps are taken by me, please do not use without my permission.)