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Friday, August 3, 2018

Curse of the Faceless Man (1958)




It is Friday and that means another fabulous Fifties horror/sci-fi review. No giant bug or alien invasion today. Curse of the Faceless Man is an old school ghost story. That is if by ghost you expect a body to reanimate and kidnap a lady. Should be interesting.

If you have ever seen those casts made of the victims of Pompeii, then you know what the “monster” in this movie looks like. Basically, it is a giant white plaster beast that comes to life to settle some business. The movie starts off with a worker digging up a box of valuables and the “body”. The body is that of a slave who was stealing from the Egyptian section of the city when the volcano erupted which lead him to be covered in the secret embalming chemicals stored there. The creature wakes up when near Tina, the girlfriend of our main character, and kills people until he can finally kidnap her. Programmed into his brain is the desire to escape the city and to that end he tries carrying her to the sea. That is basically the entire movie. 

This one had so much potential. I loved the look of the creature even though they attempt to explain its appearance as having been covered in some weird Egyptian chemicals instead of a plaster cast made from the void the bodies of the victims left in the rock after they decomposed. Still I’ll cut them some slack. I also dig the idea that the creature here really isn’t evil but is following some sort of final task that never got finished, saving the woman he loved from the volcano. Then again, he did curse the city because her family wouldn’t allow them to be together with him being a slave and all. So maybe he wasn’t innocent? For me that trying to settle unfinished business was the ghostly part of the story.

Bullets bounce off but my stick is going to mess you up!
I do have some issues with the movie. The creature is given only vague motives. We sort of know what it is happening but not really. The characters do inexplicable things like not posting anyone on the back door of a building when they know the creature is on the loose. They stand out front “guarding” the door and leave Tina inside undefended! Rational characters are told that the ancient body is coming to life to kill and they immediately buy into it. Really? The police are sort of dubious, but that passes quickly. It’s like they had no idea what they wanted to do with the story. The ending is the best example of this. Our monster grabs Tina and carries her to the ocean. The police shoot at it to no avail and everyone stands by helpless as she is carried to her doom. Then the monster dissolves into the ocean and Tina is rescued. Roll credits… What the Hell movie!

Another aspect of the movie being so poorly written is horrible pacing. The movie is full of inane dialogue that has not a damn thing to do with the monster. It is also padded with scenes of people driving and going about their daily business. It’s a boring movie that at times is a chore to sit thru. The only highlight for me was seeing a very young Richard Anderson from the Six Million Dollar Man playing the lead. He isn’t particularly good I’m just a big nerd. I’m going to say this one is best avoided.


© Copyright 2018 John Shatzer

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