Halloween recommendation

Looking for something truly scary to spice up a movie night as Halloween approaches? Eyes Without A Face (1960) will do the trick. This French horror film is creepy, frightening, gruesome, and mysterious. At its heart is a family drama about a doctor seeking a treatment for his disfigured daughter, who is compelled to wear a mask due to her condition–thus the title. The mystery is how the daughter ended up that way and why her father is so obsessed with finding a “cure.” The horror is triggered by the father and daughter's means for making her presentable. The creepiness surrounds the whole movie, especially the later bits, when the truth is revealed and things get weird.

Few movies today achieve the superb atmosphere and suspense created by this impeccably directed, acted, and shot film. It has its share of shocks, but the gruesome bits are more about the threat of gore, in contrast to the ham-handed schlock thrown together today in the name of horror. Eyes Without A Face is a precursor of the relatively restrained Halloween (1978) and Carrie (1976), but not the bloodbaths put out more recently.

★★★★½

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