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The Indelible Impact Of EYES WITHOUT A FACE 60 Years Later, A New Plan And MORE!
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The Bite #102
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The Indelible Impact Of EYES WITHOUT A FACE 60 Years Later, A New Plan And MORE!

March 31, 2020

In this Issue:


HORROR HISTORY: THE INDELIBLE IMPACT OF EYES WITHOUT A FACE 60 YEARS LATER

By Joe George*

For the European audiences of 1960, Les yeux sans visage went too far. Jean Redon’s original novel, about Dr. Génessier (Pierre Brasseur) replacing the ruined face of his daughter Christiane (Edith Scob) with those of kidnapped young women, was troubling enough. But in his adaptation, director Georges Franju shows the heterograft process in full, forcing viewers to witness Génessier and his assistant Louise (Alida Valli) remove the face of the captured Edna (Juliette Mayiniel).

Watching Eyes Without a Face (originally titled The Horror Chamber of Dr. Faustus in the US) in 2020, we may be surprised by Franju and cinematographer Eugen Shüfftan’s clinical approach to the scene, but we’re not shocked by the gore; generations raised on David Cronenberg, Brian Yuzna, and even the Saw franchise have seen much worse.

And yet Eyes Without a Face still terrifies, thanks to the stars’ performances. Despite her character’s grotesque visage, Scob plays Christiane as more a ghost than a ghoul. With her billowing housecoat, delicate arms, and featureless white mask, Christiane haunts Génessier’s mansion, head tilting at uncanny angles as she floats along hidden chambers. She stares in judgment as her father and Louise carry a drugged Edna to her doom.

Christiane stares because she is a victim, not a monster. Not only did her father’s reckless driving cause the accident that disfigured her, but she’s become Génessier’s justification for his ghastly experiments as he hunts and destroys women under the pretense of helping her.

But it’s Génessier’s treatment of Christiane that makes Eyes Without a Face relevant even after sixty years. Brasseur plays Génessier with terse frigidity, maintaining the same expression whether he’s accepting compliments from society ladies or drugging the helpless Edna; the veil of respectability masks Génessier’s horrific ambitions.

This horror drives the movie’s most striking moment, one that overshadows even the heterograft scene. Before the procedure, Christiane removes her mask to look upon her unwilling donor. Composer Maurice Jarr spikes his melancholic “Thème romantique” with tense stings while Christiane touches Edna’s face. Her fingers caress the woman her father will mutilate, hoping for a connection with a fellow victim. But when Edna awakes, Jarr’s music shifts to the thundering strings of traditional horror score. She looks at Christiane’s mangled features and screams.

Like the best parts of Eyes Without a Face, the scene unnerves us because we empathize with a woman made into a monster by a man whose evil goes unrecognized.


*Joe George is a pop culture writer who regularly contributes to Tor.comBloody-Disgusting, and Think Christian. He occasionally updates his website and he tweets too often from @jageorgeii.


IMAGE OF THE WEEK

Image Of The Week #102 - Elsa Lanchester Makeup Touch Up - The Bite

It’s Fabulous!

Let Elsa Lanchester touching up her makeup on the set of Bride Of Frankenstein inspire you to wear that full face of makeup (if that’s your daily routine) while self-isolating at home.


One Free Month At Shudder - Code SHUTIN

Staying at home doesn’t have to be boring. New members can try Shudder free for 30 days when they sign up online with promo code: SHUTIN


TINY BITES

THE WINCHESTER, FINAL DESTINATION AND MORE

As we all continue to practice proper social distancing, self-isolation, and self-quarantining, the hunt for more content to consume rages on. Vulture has a list of the 40 (!!!) best horror movies on Amazon Prime for you to check out…

… meanwhile, Book Riot has a comprehensive list of must-listen horror fiction podcasts to help fill your time…

… or you can visit the haunted Winchester Mystery House from the comfort of your home by way of a virtual tour.

The slate of horror films with postponed theatrical releases continues to grow with AntebellumRun, and Spiral: From The Book Of Saw.

Vague Visages has an essential editorial on feminist horror and why it’s a mistake to problematize films where heroines turn “bad”.

Sam Raimi’s 50 States Of Fright now has a teaser hinting at all the folkloric horror coming your way.

The Guardian wrote about how Blumhouse is steadily positioning itself as the new Hammer Horror.

Final Destination celebrated its 20th anniversary last week, and The Guardian is wondering if it’s the bleakest teen horror movie ever made?

In any case, Final Destination is getting another sequel, this time set in the world of first responders.

Meanwhile, Scream is adding to the franchise almost a decade after the last installment, but what will the meta-horror behemoth look like in the 2020s?

Queen Betty Gilpin sat down with V Magazine for a chat about shooting The Hunt and working with Craig Zobel.

The New York Times wrote about the dark joys of Gothic horror fiction, new and old.

Esquire made a list of their picks for the best horror movies of all time including The ThingThe Wicker Man, and The Birds. Did your favorite make the cut?


THINGS WE LOVE

Things We Love #102 - Simon Pegg And Nick Frost The Plan - The Bite

So What’s The Plan?

While making a mad dash for the Winchester was the right call in Shaun Of The Dead, Simon Pegg and Nick Frost both know that won’t work with COVID-19. So they made a socially-distanced video on how to help flatten the curve with new plan.


HEY, THAT’S US! – SHUDDER IN THE NEWS

Coronavirus tips: How to stream TV for free while stuck at home (Shudder SHUTIN Promo)

The best movies and TV shows to stream when you’re working remotely (Channel Zero)

20 SXSW movies you can stream right now (Prevenge)

Be Careful What You Wish For Takes A Dark Turn In ‘The Room’

Tom Savini: Discussing A Horror Icon in Smoke and Mirrors