BADass SINema Unearthed - Blu-ray Review

Curse of the Faceless Man (1958) - Blu-ray Review

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The Curse of the Faceless Man - Blu-ray Review

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3 beersDirected by Edward Cahn (It! The Terror from Beyond Space and all those Our Gang shorts), Curse of the Faceless Man, like much of his science fiction-minded American International Pictures output, has moments of terror that can't be dismissed. His first film did inspire Alien, after all. Unfortunately, those striking moments are situated between a lot of your typical 1950s hooey. It's to be expected and Kino Lorber, releasing the cult flick on blu-ray this week, know the type of audience this film garners: b-movie aficionados.

The black-and-white film, which premiered as part of a double-feature in support of It!, is about a team of archeologists led by Dr. Mallon (Richard Anderson, The Six Million Dollar Man), a perfectly preserved faceless man of stone (from the ruins of Pompeii), and his daring love for a noblewoman who is now reincarnated as Tina (Elaine Edwards, The Bat). Upon the discovery of the body of Quintillus Aurelius, an Etruscan slave, a number of strange things begin to happen surrounding the jewels found with him.

Bodies begin to pile up and Tina has very lucid dreams about another life with another man. But she's engaged to marry Dr. Mallon and, when the police won't believe that a body turned to stone can live once again, the team of archaeologist must ban together to try and get to the mystery of this moving and murdering corpse.

The moment that the audience gets to see – for the very first time – Quintillus move while on the slab is a memorable one. And it is directed quite nicely with reaction shots from Tina. She's drawing the corpse and, every time she looks up from her work, something about his position seems off. And then she sees it actually move. Or does she? It is a moment full of suspense and paranoia as she fights off logic after erasing her marks and neckline a couple of times.

Much of the movie is pandering and padded and, clocking in at 67-minutes, it feels insignificant. It's a lot of exposition and nonsense and, yes, this is simply The Mummy all over again. But the film's swinging jazz score by Gerald Fried is undeniably solid and so are the sets – which cleverly disguise the Griffith Park Observatory – as parts of Italy. When the narration kicks in (as a guide because the budget was limited and brevity was selling for cheap), there's no sense in denying its cheeky simplemindedness.

Cahn has a significant following. There will be more of his films released on blu-ray this year from Kino Lorber. So maybe this one isn't the most grandiose of his B-movie releases but, trust me, there is some amount of poetry in all this poverty that erupts around Quintillus and his eternal love for a past that never was.

When it comes to Curse of the Faceless Man, you can either ignore or indulge.

The Curse of the Faceless Man - Blu-ray Review

MPAA Rating: Not rated.
Runtime:
67 mins
Director
: Edward L. Cahn
Writer:
Jerome Bixby
Cast:
Richard Anderson, Elaine Edwards, Adele Mara
Genre
: Horror | Sci-fi
Tagline:
Entombed for eons - turned to stone - seeking women, women, women!
Memorable Movie Quote: "The fools! Here we are so close to solving the mystery of life and death, and they worry about their precious laws."
Distributor:
United Artists
Official Site:
Release Date:
August 1958
DVD/Blu-ray Release Date:
February 16, 2016
Synopsis: A stone-encrusted body is unearthed at Pompeii, and people left alone with it keep dying of crushed skulls...

The Curse of the Faceless Man - Blu-ray Review

Blu-ray

Blu-ray Details:

Available on Blu-ray - February 16, 2016
Screen Formats: 1.85:1
Subtitles
: None
Audio:
English: DTS-HD Master Audio 2.0
Discs: 25GB Blu-ray Disc; Single disc (1 BD)
Region Encoding: A

  • Released by Kino Lorber, the 1080p transfer does not disappoint fans of black and white features. The tones are well-saturated. Black levels are strong. White levels never get flashy. The contrast is high. The release is offered in a DTS-HD Master Audio 2.0 track.

Supplements:

Commentary:

  • It isn't scholarly in any way shape of form, but the commentary from Cinema Historian Chris Alexander is, at the very least, a fun one.

Special Features:

There is a trailer gallery of other B-movie titles that Kino Lorber has either released or will release in the near future.

  • Trailer Gallery

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