Friday, 12 December 2014


d. Edward L. Cahn (1958)

'Where's the dividing line between yesterday and today, between the past and the present, even between life and death?'  

Essentially a Mummy film, The Curse of the Faceless Man is, as you might expect, obsessed with death and forbidden love, reincarnation and revenge. Set in Italy, the monster here isn’t a long dead Egyptian swathed in bandages but rather an Etruscan gladiator contained in a carapace of volcanic ash, having been engulfed by the eruption of Vesuvius at Pompeii some two thousand years previously.

Discovered in a hole by an incredulous workman and taken to a museum in Naples, his scabby white body mostly lies around on its back with its arms and legs in the air, like a stunned beetle. At key moments, however, the ‘fantastic dead man’ drags himself to his feet and starts stomping stiffly around: ruthless, relentless, chopping people to death with the rock hard side of his horny hand.

Like most angry monsters, he’s all Id, operating purely on pre-set instructions. His mission is two-fold: to murder nominal authority figures like Policemen and Museum staff, and to be reunited with his lost love, who just so happens to have been reincarnated as a visiting American artist: an astonishingly fortuitous break for him, extremely bad luck for her.

It’s a shame that he is so preoccupied, really. Think of what he could have added to our knowledge of the ancient world if he hadn’t been a psychotic killing machine.

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