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Fireside Chats: I Know That Face!

A frozen, static, largely featureless visage. If the desired effect is to be creepy or intimidating, it works. It works big time. Check out the image below. The one on the left is from the 1960 French Horror film EYES WITHOUT A FACE, about a woman whose face is horribly disfigured so she keeps it hidden behind that mask—while waiting for her physician father to cut the face off some other woman and transplant it onto hers.

EYES WITHOUT A FACE inspired Billy Idol, who is a surprisingly literate Rock star, to record a song of the same title. (If you, like me, could never figure out what the backup singing was saying, it’s “les yeux sans visage,” which is the title of the film in its original French. Incidentally, Idol’s song “Sweet Sixteen” was inspired by the fantastical Coral Castle of Florida. Like I told ya, literate.)

When Hammer got around to making their own version of THE PHANTOM OF THE OPERA, they sure recreated the mask from EYES WITHOUT A FACE—whether they did so intentionally or not.

The EYES WITHOUT A FACE mask also inspired another (in)famous face, a visage you are guaranteed to be familiar with: Michael Myers. When creating HALLOWEEN writer/director John Carpenter said he wanted a mask for his undying killer that looked like the one from the French shocker, which led Tommy Lee Wallace to paint a William Shatner as Captain Kirk from STAR TREK mask white. That worked out pretty well.

TheCheezman • May 26, 2020


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