• Curse Of The Faceless Man



    Released by: Kino Lorber
    Released on: February 16th, 2016.
    Director: Edward L. Cahn
    Cast: Richard Anderson, Elaine Edwards, Adele Mara, Luis Van Rooten
    Year: 1958
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    The Movie:

    Edward L. Cahn’s 1958 film, The Curse Of The Faceless Man, begins with an excavation of an archeological site in Pompeii where a strange unidentified body is uncovered. Adding to the mystery is the fact that the corpse has a large bronze medallion around its neck which has, inscribed on it, some strange letters. Enter and Italian archeologist named Carlo Fiorillo (Luis Van Rooten) who is curious as to the origins of the body, how it’s been preserved so well, and how it came to be in the strange almost rock-like state that it’s in.

    He enlists the aid of a fancy-ass medical research expert named Dr. Paul Mallon (Richard Anderson) who thinks that Carlo’s suspicions that the body may still contain some life are crazy talk – initially, that is. Soon enough Paul starts to wonder if maybe Carlo isn’t so nutty after all, particularly when Paul's beautiful fiancé, Tina (Elaine Edwards), starts claiming that she’s seen the body move under its own power. When various bit part players in the cast wind up with crushed heads, Paul starts to take all of this far more seriously.

    Briskly paced and plenty atmospheric, Curse Of The Faceless Man is basically a ‘mummy movie’ in that it revolves around a dug up corpse who maybe isn’t so dead as first thought running around and causing problems for the living. The similarities to the Universal mummy films that preceded it are definitely there and this movie doesn’t try all too hard to differentiate itself from them – but you know what? If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it. A few stand out set pieces make the film memorable thanks to some atmospheric lighting and a cool looking monster – the classic ‘monster carries the pretty lady away’ shot you’d expect from a movie like this is there, as are some great shots of the body on display, moving slowly off of the slab and quite obviously up to no good.

    At just over sixty minutes, it moves by very quickly, never even coming close to overstaying its welcome. It might not be a particularly original picture but it is a fun one, particularly for those of us who enjoy cheap, creaky old monster movies.

    Video/Audio/Extras:

    The previous transfer on the MOD/DVD-R release from the MGM Limited Edition Collection was presented fullframe but the AVC encoded 1080p high definition picture on this Blu-ray release is framed at 1.85.1 and it looks like the fullframe version was probably open matte. This means that compositions look tighter but not to the movie’s detriment, the framing looks quite good actually. That change aside, we also get a nice upgrade in terms of detail and texture and improved black levels when compared to that older release. There’s a bit more print damage than some might want but it’s minor stuff rather than really glaring or distracting scratches or splice marks. Compression artifacts are never a problem and the image appears to be free of any heavy noise reduction or edge enhancement.

    The only audio option on the disc is an English language DTS-HD Mono track, there are no alternate language tracks or subtitles provided. The clarity is generally fine, though there are bits that sound a little flat, which likely stems back to the source. Minor hiss is present once or twice but if you’re not listening for it you probably won’t be bothered by it though some of the sound effects demonstrate some noticeable reverb.

    The previous DVD release was barebones but this time around the movie gets a commentary track courtesy of Chris Alexander. He speaks about his appreciation of the film, what he thinks works and what he doesn’t, his thoughts on the performances and the effects as well as some of the more memorable set pieces in the film. Trailers for The Monster That Challenged The World and Invisible Invaders are included here, but there’s no trailer for the feature itself. Static menus and chapter selection are also provided on the disc.

    The Final Word:

    The Curse Of The Faceless Man might not be the most original film ever made nor is it particularly scary but it’s quirky enough to remain a whole lot of fast paced monster movie fun. The Blu-ray release from Kino isn’t reference quality but it does offer noticeable audio and video upgrades and throw in some extras, missing from past releases, aswell.

    Click on the images below for full sized Blu-ray screen caps!