Curse of the Faceless Man (1958)

Spread the weird

RATING– ✮✮✮

DIRECTOR– Edward L. Cahn

PLOT– An ancient Roman gladiator killed by the eruption of the volcano Vesuvius in 79A.D. is brought back to life and searches for his mistress (Elaine Edwards) from his past life, now reincarnated as the wife of an American doctor.

6 REASONS TO WATCH

  1. crusty old Italians
  2. human brain snow-globes
  3. Italian doctors with Russian/Mexican accents
  4. monsters who want their portrait painted
  5. killer pottery
  6. museum curators in bathrobes

REVIEW– “Watch out! A stone-encrusted ancient Roman killer is stumbling towards you about as slowly as possible! Move, quick!… Or even not-so-quick! Just walk away!! He won’t be able to catch you if you simply walk at a normal pace away from this creature!!!” **sigh**

Or just stand there screaming…and get killed.

Yes, just like most other Universal-style horror movies from this era (especially The Mummy films), the victims all seem to freeze in terror as the monster approaches…slowly…and then are dispatched quickly.

Curse of the Faceless Man doesn’t disappoint in that regard, being a fairly run-of-the-mill “creature feature”. But it does show its b-movie side quite often. The sets are used over and over. The stars are the type where you’re pretty sure you recognize them, but can’t name anything else they’ve starred in (of particular amusement is the accent deployed by the Italian daughter of the lead scientist which fluctuates between Italian, Russian, and Mexican… somewhat understandable as she is played by the Spanish-American actress Adele Mara). However, while it is not so original (once again, it shares most elements with The Mummy films), the story is entertaining and explored just enough to keep things moving throughout its entire length.

You’ll also notice that the score stands out from a lot of other monster movies. The composer for this film is the well-seasoned Gerald Fried, so the music is also especially good.

Overall, at a brisk 67 minutes, it’s a fun way to spend an hour.

FUN FACT– Edward L. Cahn directs Curse of the Faceless Man… as he did with many, many other films. To say he was a prolific director would not be giving him enough credit. From his start in 1931 to his last film two years before his death in 1964, Mr. Cahn directed a total of 128 films. During that span, there were only 3 years he didn’t direct (1946, 1952, and 1954). That’s an average of 4.57 films per year… for 31 years! Quite impressive. Here are just a few of his more interesting titles:

  • Death Drives Through (1935)
  • Born To Speed (1947)
  • Experiment Alcatraz (1950)
  • The She-Creature (1956)
  • Flesh and the Spur (1956)
  • Zombies of Mora Tau (1957)
  • Voodoo Woman (1957)
  • Invasion of the Saucer Men (1957)
  • It! The Terror from Beyond Space (1958)
  • The Four Skulls of Jonathan Drake (1959)
  • Police Dog Story (1961)
Having failed 8th-grade sex ed, Angela searched for a prophylactic even though her partner that night was a concrete statue.