Curse of the Faceless ManOverview -
Entombed for eons and turned to stone... the Volcano Man of 2,000 years ago stalks the earth to claim his woman! A team of archeologists, led by Dr. Paul Mallon (Richard Anderson, TV s The Six Million Dollar Man and The Bionic Woman) excavates a perfectly preserved faceless man of stone encased in lava from a site at ancient Pompeii. Mallon begins to piece together the history and identity of the stone figure, he uncovers the story of Quintillus Aurelius, an Etruscan gladiator-slave who was tortured and sentenced to death for daring to love a noblewoman, but the eruption of the Vesuvius Volcano destroyed the city and buried the jailed Quintilus Aurelius. But when dead bodies with smashed skulls begin to pile up, not only do the scientists believe that the faceless man is still alive, but bent to carrying out his final wish, rescuing his beloved - reincarnated as Tina Enright (Elaine Edwards, The Bat), Mallon s fiancée. Directed by cult-great Edward L. Cahn (Invisible Invaders).
Storyline: Our Reviewer's Take
'The Curse of the Faceless Man' mostly holds up after all these years. For a film that came out in 1958, it has some decent practical effects and never hides the monster from sight. In fact, you'll see this 'Faceless Man' quite a bit. But is he cursed? Not really if you're into the whole witchcraft realm. This B-movie plays out like a second rate 'Mummy' film where both movies have a covered from head to toe type of monster, killing people and looking for their long lost love.
This is one of those fun 1950s monster movies that was made on a cheap dime in less than a week, and tried to piggy back off some other film. To this film's credit though, it works to be a fun and entertaining film while trying to dive into the science aspect of why some ancient person is coming back alive. In Pompeii, an archeologist by the name of Maria (Adele Mara) finds an ancient body wrapped up. She begins to believe that this body is alive, but nobody really believes her, until they are murdered by this ancient being.
What is making this stone-like, wrapped-up creature tick and why is he bashing people's brains in? These are the questions we are forced to figure out while watching the movie. Billed as a horror movie in part by Edward L. Cahn (Girls in Prison, It! The Terror From Beyond Space), there really aren't any big horror or scary moments here.
That being said, Cahn knew his audience would want to see the monster quite a bit and watch him do his dastardly deeds, which he does, but in the filler moments of this short 67 minute film, we get the science and origins of these people from ancient times. It is straight and to the point, and I commend it for that aspect.
The Blu-Ray: Vital Disc Stats
'Curse of the Faceless Man' comes with a 25GB Blu-ray Disc that is Region A-locked from Kino Lober. The disc comes in a hard blue plastic case. There are no inserts here.
'Curse of the Faceless Man' comes with a brand new transfer in 1080p HDpresented in 1.85:1 aspect ratio. For being almost sixty years old, this film looks surprisingly good. Not only that, this film was made on an extremely low budget in a six day time frame, so the best cameras and talent were definitely not used here.
Still, this video presentation holds up after all this time. Detail is actually quite sharp most of the time, showing great closeups that reveal nice facial features and textures in the costumes and practical makeup effects. There are some hilarious focus problems during the film, but even in those instances, the clarity looks strong. The "faceless man" effects look well defined here as well. The black and white color palette looks good, however I wouldn't say that the white levels are particularly bright or even inspiring.
The black levels are deep though with nice grays throughout. There is a nice layer of grain that doesn't fluctuate all that much and keeps the film in its natural filmic state. There are some issues with scratches, warps, dirt, and debris throughout, as there wasn't an extensive cleanup here, but overall this video presentation comes through with solid marks.
This release comes with a DTS-HD MA 2.0 stereo mix from the original source. This audio presentation won't make your brain explode by any means, but it gets the job done nicely for a film that is almost sixty. Sound effects are well balanced if not a tiny bit on the tin can sign of things.
The dialogue is clear and easy to follow, however when things get loud or when the characters scream, things can get rocky. The score here sounds the best and always adds to the tone of the film. There were a few pops, cracks, and hiss throughout, as well as some shrills, but with this type of movie and its low budget, it's more or less expected.
Audio Commentary - Film historian Chris Alexander discusses the production history of the film and the life of director Edward L. Chan and producer Robert E. Kent. His commentary will make you appreciate the film and its B-Movie aspect much more.
Trailers (HD, 5 Mins.) - Two trailers for other films can be found here.
'Curse of the Faceless Man' is certainly a fun B-movie film from the 1950s. There are zero scares or horror in it, but it's good popcorn fun, if you're in the mood for this sort of thing. It has a sense of nostalgia of what films used to be like some sixty years ago. The video and audio presentations are both passable and the one extra is worth listening to, if you're a fan of the film and of the era. Recommended!
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