Evil Face (1974)

Klaus Kinski plays a creepy evil scientist, complete with a hunchbacked assistant.  The good doctor Nijinski (Kinski’s character) is determined to restore beauty to his disfigured wife thru the only means possible.  That of course means kidnapping and experimenting on beautiful women until he finds just the right one to provide her with a face transplant!  When a couple of newlyweds have an accident next to his home he realizes that the young bride is a perfect match for his wife and soon hatches a plan to steal her face.  Also in the house is a prostitute that the doctor has invited to the home and the sister of an earlier victim who suspects that they might be up to something. 

If I had to choose one word to describe Evil Face it would be boring.  Really much of this movie consists of the characters wandering around doing nothing!  You have people walking around the castle and the woods, and then the castle again.  The movie starts off with a bang as the hunchback drags a couple in from the woods and the doctor does his thing on them.  But after we are introduced to the main characters the movie slows down to a crawl.  The last 20 minutes or so does pick up with some action as the doctor and his disfigured wife put their plan into action.  We also finally get some of the sleaze that I expected from a cheap Euro horror movie from the early 70s with a random, and I do mean random, lesbian scene.  But then even the last bit of the movie is ruined due to the giant lapses in story and logic.  Characters disappear without any explanation, the hunchback really falls down on the job of taking care of the witnesses, and the authorities are mind bogglingly stupid and allow the victims to keep living at the scene of the crimes!  Oh and I guess when you transplant a face the voice, body, and memory comes with it!  I know they are newlyweds, but he really isn’t going to notice?  If that weren’t bad enough the ending makes absolutely no sense at all. 

The only thing that might be worse than the plot is the poor way the movie is put together.  Either they were too lazy to even attempt to make day for night shots or everyone in the castle sleeps all day long.  Really I’m not kidding everyone is woken at “night” with the daylight streaming thru the open curtains right behind them.  And this isn’t mean to be early in the morning either.  Initially I was thinking that this might be a case of bad editing, but then it dawned on me that it was just lazy filmmaking, which I can’t tolerate.  Other than the editing I did want to mention the special effects.  There aren’t that many.  In fact other than a pretty silly looking faceless woman there really isn’t much blood and gore at all.  Lighting, picture and soundtrack I guess are okay.  But I do have to mention that I was really surprised at the quality, or lack of it, with this DVD.  At times Evil Face looks like a 3rd generation VHS copy.  Hell a couple of times I saw the tell tale signs of a VHS tape with bad tracking.  I have no idea where they sourced the DVD from, but it was awful.

Bad movie with an even worse transfer makes for a non-recommendation from me.  I’ve had fun with some of the releases from Mya Communications, but this isn’t going to be one of them. 

½ out of 4

reviewed by John Shatzer

© Copyright 2010 John Shatzer