Lively, entertaining reviews of, and essays on, old and newer films and everything relating to them, written by professional author William Schoell.

Wednesday, May 28, 2008

CURSE OF THE FACELESS MAN


CURSE OF THE FACELESS MAN (1958). Director: Edward L. Cahn.

This was one half of a double bill of two films directed by Cahn and written by Jerome Bixby (most famous for the short story "It's a Good Life," adapted on The Twilight Zone in 1961.) The other, much more successful feature was It! The Terror from Beyond Space, but Faceless Man is not without interest. Taking his cue from old Mummy movies, Bixby fashioned a story wherein an encrusted slave, Quintillus Aurelius, buried during the eruption of Vesuvius in Pompeii is unearthed and brought to a museum in the city (he is not actually a mummy but rather is covered with crusted mud). Radiation from the earth and from an X-ray machine bring the slave back to life, and - wouldn't you know it? -- the reincarnation of the woman he once loved (Elaine Edwards) is conveniently nearby, the fiancee of Dr. Paul Mallon (Richard Anderson). Also involved in the action -- what there is of it -- are Mallon's old girlfriend Maria (Adele Mara), her new boyfriend Dr. Ricci (Gar Moore) and her father Dr. Fiorillo (Luis Van Rooten), among others. The picture isn't terrible, but a lot of it isn't that well-staged, and it never quite comes to a full boil. The storyline is interesting, however, the acting sufficient, and Gerald Fried's music adds some excitement now and then.

Verdict: Disappointing but not awful cheapie creepie. **1/2.

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