Derek Winnert

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Curse of the Faceless Man *** (1958, Richard Anderson, Elaine Edwards, Adele Mara, Luis Van Rooten, Gar Moore, Felix Locher) – Classic Movie Review 5299

‘Entombed for eons – turned to stone – seeking women, women, women!’ Stone-encrusted Pompeii lava-man Quintillus Aurelius (Bob Bryant) is found petrified in the ground and unearthed by an excavator. He then rises up from a box in a lorry, escapes and promptly stomps about crushing people’s skulls in director Edward L Cahn s endearingly ridiculous, self-mocking mummy-style 1958 low-budget horror film.

Quintillus is a gladiator slave buried by Vesuvius’s eruption, looking for his 2,000-year old lost flame, and soon mistakes artist heroine Tina Enright (Elaine Edwards) for her. Tina begins to have strange visions…

Richard Anderson plays the hero, medical researcher Dr Paul Mallon, Adele Mara is Maria Fiorillo, Luis Van Rooten plays Italian archaeologist Dr Carlo Fiorillo, while Gar Moore and Felix Locher play other doctors, Dr Enrico Ricci and Dr Emanuel, and Jan Arvan plays local police inspector Renaldi.

The idea behind Jerome Bixby’s 1958 movie screenplay is not too bad at all, even if it is not too fresh seeming as it has similarities to The Mummy (1932), with both films having a love affair involving the title characters and both films’ monsters being awakened in modern times and discovering the reincarnation of their ancient lovers.

Other assets are Gerald Fried’s score, that Edwards screams nicely, and that director Edward L Cahn keeps the short (67 minute) film moving along quite briskly and tensely. However, the acting is as feeble as the script and the no-budget production, shot in just six days, is a bit of a drawback.

However, the monster suit and the make-up effects are pretty good considering, and the likeable movie is still quite a lot of fun, though, in its so-bad-it’s-good kind of way. Charles Gemora designed the monster suit and Layne Britton did the make-up effects.

United Artists released it as a co-feature with director Edward L Cahn’s famous cheapo 1958 sci-fi monster movie It! The Terror from Beyond Space.

Anderson referred to the film as one of the ‘things I did on my way to something else’.

Cahn also directed Creature with the Atom Brain (1955), Invasion of the Saucer Men (1957) and The Four Skulls of Jonathan Drake (1959).

© Derek Winnert 2017 Classic Movie Review 5299

Check out more reviews on http://derekwinnert.com

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