Curse of the Faceless Man (1958)

Genres - Horror, Science Fiction  |   Sub-Genres - Creature Film  |   Release Date - Aug 1, 1958 (USA - Unknown)  |   Run Time - 67 min.  |   Countries - United States  |   MPAA Rating - NR
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Review by Bruce Eder

On its face, Curse of the Faceless Man is a retelling of The Mummy, incorporating elements familiar from both the Karloff film and from one or more of the Lon Chaney Jr. B-movie entries from the early to mid-'40s. Screenwriter Jerome Bixby, however, has added enough creepy details and personality to the characters to give this film an immediacy that The Mummy movies mostly lacked. We know far more about the city of Pompeii and the way its people lived and died than we do about religious rituals in ancient Egypt, and Bixby employs the richer, more detailed picture that he can draw from this material to great effect. Additionally, director Edward L. Cahn who also helmed the companion feature with which Curse of the Faceless Man was released, It! The Terror from Beyond Space, which was also written by Bixby paced the movie for just the right level of suspense, and got convincing performances out of his cast. Gerald Fried's music, especially the twisting suspense theme accompanying Quintilus' awakening and wanderings, keeps the tension high, and the costuming and special effects make the picture work far better than its budget or its reputation would lead one to expect. (The frozen stone figure of Quintilus later reappeared in United Artists' Invisible Invaders, also directed by Cahn and sharing the same production designer, representing a captured and immobilized alien.)