Views & Reviews Medical Classics

Eyes Without a Face

BMJ 2011; 342 doi: http://dx.doi.org/10.1136/bmj.d932 (Published 16 February 2011) Cite this as: BMJ 2011;342:d932
  1. Brian Glasser, lecturer in medical humanities, University College London, and writer
  1. b.glasser{at}ucl.ac.uk

Eyes Without A Face boasts many staple ingredients of the horror film: an old dark house, a pretty female victim (or four), and an evil genius doctor (and a sidekick with a spoiled identity). Yet this film is the antithesis of dismissible. From the subtly disconcerting opening credits to the surreal final shot, the director, Georges Franju, draws the viewer into a cinematic liminal space where lyricism, cruelty, misery, agonised ambivalence, and tenderness comingle with a grand guignol horror.

The plot is simple, though its components are not: the pre-eminent surgeon Dr Genéssier has crashed his …

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