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Curse of the Faceless Man [Blu-ray]
(Edward L. Cahn, 1958)
Review by Gary Tooze
Theatrical: Robert E. Kent Productions
Video: Kino Lorber
Region: 'A' (as verified by the Oppo Blu-ray player)
Disc Size: 14,766,040,837 bytes
Feature Size: 14,229,829,632 bytes
Video Bitrate: 24.93 Mbps
Case: Standard Blu-ray case
Release date: February 16th, 2016
Aspect ratio: 1.85:1
Resolution: 1080p / 23.976 fps
Video codec: MPEG-4 AVC Video
DTS-HD Master Audio English 1636 kbps 2.0 / 48 kHz / 1636 kbps / 16-bit (DTS Core: 2.0 / 48 kHz / 1509 kbps / 16-bit)
Dolby Digital Audio English 256 kbps 2.0 / 48 kHz / 256 kbps)
•Audio Commentary by Horror Cinema Historian Chris Alexander
• Trailers (Invisible Invaders - 2:00, The Monster That Challenged The World - 1:35)
Description:Entombed for eons and turned to stone... the Volcano Man of 2,000 years ago stalks the earth to claim his woman! A team of archeologists, led by Dr. Paul Mallon (Richard Anderson, TV s The Six Million Dollar Man and The Bionic Woman) excavates a perfectly preserved faceless man of stone encased in lava from a site at ancient Pompeii. Mallon begins to piece together the history and identity of the stone figure, he uncovers the story of Quintillus Aurelius, an Etruscan gladiator-slave who was tortured and sentenced to death for daring to love a noblewoman, but the eruption of the Vesuvius Volcano destroyed the city and buried the jailed Quintilus Aurelius. But when dead bodies with smashed skulls begin to pile up, not only do the scientists believe that the faceless man is still alive, but bent to carrying out his final wish, rescuing his beloved - reincarnated as Tina Enright (Elaine Edwards, The Bat), Mallon's fiancée. Directed by cult-great Edward L. Cahn (It! The Terror from Beyond Space).
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.).
Archeologists excavating the ruins of Pompeii discover what seems to be a perfectly preserved human figure, encased in lava. A scientific team led by Dr. Paul Mallon (Richard Anderson) begins to piece together the history and identity of the stone figure. Using surviving records from the city and the location where the figure was found as a starting point, the archeologists uncover the story of Quintilus, an Etruscan gladiator-slave who was tortured and sentenced to death for daring to love a noblewoman. He vowed to kill anyone who kept him from the woman he loved, and was in the process of being executed when the eruption of Vesuvius destroyed the city and buried Quintilus in molten lava. Their research takes on tremendous urgency when evidence -- in the form of a rising number of dead bodies -- begins to show that Quintilus may not only still be alive, in some impossible-to-fathom manner, but bent on carrying out his final wish, of rescuing and escaping with his beloved, and that the woman he loved has been reincarnated, in some manner, in the person of Mallon's fiancée.Excerpt from MRQE located HERE
Image : NOTE: The below Blu-ray captures were taken directly from the Blu-ray disc.
The single-layered Kino Lorber Blu-ray of Curse of the Faceless Man is about what you might expect in 1080P - even occasionally a notch higher. My only minor issue is that the visuals are fairly inconsistent - at times looking hazier and then extremely crisp in the 1.85:1 frame. More the source than the transfer. The HD rendered contrast accentuates the appealing shadows and lighting (cinematography by Kenneth Peach). The source is clean, and I noticed no predominant noise - not even in the darker night sequences. This Blu-ray gave me a very watchable, and pleasurable, viewing in regards to the picture quality.
CLICK EACH BLU-RAY CAPTURE TO SEE ALL IMAGES IN FULL 1920X1080 RESOLUTION
Kino Lorber use a DTS-HD Master 2.0 channel track at 1636 kbps (16-bit) in the original English language. There are sparse effects in the film - but the Gerald Fried (A Killer in the Family, The Baby, and Kubrick's films Fear and Desire, Killer's Kiss, The Killing and Paths of Glory as well as venturing later into work in TV - Star Trek - and also the notable Joseph H. Lewis' western Terror in a Texas Town) score extends the suspense - if sounding a bit awkward at times and dialogue unusually echo-ey. There are no subtitles offered and my Oppo has identified it as being a region 'A'-locked.
I enjoyed the laid-back but professional and informative commentary by horror cinema historian Chris Alexander which definitely made me appreciate the film to a higher degree. There are also 2 trailers of other Edward L. Cahn films (Invisible Invaders and The Monster That Challenged The World)
January 25th, 2016
About the Reviewer: Hello, fellow Beavers! I have been interested in film since I viewed a Chaplin festival on PBS when I was around 9 years old. I credit DVD with expanding my horizons to fill an almost ravenous desire to seek out new film experiences. I currently own approximately 9500 DVDs and have reviewed over 5000 myself. I appreciate my discussion Listserv for furthering my film education and inspiring me to continue running DVDBeaver. Plus a healthy thanks to those who donate and use our Amazon links.
Although I never wanted to become one of those guys who
focused 'too much' on image and sound quality - I
find HD is swiftly pushing me in that direction.
Oppo Digital BDP-83 Universal Region FREE Blu-ray/SACD
Gary W. Tooze
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