Franju's "fantastique" fright night film holds up, whether you want to see it as a pure sensory exercise in Euro-horror aesthetics—an irrational vibe, uncanny imagery, haunted and stark sound design—or an allegory in which an isolated woman with a soul but no human face anguishes over the price to pay to get one. Telling note, for this idiosyncratic horror show: the police and male hero make no difference at all.
A good example of something transcending its genre, or perhaps not conforming to viewer expectations. Jarre's fairground score provides the right cue to this meticulous ride on a most peculiar mechanism comprising fairy tale, surgical horror and, less satisfying, police procedural. It provokes more than just revulsion with its sly takes on obsession, misplaced love and control. A fascinating adjunct to Frankenstein.
Franju's directorial style isn't lyrical or atmospheric, but languid, dull, and needs some editing and additional punch. The characterization isn't that great either: feeling like Venn-diagram of melodramatic character points that its plot has to hit to function, but not deviating or lingering from it. Eyes Without a Face may have been influential in its story and content, but it has also been improved on since.