Alive for 2000 Years – Curse of the Faceless Man (1958)

A faceless statue is unearthed in Pompeii that at times, comes alive to kill various people as well as make his way to Tina whom he thinks is his lost love from ages ago.  The archaeologists and doctors that come into contact with him come to the conclusion that the statue was a man who was cursed and entombed within a crust of stone.  Meanwhile, Tina keeps having dreams about the encrusted man, of things that have happened or might happen, but is unsure and quite upset about it all.  Dr. Emmanuel believes that she is having memories of a life lived previously and looks to prove it.  He hypnotizes her and discovers that she is remembering her life as a Roman noble from 2000 years previous and the mummified man is Quintillius Aurelis, a slave who wanted to bring down her family.  Dr. Mallon does not believe anything of what is happening even when confronted by it, and if he cannot disprove it by using science, he will just take Tina away.  But Tina is not able to help herself as her past life starts to take over her present one, and she frees Quintillius to possibly drastic consequences.

There are definite shades of The Mummy present when watching this.  An old, cursed, shambling corpse discovered and come back to life, or merely awakened, and in the present day, is the main element that connects the two.  But where Karloff is resurrected and has a definite goal in mind, Quintillius merely holds some form of life within his body still, as well as the brain of a man gone mad and still living in the past thinking Pompeii is burning down around him.  Sure, the film did not have the energy that Karloff would normally bring to it, but the cast featuring Richard Anderson, Elaine Edwards, Felix Locher, Adele Mara and Luis Van Rooten are quite good.

This film is classic horror, perhaps not at its finest, but close to it.  The cast, also while not A-list, do an admirable job with what they are given and try to rise above the material.  Elaine Edwards has the better part in the film as the woman plagued with a former life while Richard Anderson does throw a little charisma into the picture as her significant other.  Together, they make a fairly decent on-screen couple and give us the hero and the damsel in distress that the film requires.  Clocking in at just over an hour the film is a good example on how to make a quality film on a budget.  It also has a great monster without the need for outlandish or shoddy looking effects.  One of the better monsters to ever plague mankind, whether in film or in life, is man itself, something perhaps Jerome Bixby took into effect while writing the script.  Sure, most audiences might laugh at the quality of the film today, but for fans of the horror genre, it is a nice little piece of horror history worth at least one viewing.

4 out of 5

4 replies »

  1. Well written review. Reading this was very interesting, as this plot sounds quite fresh and unique. I am not a fan of remakes, but I would not be upset if they decided to remake this with a modern spin on it. A confession I have to make is that watching films this old is something I never do, or ever have been able to do. It is sad really…


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