I first saw the uncut version of this film on Halloween night at Chicago’s Music Box theater in 2003. This was in fact its first run in the U.S., 43 years after its original release. That was a particularly magical night. I was sitting in one of my favorite theaters in the world, watching my favorite genre in one of my favorite months of the year. I was perfectly primed for this film without even realizing it.
As with most any pre-60s Horror film, the scares don’t really pack the same punch as they would originally have, but there are some iconic moments here, and I’d be willing to bet that the film is much better than you expect it to be.
There is one particularly infamous scene that (as so many films now lay claim to) apparently caused a lot of fainting and had the censors up in arms. Somehow, some way, director Georges Franju was able to get it past the censors and into theaters. I can imagine some of this stuff would have been quite shocking in 1960. Apparently Franju doesn’t consider it Horror, but rather a “tale of anguish.”
I’d love to hear what you think…