Pierre Brasseur (Le Quai des brumes, Les Enfants du Paradis) is Dr Génessier, a brilliant and obsessive plastic surgeon driven by the need to restore his daughter’s disfigured face and push the boundaries of his field. Aided by his loyal assistant Alida Valli (The Third Man, Suspiria), who lures young women to his secluded chateau in pursuit of his dark quest.
Initially intended as a French response to Hammer horror films, Eyes Without a Face transcended its exploitation origins when young filmmaker and founder member of the Cinémathèque Française, Georges Franju, was hired to direct. The passionate cineaste imbued the production with expressionist mood and poetic grace, inspired by his love of silent cinema and the fantastique serials of Louis Feuillade. With gorgeous black and white photography by Eugen Schüfftan (The Hustler), a haunting waltz score from Maurice Jarre (Laurence of Arabia) and a twisted script finessed by Pierre Boileau and Thomas Narcejac (Vertigo), Eyes Without a Face is a cult horror classic that has been a major influence on filmmakers such as Jesús Franco, John Carpenter and Pedro Almodóvar.
The Old Dark House
Comedy 1932 72 mins Director: James Whale
A group of weary travellers arrive at a spooky mansion with a madman on the loose, in this classic horror-comedy from James Whale (Bride of Frankenstein)
Horror 1993 103 mins Director: Michele Soavi
Michele Soavi’s compelling concoction of anarchic Evil Dead-style horror-comedy, tragic romance and gore.
Comedy 1968 96 mins Director: Juraj Herz
This story of a professional cremator whose increasingly deranged impulses are given free reign during Prague's Nazi occupation, is a brilliantly chilling mix of Dr Strangelove and Repulsion.
Horror 2002 101 mins Director: Hideo Nakata
A single mother desperately tries to shield her daughter from hidden terrors in her apartment block, in Hideo Nakata's chilling masterpiece.
Period drama 1964 102 mins Director: Kaneto Shindo
Stylish, symbolic and erotically charged Japanese horror in which the fortunes of a murderous mother-and-daughter team are upended by a strangely masked samurai.
Horror 1932 73 mins Director: Carl Th. Dreyer
The first sound-film by one of the greatest of all filmmakers, Carl Theodor Dreyer, is akin to a waking-dream; guiding the viewer on a trance-like journey between reality and the supernatural.
Successive Slidings of Pleasure
Drama 1974 106 mins Director: Alain Robbe-Grillet
Alain Robbe-Grillet’s serpentine erotic mystery presented as a surreal investigation into a woman with feared sexual powers.
Celine and Julie Go Boating
Drama 1974 194 mins Director: Jacques Rivette
Jacques Rivette’s biggest commercial hit is an exhilarating combination of theatricality, paranoia and ‘la vie parisienne’, around an entrancing examination of making and watching films.
The Living Dead Girl
Horror 1983 90 mins Director: Jean Rollin
When toxic waste spill disturbs her grave, a deceased girl comes alive to walk the earth again in Jean Rollin's macabre tale of zombie carnage.
The Grapes of Death
Horror 1978 91 mins Director: Jean Rollin
A woman visiting Roublès deep in France’s winemaking country discovers that the pesticide being sprayed on vineyards is turning people into killer zombies.
Shiver of the Vampires
Horror 1970 95 mins Director: Jean Rollin
Newlyweds visit their cousins at a remote rural chateau, finding them under the spell of two vampire girls.
The Nude Vampire
Horror 1969 85 mins Director: Jean Rollin
Jean Rollin’s second vampire film is a mesmerisingly surreal art-horror, short on logic but steeped in gorgeously sensual imagery.
Featuring Pierre Brasseur
Goto, Island of Love
Drama 1968 93 mins Director: Walerian Borowczyk
Borowczyk's entrancing fantasy set on a bizarre archipelago cut off from civilisation, where a petty thief attempts to seduce the dictator's wife.
Featuring Alida Valli
The Third Man
Thriller 1949 104 mins Director: Carol Reed
Carol Reed's timeless classic, one of the greatest British films, lavishly marries a perfect script, an unforgettable theme tune and the star power of Orson Welles.
Horror 1977 101 mins Director: Dario Argento
Dario Argento’s phantasmagoric gothic nightmare blends operatic violence, disorienting dream logic and hyper-real visuals to create a horror classic.
The Frightened Woman
Drama 1969 86 mins Director: Piero Schivazappa
A rich sadist kidnaps a woman to subject to his elaborate S&M games, but she soon turns the tables... Piero Schivazappa's erotic thriller explodes with eye-popping psychedelic production design.
Sex comedy 2008 116 mins Director: Anna Biller
Anna Biller's outrageous sexploitation satire follows bored housewife Barbi as she searches for adventure in predatory 1970s Los Angeles.
Female Human Animal
Drama-documentary 2018 74 mins Director: Josh Appignanesi
Josh Appignanesi's art-world psycho-thriller blends reality and fiction to delirious effect, in its tale of an exhibition curator pursued by a mysterious figure.
Love is the Devil: Study for a Portrait of Francis Bacon
Biopic 1998 87 mins Director: John Maybury
Derek Jacobi and Daniel Craig star as artist Francis Bacon and his muse George Dyer in John Maybury’s darkly exquisite biopic.
Drama 1969 112 mins Director: Vittorio De Sica
Sophia Loren searches for the husband she lost at the Russian Front (Marcello Mastroianni) in this sweeping romance epic with echoes of Doctor Zhivago.
Period drama 1976 130 mins Director: Luchino Visconti
Luchino Visconti's final film is a brilliant and disturbing drama set against the opulent backdrop of decadent, late 19th-century aristocracy.