Thursday, April 6, 2017

The Headless Eyes (1971)



First off, never mind this picture’s amazing poster, which promises a sci-fi shocker about disembodied eyeballs preying on victims. The Headless Eyes is a cheaply made horror flick about a deranged artist attacking people in New York City. In the opening scene, Arthur (Bo Brundin) breaks into a woman’s apartment to steal from her, and the only weapon she can find for self-defense is a spoon, so she stabs him in the face and knocks his left eye out of its socket. Some time later, eyepatch-sporting Arthur has become obsessed with eyes, murdering people so he can remove their eyes and feature the orbs in his avant-garde artwork. Predictable subplots ensue, with police trying to learn the identity of the serial killer stalking their city’s streets, and a young female artist approaching Arthur about an apprenticeship. Even though writer-director Kent Bateman makes some ham-fisted attempts at delving into his protagonist’s psychology, listing the shortcomings of The Headless Eyes reveals why it doesn’t merit close inspection. The filmmaking is atrocious, with many shots out of focus and poorly lit. The performances are just as bad, though Brundin struggles to put emotion into melodramatic declarations: “I am twisted!” “I’m trying to forget you and your phony sincerity!” “I am twisted!” (He says he’s twisted a lot.) Many scenes are simply pointless, shots of Brundin wandering the streets while twitchy music plays on the soundtrack. And then there’s the whole gore factor, which earned the movie an X-rating during its original release. Even though the special-FX makeup isn’t especially convincing, the way Bateman lingers on shots of Brundin driving instruments into people’s faces and then plucking eyes from sockets is so repugnant as to render the film’s artistic aspirations meaningless.

The Headless Eyes: LAME

4 comments:

greg6363 said...

If I'm not mistaken, Kent Bateman is the father of Jason Bateman and Justine Bateman.

pete doree said...

Not many films promise Total Carnage though, so there's that.
Actually why isn't there a Swiss Death Metal band called Total Carnage?

Guy Callaway said...

greg6363:

True, and Justine's 1988 'Satisfaction' is more terrifying than this.

William Blake Hall said...

This could make a double feature with an Italian spy movie of the Sixties featuring Dana Andrews, sold to the US as "Spy In Your Eye."