A.V. Club - 08/21/2013
"[The movie] put Franco on the cinematic map, and is often said to be Spain's first horror film. Shot in luxurious black and white..." -- Grade: B+
Description by OLDIES.com:
Spanish horror master Jess Franco's first international success. When beautiful music hall entertainers begin to disappear under mysterious circumstances, Inspector Tanner is summoned to investigate. His resourceful fiancee decides to help him by going undercover as a cabaret singer, and succeeds all too well, attracting the attention of the diabolical Dr. Orlof, who, with his blind henchman Morpho, is using the skin of slain women to restore the beauty of his disfigured sister, Melissa! The Awful Dr. Orlof is one of the last films of the 1960s to strike a genuine chord of Gothic horror reminiscent of the great classics of Universal, and the silent masterworks of Germany's UFA. Simultaneously, it strikes an underlying harmonic of progress and innovation, heralding a new age of erotic and sado-masochistic permissiveness within the genre.
Jess Franco's first major film is an atmospheric, well-photographed, amazingly lurid little masterpiece that deserves serious attention from horror fans. The brilliant, cacophonic jazz score and unusual camera angles work to create a real feeling of menace, and there's rich attention paid to period detail, and eerie lighting. The English version is even well dubbed. This was a big hit for Franco, and he followed it with a sequel, DR. ORLOFF'S MONSTER, in 1964.
Cult Film |
Mad Doctor |
Theatrical Release |
This movie was part of a craze in Europe for plastic surgery related horror films, launched by Georges Franju's EYES WITHOUT A FACE, AKA THE HORROR CHAMBER OF DR. FAUSTUS (1959). Franco's film is also a homage to the Edgar Wallace book DARK EYES OF LONDON, which features a character named Dr. Orloff sending his blind henchman out on missions of murder.
Filmed in Spain.
Director Franco wrote the screenplay under the psuedonymn David Kuhne. He also appears in a scene as the piano player.