The Headless Eyes (1971)

A thieving artist has his eye gouged out by a spoon when trying to rob a woman’s apartment. This nutter then goes round New York killing women whose eyeballs he removes, which he uses to create a new bit of artwork back in his studio.

The Headless Eyes is pretty much an example of grind-house exploitation fodder. It’s a very rough and ready flick with minimal production values. But then I guess you would expect that for a grade Z movie. However, it does at least make some attempt at being dare I say it, artistic. There are occasional interesting shots, while the music fits with the feel quite well. It has a pretty scuzzy atmosphere overall and is another that utilises the very mean streets of 70’s New York to decent effect. It’s a clear precursor to Abel Ferrara’s very similar movie The Driller Killer which came out a few years later. Unlike that one, The Headless Eyes never did make the video nasty list, which in some ways is surprising seeing as it was available in a striking video cover on home video in early 80’s Britain and it also has considerably more mean spirited violence than many films that made up that list. That said it’s not exactly impressive. Quite a lot of the time it’s pretty terrible in fact, especially that opening looped use of the line ‘My eye! My eye!’ But the griminess and rough approach do sort of work in its favour some of the time, giving it a sleazy feel that’s in keeping with its overall concept.