I'm not trying to be a hero! I'M FIGHTING THE DRAGON!!

Vern survives the FACES OF DEATH 30th Anniversary Edition!!

I know we got some home theater buffs out there, right? Let’s say you have an HDTV, a Blu-Ray player, 5.1 surround (or whatever the best is these days), the whole setup. How do you feel about using all that to watch a guy eat monkey brains?

What I’m getting at, my friends, is that FACES OF DEATH came out on Blu-Ray and a new 30th anniversary DVD earlier this month. I don’t think Harry covered it in his column, so I thought I would give my thoughts on this important event.

As you know, FACES OF DEATH is one of those movies with a reputation so vile, so putrid that it’s not even thought of as a movie. It’s just a tape. A tape more hated than BATMAN AND ROBIN or MEET THE SPARTANS – one most people are disgusted by without having necessarily seen it. Like I SPIT ON YOUR GRAVE only worse, because it has REAL DEATH IN IT!

Faces of DeathAfter 30 years of making people feel dirty it’s still a legend. In video stores that will carry it it’s a perennial favorite. I asked about it at one store and they said if someone comes in and gets a membership to rent once and never comes back then chances are the movie they came for was FACES OF DEATH, or one of its imitators like TRACES OF DEATH, FACEZ OF DEATH, PHASES OF DEATH, FACES OF DEAATH, or THUMBCES OF DEATH (the one where Steve Oedekirk’s thumb gets scratched by a bear claw). I was curious about its popularity after Gorgon Video (secretly Dark Sky, I think) sent me a review copy on Blu-Ray, and I wanted to know how this was possible. But I guess if it’s a bigger renter than THE WIZARD OF OZ I get it, the movie is an automatic money maker. And since Dark Sky is already getting into Blu-Ray for THE TEXAS CHAIN SAW MASSACRE, they might as well put this one on that format too. If Blu-Ray does replace DVD they’ll have the monopoly on providing the Blu-Ray that scumbags steal from video stores, and they can use those profits to put out more obscure movies like THE GLOVE that probaly aren’t as big of moneymakers but that need to be provided for America particularly in a time of economic struggle when the activities of John Saxon and Rosie Grier mean most to us.

I didn’t really feel like watching a dude eat monkey brains, and luckily I don’t have a Blu-Ray player anyway. But I made the mistake of telling Dark Sky that, and they sent me the DVD. It it was just sitting there, that spooky skull on the cover. I couldn’t help it, I got curious.

And HOLY SHIT I cannot believe people have been saying for 30 years that this shit is real! I can only guess that’s because nobody has really seen it because it was stolen from their video store. Sure, there’s plenty of real stock footage of disgusting things: heart surgery, slaughterhouses, seal clubbing, a plane crash, WWII. But the main scenes of the movie – alligator attack, bear attack, shootout, execution, cult that eats a dude’s organs and then has an orgy, and yes, the legendary eating of monkey brains – make DIARY OF THE DEAD look convincing. Who are these people who watched this bullshit and thought it was reality? Do they also believe the premise of the movie, that the narrator “Frances B. Gross” is a doctor who travels around the world learning about death in different cultures? He keeps talking about his impressions on that day, what the police told him afterwards and all this shit, but of course he’s never even there in the footage. I guess maybe he’s one of the cameramen. Maybe he has a press pass. Otherwise what’s he gonna say, “Excuse me officer, I’m a doctor who travels around the world learning about death, could you explain to me what went through this man’s head before he murdered his family?”

Don’t get me wrong, I’m glad it’s not real. Makes it watchable. The bear attack is pretty funny – he explains that 2 separate groups of tourists came across a bear at the same time, and both happened to have movie cameras (with film – this is pre-camcorder) rolling. They’re feeding the bear, suddenly he stands up and they start screaming OH MY GOD!, then both cameras shake while the bear supposedly kills the guy off screen. I guess neither group of tourists knows how to get good coverage of a bear attack. (Also, all of the dialogue is clearly looped in most of these scenes. Which makes sense since I don’t see any microphones in the footage.)

Another good one is the alligator attack. First a news reporter (apparently on his first assignment, since he seems like just some dude who is not a news reporter) talks to a lady about how she saw an alligator in this lake and her daughter is afraid to swim. Then some rangers come up in a boat and ask if she is the lady who reported it, and where is it, and she points “over there.” The boat goes over, the guy falls off, and is eaten by an off screen alligator while all the cameras shake. (or it could be an underwater bear, not sure.)

And yes, I’d have to say that my favorite scene, if that’s the right word, is the monkey brains. You know how they have those gimmicky restaurants where they cook all the food right in front of you, or they deliver it to you on a conveyor belt or an electric train, or something goofy like that? This is about an exclusive restaurant somewhere in the Middle East where they bring out a live monkey and let you crack its skull with a mallet and eat its brains. We watch a group of American tourists delight in the novelty of killing a monkey and eating its brains to absorb its life force. To me it comes across like a satirical statement, that these bourgeois tourist fuckers will treat a monkey like fondue for a little amusement. Isn’t it neat to try different customs? What fun! It kind of reminds me of that scene in HOLY MOUNTAIN where the busload of tourists takes photos of the peasants being killed by soldiers.

This isn’t really what I expected. I guess I always pictured something more blatant. Like, “Hey, look at this footage of somebody jumping off a building. Hey, what about this, a bear eating a guy. And an alligator eating a guy. Hey, and here’s an autopsy. What else you wanna see?” Just morbid, sicko shit like those “Banned From TV” ads they used to show that were pretty much snuff films edited for television. But the feel of FACES OF DEATH is more like those old driver’s ed movies that work in real fatality footage every once in a while. You question the mental health of the filmatists responsible, but believe they really think they’re making some important SCARED STRAIGHT type of documentary. The movie was actually made for Japan, and I don’t think they ever foresaw the American release or, more importantly, the home video market. Dr. Gross doesn’t seem to think anybody’s enjoying this. He decries war, contemplates vegetarianism, vows never to wear leather or fur on his back, disagrees with capital punishment. And the movie ends with the Faces of Life: a woman giving birth, a deer, pretty flowers, slow motion running on a beach, all set to a corny ballad. Not what I expected. I wonder what the people who stole the video thought of that part? Maybe they weren’t sickos after all, maybe they just stole it to remind themselves that death is just one part of a natural cycle. And they like that hippie song “Jesus Doesn’t Live Here Anymore.” I wonder if they released a soundtrack to this?

I don’t believe this is a good or enjoyable movie, and any clean fun from deconstructing the re-enactments is dampened by the real footage of post-plane crash gut piles or bodies in a morgue. (By the way, what happened to Demon Dave and the movie he was making with that coroner guy?) But I’m glad I watched the movie and finally understand what the fuss is about. This new DVD is spectacular because it explains what the deal is. Some might think it’s like that asshole in the mask who revealed how magic tricks are done, but I think it’s more like pro-wrestling in the past 10 or 15 years being more open about being a show. There’s a really interesting director’s commentary and featurettes on the editor and the effects team. They all seem pretty normal and non-sleazy and between them tell the story of how the movie came about and how they made it.

If you ever saw this movie or wondered about it, this new version is filled to the brim with interesting facts. The monkey brains are cauliflower and gelatin, and are supposedly based on a real place in Asia, but the Japanese investors made them change it to the Middle East. The Mexican dogfight is actually two pitbulls in California playing around with fake blood. The director plays the famous French assassin and one of the cops in the shootout. There are many stories about the people involved in these fakeries encountering people who swear they are real or that they know someone who knows someone who was there. The actor who played the executed rapist apparently called in to a talk show to tell them FACES OF DEATH was fake, but nobody believed him. The director also mentions that the footage of the seals was from a previous nature documentary he had done, and in that context it was acclaimed. Not so much in this context.

Ironically, this behind-the-scenes treatment might kill FACES OF DEATH. It might take the legend and put its head through a specially designed table and crack its skull open with a little mallet. What self-respecting degenerate is gonna seek this one out knowing it’s not as real as the shit he’s seen on Youtube? Plus he has those BUMFIGHTS tapes he stole and those still do it for him. I don’t know, it might be like when HEAVY METAL finally came out on video and overnight went from legendary lost masterpiece to movie nobody gives a shit about. Even if that’s the case, I think Dark Sky/Gorgon/whoever has done the right thing. They’ve turned FACES OF DEATH from ugly low life legend to interesting piece of film history.

–Vern

Originally posted at Ain’t-It-Cool-News: http://www.aintitcool.com/node/38785

View the archived Ain’t-It-Cool-News Talkback

  • Oct. 17, 2008, 7:41 p.m. CST

    This movie is fucking hilarious

    by Gungan Slayer

    Only seen it like two or three times, but it’s just so damn funny.

  • Oct. 17, 2008, 7:45 p.m. CST

    PHANTOM MENACE RULES, YO!!!!

    by wackybantha

    THIS PREQUEL TRILOGY IS GONNA ROCK!!!

  • Oct. 17, 2008, 7:51 p.m. CST

    This movie was a let-down…

    by ebonic_plague

    …when I first saw it when I was like 13. And that was pre-internet, so it wasn’t really the fact that we were all desensitized to home video violence, it was just obviously fake. It was still pretty entertaining, though. Wasn’t there a bit with a guy accidentally parachuting into an alligator pit? Dr. Frances Gross was great, too. I think I mentioned to my school guidance counselor that I wanted to pursue a doctorate by traveling the world to better understand death. He didn’t seem to get the reference.

  • Oct. 17, 2008, 7:59 p.m. CST

    I was in the Video Biz when this fucker came out

    by mr dark

    I gotta tell ya Vern ..This fucker and its three sons never stayed on the shelf for more than a few minutes.. It was constantly ethier rented out or never returned more than any film we had.. The only exception was the first Star Wars film when it came out as it was not available to purchase and was leased out by 20th century Fox to stores.. Fox like Warner wanted to really cash in on first run titles when they initally came out so this was their plan and it really was a mess as people started clamshelling the tape with a dupe and keeping the original.. We tried theft prevention stickers and had to keep replacing copies that were pilferd or stolen..Fox finally smartend up and so did Warner and stopped the lease only rentals after a years time..Those were strange days in the Video Biz

    When tapes were 69.00 – 89.00 for some titles to purchase..

  • Oct. 17, 2008, 8:01 p.m. CST

    I SAW THIS BACK IN…1981 0r 1982

    by uberman

    and even then I knew it was totally fake shit. Totally. How anyone ever thought it was real is beyond me.

  • Oct. 17, 2008, 8:04 p.m. CST

    Wait.. it´s not true???

    by Elkatak

    Then I´ve been a stupid poser for all my life!!! I hate self-reflection

  • Oct. 17, 2008, 8:22 p.m. CST

    “or it could be an underwater bear”

    by HyphenatedWords

    Best. Line. Ever.

    Priceless. Thank you!

    I saw this piece of shite when I was too young and accepted everything as real. I saw it again in my 20s and realized that I’d been had. So fake! I’d like a refund for my one-way ticket to Shlockville, please.

    In a morbid way, it made me pine for real deaths. Just one real monkey brain, that’s all I ask.

  • Oct. 17, 2008, 8:35 p.m. CST

    Remember gettiing ahold of this when we were all ten

    by WerePlatypus

    And I always figured that was the target audience. . .

  • Oct. 17, 2008, 8:36 p.m. CST

    Was Ralph Bakshi involved in Heavy Metal?

    by loodabagel

    I bet he had a segment or two. As far as cartoon porn goes, I draw the line at Fritz the Cat. Anyway, it’s a shock to learn that Faces of Death is fake. I never even planned on seeing it, but I always knew it was out there-the greatest snuff film of all time! Ever! Monkey brains! Disembowelment! Incest! Beheadings! Etc! I guess it’s time to once again go searching for Videodrome…

  • Oct. 17, 2008, 8:37 p.m. CST

    O yea ….

    by PTSDPete

  • Oct. 17, 2008, 8:42 p.m. CST

    I’ve rented every Faces of Death that was on VHS….

    by The Dum Guy

    And haven’t seen a single one.

    My mom used to work at the local mom-n-pop video store, so I could rent as many titles as I wanted, as long as I brought ’em back the next day. I decided to rent all the Faces of Death to watch at a friends house, but I instead screwed around with my girlfriend on our friend’s-mom’s bed until we fell asleep. I awoke to the sound of “Oooppps!” and the knowledge that my friend’s mom had come home.

  • Oct. 17, 2008, 8:43 p.m. CST

    My Dad put this on for me when I was ten….

    by JD Lux

    I thought it was all real untill I re-watched it a couple years ago and could tell that it was all fake.My childhood was definetly effected by seeing this at such a young age but I seriously think if ten year olds nowadays watched it they would laugh.

  • Oct. 17, 2008, 8:43 p.m. CST

    you’re missing the point

    by hipnosismag

    When this film was made, there was no internet or youtube or orgrish.com or any of these disaster shows on tv. This was the only way to see bizzare and screwed up footage. There were no slaughterhouse documentaries or suicide or murder scene films, or even tv shows like Bizzare Foods. This was the original and fake or real, you have to give it the proper props it deserves for trying to deliver the screwed up stuff you never saw anywhere else. It paved the way for all the cool stuff we have now.

  • Oct. 17, 2008, 8:54 p.m. CST

    I saw this in high school

    by the milf lover

    in the mid-80s, they did a halloween week thing where they showed a bunch of horror movies, stuff like the Nightmare on Elm Street movies, and Faces of Death was one of them. Everyone was freaking out over it and I’m like “What the hell is this crap? That’s so fake!”, so of course I was ridiculed because it said it was all real on the box. Just a few months ago I had a big lame argument with people who swear it’s all real. Man, people are stupid!

  • Oct. 17, 2008, 8:58 p.m. CST

    I knew this was fake…

    by The_joker

    But “Traces of Death” was real though… Wasn’t it?

  • Oct. 17, 2008, 9:13 p.m. CST

    I remember watching this

    by buffywrestling

    back in high school and laughing. It actually pissed off a few of my friends at the time – saying I was heartless – but as someone who grew up on Fangoria mags….it was just way too obvious.

    However, I do remember the footage of the girl jumping off the building. And her body bounces off the pavement. That one kind of stuck with me because it was the only thing I couldn’t tell was a set up. It was done well enough that it made me think that maybe found a tiny bit a real footage to splice inbewteen the fake shit. And I kinda liked the idea; the horrible notion that if you don’t jump from high enough, you fucking BOUNCE.

  • Oct. 17, 2008, 9:36 p.m. CST

    Oh, Faces of Death, get thee back to the pit!

    by The Reluctant Austinite

    I’ll never be rid of this piece of shit, or “Traces of Death” or “Bum Fights” because trailer trash and high school dropout morons will forever want to steal them. I have many years of videostore experience and I can tell you there is absolutely no reason to ever stock any of these titles and it’s a misconception that they are “perenial favorites” and “cash cows.” They’re a huge moneypit for a cool videostore and here’s why. No Blockbuster or family oriented mainstream store is going to stock it. Morons rent at those stores, and the only reason they’ll come to a cool video store is for porn or FOD. They never watch anything except the latest crap Hollywood “so-dumb-it’s-funny” flicks or mega budget Brett Ratner movies anyway. Since they never intend to come back to rent anything at your store again, they’ll sign up and never return your FOD movies. There are A LOT of these knuckle draggers and lowlife losers out there to steal every copy you’ll ever stock, and since any movie has to rent multiple times to make a profit, it’s a lose/ lose scenerio for the videostore. These titles don’t last a week before getting stollen. Occasionally one will come back after 6 months after some kid’s mom finds it under his bed after getting 4 months of calls from a collection agency, but it’s rare. And if you ever had to work in a videostore and actually deal with the people who ask for it you would feel my pain. There’s usually a guy who can’t put two words together or sign his own name who is accompanied by a poor young female that he’s likely knocked up at some point, who is forced to fill out the membership for him because his credit is so bad he can’t have credit cards anymore. She’ll be taking the credit ding when he doesn’t bring back the dvds and dumps her a week later. I wish this type of story was just a one time experience, but I saw this happen again and again. About 60 percent of the time the person says “Y’all got that Faces of Death? Dang Ace, ain’t nobody got dat movie no more. It’s crazy, dude. It’s some shit shit.” Usually they reek of pot or have beer breath. Oh, the damage FOD has done–

  • Oct. 17, 2008, 9:44 p.m. CST

    FOD is a joke compared to Faces of Gore

    by Seth Brundle

    go put FACES OF GORE on IMDB

    ive seen all the FOD movies and they look like a joke compared to faces of Gore,

    faces squished under truck wheels, a pregnant woman burned alive on a train wreck with the burned fetus showing, aftermaths of suicides, and all with glorious narration from dr vincent van gore, when the gore gets too heavy they put audience cheers sounds! and slow mo replays! WONDERFUL! WONDERFUL I SAY!!!!! yeah im a gore hound xD

  • Oct. 17, 2008, 9:46 p.m. CST

    Speaking of Diary of the Dead…

    by rev_skarekroe

    …I just watched that. I liked it, apart from the awful acting.
    BTW, those interested in films like Faces of Death should check out a book called “Killing For Culture.” It’s very good.

  • Oct. 17, 2008, 9:55 p.m. CST

    hahah good one rev_skarekroe

    by the milf lover

    you’re asking fans of Faces Of Death to READ!!

  • Oct. 17, 2008, 10 p.m. CST

    No no, the milf lover…

    by rev_skarekroe

    …you misunderstand. I didn’t say FANS of Faces of Death should read the book. I said people INTERESTED IN films like Faces of Death should read the book. There is a difference.

  • Oct. 17, 2008, 10:52 p.m. CST

    Nathan Davis is dead

    by JIMBOCOP

    RIP Reverend Kane. That is all.

  • Oct. 17, 2008, 11:29 p.m. CST

    my dad saw some of it once…

    by The Amazing G

    he thought it was real of course, including the “Satanic Sacrifice” of course

  • Oct. 18, 2008, 12:36 a.m. CST

    “…particularly in a time of economic struggle when the activit

    by Bob Cryptonight

    Fuckin’ A! NOTE: that is the first time I have ever used that expression. Thank you.

  • Oct. 18, 2008, 12:37 a.m. CST

    “…ies of John Saxon and Rosie Grier mean most to us.”

    by Bob Cryptonight

    ditto.

  • Oct. 18, 2008, 1:07 a.m. CST

    I saw this back in the day.

    by Gilkuliehe

    I was like eleven, and I remember it begins with very real and disgusting as fuck autopsy footage (with the genitals blurred out of course, that’s the japanese for ya), so I pretty much swallowed the whole thing as real.

    This was LEGENDARY among my friends, there was even a fucko who was very popular just because he owned VHS copies of all this crap.

    Years later I read a book about violence in film (or something) and they explained thoroughly what the deal was with this series… It was a true eyeopener, although it’s a little embarrassing to admit now, because it’s so obviously fucking fake. Anyway, excellent review, Vern.

  • Oct. 18, 2008, 1:09 a.m. CST

    Holy shit, rev_skarekroe…

    by Gilkuliehe

    That’s exactly the book I read so many years ago I mention on my previous post. Been trying to track it down forever. Thanks!

  • Oct. 18, 2008, 1:20 a.m. CST

    Faces of Death = not real?

    by Dr Gregory House

    Stop raping my youth!

  • Oct. 18, 2008, 1:31 a.m. CST

    I had this on BETAMAX !!!

    by Bill Clay

    Fuck VHS for winning the VCR wars! We all knew it was mostly fake, but I’ll be damned if it wasn’t awesome when you were high.

  • Oct. 18, 2008, 1:53 a.m. CST

    buffywrestling

    by Vern

    On the DVD they say that the woman jumping actually IS real… but all of the lead up and aftermath is staged. They bought that shot from a news crew but the Japanese investors wanted more context, so they made it up. They also say that the dead body on the beach was real and that they just happened to be on this beach shooting something else when it happened (I believe it because they have long, boring outtakes of the entire cleanup process as an extra).

  • Oct. 18, 2008, 2:45 a.m. CST

    TRUE STORY

    by krull rules

    my first view — after my PE final at Austin High, in class, the coach looked like Action Jackson…true story…

  • Oct. 18, 2008, 2:59 a.m. CST

    Men behind the Sun….

    by travis-dane

    is a sick movie. Faces of Death is shit.

  • Oct. 18, 2008, 3:23 a.m. CST

    the cremation scene of a woman from one

    by DRACULA_WANTS_THE_AMULET

    of the sequels had to be real that shit was disturbing. they also killed a puppie onscreen by cutting into it’s belly they showed a little girl getting hit by a train, a guy cut in half by something and still alive when the emt’s showed up, a dumb ass jumping off of his highschool building with a longer than needed bungy chord- but that one seemed fake way too make cameras covered it. Then a person was attacked by a satanic cult and thier nose was cut off or something like that. The first faces film is tame compared to whatever the hell I saw. I was like 13 at the time so who knows if my brains just teasing me in regards to the realism off this unknow to me sequel. but I felt pretty bad after watching it.

  • Oct. 18, 2008, 3:26 a.m. CST

    Traces of death IS the real deal!

    by killianx

    “This could hurt somebody!!” classic!

  • Oct. 18, 2008, 3:36 a.m. CST

    Harry did review it

    by Boba Fat

    Back in his 1st week of October column and he seems to think it’s real. Didn’t he like Diary Of The Dead too? Now, it all makes sense.

  • Oct. 18, 2008, 4:02 a.m. CST

    Reluctant Austinite…

    by flickerbat

    …I think some of those guys moved here to find their new credit card-laden girlfriends…I meet them all the time.

  • Oct. 18, 2008, 5:16 a.m. CST

    Faces of Death Real? HeeHeeHee

    by Playhouse

    Remember when the big rumor going around was that it was banned in the United States and you could only get copies smuggled in from Canada? Ah, the ’80s…

  • Oct. 18, 2008, 5:27 a.m. CST

    Holy shit

    by buffywrestling

    Yeah man, I could totally see the stuffing of before and after but that fall….they had a continious shot of her falling from the third or four floor. Fucking bounced. One time. About two feet in the air – then a dead weight thump.

    Scarest thing I ever saw at the time. Then of course I had to go watch the documentary “The Bridge” and that kind of fucked me up for life. I hope they have built higher railings since then…

  • Oct. 18, 2008, 6:11 a.m. CST

    I remember when Heavy Metal came out on VHS…

    by Cagliostro

    and yeah, it definitely lost some of it’s mythic allure. One thing I can say in the defense of FOD (or one of the sequels) is that it made me stop eating meat after viewing how Veal is produced.

  • Oct. 18, 2008, 6:25 a.m. CST

    Philosophy of a Knife is nuts.

    by Stuntcock Mike

    These type of films just wear you down after a while.

  • Oct. 18, 2008, 7:37 a.m. CST

    Does this mean pro wrestlingis fake?

    by Grammaton Cleric Binks

    Okay, I saw this when the obsolete VCR has just solidified itself in the market after kicking betamax’s ass. I was in my early teens. Mom didn’t know my friends and I rented it. Of course we thought it was real. The guys who make movies wouldn’t lie to us. What luck they just happened to have a camera there when a guy parachutes off course into an alligator farm.

  • Oct. 18, 2008, 8:06 a.m. CST

    Hey, don’t be dissin’ the Heavy Metal!

    by DerLanghaarige

    They don’t make movies like that anymore.

  • Oct. 18, 2008, 9:16 a.m. CST

    Gotta love the asian cooking the puppy

    by Jugdish

    She picks a puppy- doesn’t take its fur off- just stabs it on the counter! it looked like a stuffed animal! ( cause it was)

  • Oct. 18, 2008, 9:39 a.m. CST

    Great comparison to Heavy Metal!!!

    by alienindisguise

    It’s because we all remember things from our youth with great magnification of what we really saw and Faces of Death, all of ’em and Heavy Metal are absolute turds upon rewatching them 20 years later

  • Oct. 18, 2008, 9:55 a.m. CST

    I saw BATMAN & ROBIN twice on the cinema

    by unionJACKass.webs.com

    And, I own it on VHS!! I was 14 at the time of it’s release, though. But, there are hundreds of films worse than BATMAN & ROBIN IMO. I’m not saying it’s good, but no one can ever deny it doesn’t look pretty.

  • Oct. 18, 2008, 10:25 a.m. CST

    Sick bastards!

    by Philvis

    Fake or not, Faces of Death is not being watched by this kid! My older brother used to rent those back in the mid 80’s and try to make me watch them. No thanks! You can keep your monkey brains. The scene with the monkey brains in Temple of Doom is as close to real as I care to watch!

  • Oct. 18, 2008, 10:39 a.m. CST

    Bret Ratner should remake this, with real footage.

    by JackPumpkinhead

    Who wouldn’t want to see Ratner’s skull cracked open? Okay, there wouldn’t be much to eat inside, but still…

  • Oct. 18, 2008, 10:53 a.m. CST

    DRACULA_WANTS_THE_AMULET

    by Kurutteru Yatsu

    That was part 4. I know because it’s the only one I’ve seen.

  • Oct. 18, 2008, 12:11 p.m. CST

    unionJACKass

    by PacmanFever

    I was ten when B&R came out, and even then I could tell it was by far the worst of the Batman films. The total lack of an audience reaction after the “Bat Credit Card” gag was downright eerie. That said, I did get it on VHS, and I agree there are many, many worse films.

  • Oct. 18, 2008, 12:16 p.m. CST

    It was

    by PacmanFever

    Better than fucking Space Jam for a start. Now that was a real heartbreaker when I was 10

  • Oct. 18, 2008, 12:23 p.m. CST

    Holyshit! Heavy Metal IS a masterpiece.

    by Billyeveryteen

    Zombies on B-52’s!?!
    Now HM2? Must wash eyes…

  • Oct. 18, 2008, 1:51 p.m. CST

    Watch your mouth.

    by Roketopunch

  • Oct. 18, 2008, 1:52 p.m. CST

    Heavy Metal kicks ass.

    by Roketopunch

  • Oct. 18, 2008, 2:46 p.m. CST

    It is too real!

    by ledbetter51

    My friend’s cousin’s uncle was totally fuckin’ there, man.

  • Oct. 18, 2008, 4:50 p.m. CST

    What the Fuck is this?

    by micturatingbenjamin

    Hey, off topic. But why in the blue fuck would you guys, level-headed folks that you are for the most part, put up a link to Scientology on the site?
    Did you guys lose a bet to Travolta or something?

  • Oct. 18, 2008, 4:57 p.m. CST

    Oh…

    by micturatingbenjamin

    And there’s a doc about these movies called Snuff. And, they talk to guys like Eli Roth and the makers of Cannibal Holocaust, and talk about the reality of ‘snuff’ films versus films that have been called ‘snuff’ films. It’s all fairly grisly, but well put together.

  • Oct. 18, 2008, 5:25 p.m. CST

    Cool Website Vern

    by A-COD

    The Die Hard movie to book comparison was a very enjoyable read.

  • Oct. 18, 2008, 6:37 p.m. CST

    I still give a shit about HEAVY METAL.

    by DarthCorleone

    It RULES!!!

  • Oct. 18, 2008, 7:21 p.m. CST

    Now..exactly what is wrong with monkey brains?

    by Monkeybrains

    …sheesh…
    No respect at all.
    Heavy Metal always sucked, except for the soundtrack.

  • Oct. 18, 2008, 11:54 p.m. CST

    PacmanFever, Space Jam is Fucking Amazing

    by 2sdaychicken

    Seriously, FUCK YOU! What didnt you like about it? Even as a kid? Its one of the greatest kids movies EVER, 10 out of 10! It has Looney Tunes and MJ! NOT TO MENTION BILL MURRAY! You were either gay or retarded as a kid.

  • Oct. 19, 2008, 12:16 a.m. CST

    Fuck Faces Of Death.

    by sonnyfern

    I’m a horror movie freak…I make them…I love them…I have no problem with horror movies, but this is just a shit fest…always has been. It’s bad enough that pretty much everything on it is FAKE, it’s only claim to fame is the fact that it came out when there was nothing like it around. I don’t enjoy watching real tragedy, don’t get any thrill out of it, but damn it, if you ARE going to put out something like this…do it for real…give the folks what they want. If you are into this kind of stuff (and I have no problem if you are…watch what you want)…why would anyone even BUY this when they could go buy something that isn’t now known as being blatantly fake? Just don’t get it.

  • Oct. 19, 2008, 12:17 a.m. CST

    Oh yeah…

    by sonnyfern

    …and I still dig Heavy Metal too. The zombie island bit and the cab driver segments are still pretty cool.

  • Oct. 19, 2008, 12:52 a.m. CST

    I barely remember seeing Heavy Meatl

    by the milf lover

    meaning I know I’ve seen it a looooong time ago but dont remember anything about it, so it must have been pretty freakin’ lame. And the 2nd one, FAKK2 or whatever it was called, wasnt much better, it was more enjoyable in its magazine/comic book version because it was drawn by Simon Bisley and Kevin Eastman.

  • Oct. 19, 2008, 6:42 a.m. CST

    By the way, that idiot Charles Sheen will be devastated…

    by JackPumpkinhead

    When he finds out this is indeed fake! (Or was it the samurai part of “Guinea Pig” that he took to the FBI as “an actual snuff movie”? Probably “Guinea Pig”, but I’ll bet he thought “Faces” was real, too…)

  • Oct. 19, 2008, 8:16 a.m. CST

    Actually…

    by warghost

    The only reason Faces of Death was so reviled and hated is because it was so blatantly FAKE. In fact, most footage from the first three Faces of Death was fake.

    If you want to see some real death, check out Traces of Death. Much better, and real.

  • Oct. 19, 2008, 8:26 a.m. CST

    The Reluctant Austinite

    by warghost

    I’ll never be rid of this piece of shit, or “Traces of Death” or “Bum Fights” because trailer trash and high school dropout morons will forever want to steal them. I have many years of videostore experience”

    Hah! I’ve never heard anyone who has “many years of videostore experience” call someone ELSE trailer trash or a drop out moron. That was hilarious!

  • Oct. 19, 2008, 12:47 p.m. CST

    Feces of Dirth one word review

    by FILMFUNK

    Fuckingshite!

  • Oct. 19, 2008, 1:30 p.m. CST

    Warghost

    by The Reluctant Austinite

    I’m just geek film fan. I have a degree in English lit and have been a journalist for years amoung other things. A lot of the guys working at Vulcan Video in Austin could say the same thing. Obsessive film fans are a breed all their own, but FOD fans are not of the breed.

  • Oct. 19, 2008, 3:37 p.m. CST

    RED ASPHALT

    by DANNYGLOVERS_DICKBLOOD

    Those Driver’s ED videos you were talking about….fuck man, those things still scare the shit out of me. I remember one shot in particular from school. Its panning across a giant pool of blood in the gutter next to the sidewalk and all you hear is the rising audio of a siren. Then suddenly it gets to the crash which is just a twisted pile of metal and one dead arm is hanging out of the rubble. The drippy RED ASPHALT logo slams on screen with a stock Halloween scream. Really fucking creepy. Imagine being the editor on that shit…

  • Oct. 19, 2008, 5:21 p.m. CST

    Bakshi Metal

    by tensticks

    No, Bakshi had nothing to do with Heavy Metal. A lot of people think he did because two years after Heavy Metal, he DID a movie called Heavy Traffic. Also, Fire & Ice, which was a fantasy thing. And then Nelvana’s Rock & Rule, which he had nothing to do with, but which rounds out the list of that era’s animated post-apocalyptic science fantasy stories (pre-anime invasion). And say what you want about Heavy Metal, I say it holds up great, ESPECIALLY the Taaran sequence.

  • Oct. 19, 2008, 8:13 p.m. CST

    Rock and Rule Forever!

    by MurderMostFowl

    Far superior that Heavy Metal.

    ( Well, last time I saw both of themm…. ermm… 25 years ago… jesus. I’m old. )

    Actually I only saw Rock and Rule once on HBO at a friend’s house, and it had already started and we had no idea what it was, but we were mesmerized.

    Then Robotech (Macross ) came out and I never looked at Animation the same way again.

  • Oct. 19, 2008, 9:45 p.m. CST

    TRACES OF DEATH is the real thing

    by ricarleite

    100% full of real gory deaths. I remember renting the first installment of TRACES back when I was 12, and not sleeping for 2 days. I went back and got part 2 and 3 as well later. I don’t know why. Sick stuff, some of it will always be in my mind. FACES is pretty tame and silly looking, but it’s still weird someone is doing a BLU-RAY out of it. Sick people.

  • Oct. 19, 2008, 10:05 p.m. CST

    Never watched any of them.

    by ZeroCorpse

    Never will. I’ve been around real death too many times, up close and personal, to find it at all entertaining.

    In a horror movie it’s fine, because it’s part of a narrative and I know it’s fake. In some of these snuff films, there’s real death and I just don’t want to watch people or animals die any more than I already have.

    I held my first love in my arms as she died after being hit by a car on her bike. I watched a woman burn to death, trapped in her car, screaming in agony as the firefighters tried to rip it open and get her out (they couldn’t manage it in time). I witnessed someone blowing their brains out. I saw an acquaintance’s corpse after he killed himself via the car exhaust/hose method. I’ve had loved ones die from various illnesses, and watched someone waste away from cancer.

    With so much actual tragedy in my life, why the fuck would I want to watch it on video? As it is, I have a hard time getting the images out of my head when I accidentally trip on a snuff video online.

    One image that haunts me is of a drug dealer who tried to escape the cops by jumping out a window. He landed chin-first on a tall spiked gate, and the force of his jump caused his body to tear free and his head to remain spiked there. It’s kind of disturbing to see a spiked dreadlocked head in the middle of suburbia, with the body laying a few feet away on the ground.

  • Oct. 20, 2008, 1:31 a.m. CST

    I remember the parachutist

    by Ignacious6

    I was in the military when a bunch of us watched Faces of Death one night and I remember the footage of the dude who’s parachute didn’t open. He bounces like 4 or 5 feet in the air looking like a rag doll and the doctor said something like “It’s likely that he didn’t die on immediately. He most likely broke all his bones on impact and died after the bounce.” We’d forgotten that we all had a Jump the next morning. Should have seen the looks on our faces as we’re all sitting in the plane waiting for our turn to toss ourselves out to the mercy of whoever packed our chutes. Quite a bit of grim nervous laughter.

  • Oct. 20, 2008, 3:50 a.m. CST

    2sdaychicken

    by PacmanFever

    Yes, I was both gay and retarded as a kid, that is why I didn’t enjoy the extremely masculine and intellectual epic that was Space Jam.

    Seriously though, I’m not American so I had/have no interest in Basketball and was really looking forward to a funny/inventive film with all the Looney Tunes characters. I didn’t get it.

  • Oct. 20, 2008, 6:48 a.m. CST

    ZeroCorpse wins as the most fucked up TB entry ever

    by ricarleite

    Seen a lot of gruesome and disturbing stuff for someone with a “ZeroCorpse” user name. Are you a firefighter? Paramedic? Maybe you were the editor for Traces of Death?

  • Oct. 20, 2008, 12:55 p.m. CST

    What about “Africa Addio”

    by subtlety

    The so called “Mondo” genre was started by the two guys who made “Mondo Cane” and then went on (After an unnecessary and embarassing sequel) to make “Africa Addio” a film which even today is absolutely shocking on a number of level, yet also may be incredibly important as a historical document. If. It’s real. The directors swear up and down that it is; other folks curse their names and decry it as a shameless fakery. Anyone want to take the bait?

  • Oct. 20, 2008, 8:31 p.m. CST

    I’m amazed

    by malpaso

    This still gets talked about. I remember when they banned it from my local video store. Hype, nothing but hype.

VERN has been reviewing movies since 1999 and is the author of the books SEAGALOGY: A STUDY OF THE ASS-KICKING FILMS OF STEVEN SEAGAL, YIPPEE KI-YAY MOVIEGOER!: WRITINGS ON BRUCE WILLIS, BADASS CINEMA AND OTHER IMPORTANT TOPICS and NIKETOWN: A NOVEL. His horror-action novel WORM ON A HOOK will arrive later this year.
This entry was posted on Friday, October 17th, 2008 at 7:34 pm and is filed under AICN, Horror, Reviews. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can leave a response, or trackback from your own site.

3 Responses to “Vern survives the FACES OF DEATH 30th Anniversary Edition!!”

  1. Vern — I know you’re up to your eyeballs in review requests, and I really try not to throw too many at you all the time, but reading this review I really really want to try and get you to watch the movies which preceded and arguably inspired weirdness like FACES OF DEATH. They’re the Mondo docs of Paolo Cavara, Gualtiero Jacopetti, and Franco Prosperi.

    MONDO CANE was the first, and the film from which “Mondo Docs” like FACES take their name. It’s a bizzare film of the first catagory, unique and ambitious but also completely a product of its time and filled with ridiculous touches.

    The other one that you absolutely must see is AFRICA ADDIO, a document about the end of colonialism in Africa which ranks among the most amazing bits of cinema I have ever seen, although in some ways it is also completely reprehensible.

    Both of them are absolutely unique and amazing, and as a documentary fan I think you would find them well worth your time. You can watch the derivative MONDO CANE 2 or the ridiculous but amusing WOMEN OF THE WORLD too, but they’re not quite so much required viewing. They’re a little hard to find but in Seattle I’m betting an indie video store or two carries em. Really, give them a shot, you won’t regret it.

  2. Since you are gonna delete the comment above (rightfully. Down with spambots! No complaints from my side.), let me tell everybody that there was a spambot for “fun bridal shower ideas” actually picked the FACES OF DEATH comment section for its spamming purposes.

    Now that’s an idea for the BRIDESMAIDS sequel.

  3. (And no, I will never learn to read what I wrote, before I hit “submit comment”.)

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