Faces of Death

Faces of Death, also released under the title The Original Faces of Death, is a 1978 mondo film, lasting roughly 105 minutes, which guides viewers through explicit scenes depicting a variety of ways to die. It is often billed as Banned in 40 Countries, with that number varying with the years. The film has, in fact, been banned (at least temporarily) in New Zealand, Australia, Norway and Finland. The film was written and directed by John Alan Schwartz (credited as “Conan le Cilaire” for directing and “Alan Black” for writing). Schwartz was also the second unit director, credited this time as “Johnny Getyerkokov“. He also appears in one of the segments in this film, as the leader of the alleged flesh eating cult in San Francisco area, and puts in cameo appearances in several other films in this series. This film stars Michael Carr as the narrator, and ‘creative consultant’ called “Dr. Francis B. Gröss“. John Alan Schwartz has gone on record as saying this film’s budget was $450,000 and there are estimates that it has grossed more than $35 million dollars worldwide in theatrical releases, not including rentals. It was ranked #50 on Entertainment Weekly‘s “Top 50 Cult Films of All-Time” in 2000.

Although several of the “human death” scenes are obviously faked, some of the footage is genuine. Famous scenes of death from the media are included, such as stock footage of a napalm bombing in Vietnam, various newsreel footage, and wartime footage of Hitler. Also featured are the actual on-camera deaths of a variety of animals, including seals being clubbed to death and animals being killed on the slaughterhouse line.

A number of Faces of Death sequels were made, each with a lower production quality than the last. The first four films and Faces of Death: Fact or Fiction? (a “documentary” on the making of the series) were written and at least partially directed by John Alan Schwartz. Faces of Death 5 and 6 were made up entirely of highlights from the first four films, with no new footage at all, and released in some countries where the original films were originally banned. The first three starred Carr as “Dr. Gröss”, although The Worst of Faces of Death (consisting of highlights from the first three installments) instead featured Schwartz’s brother, James Schwartz, as “Dr. Louis Flellis“. Flellis explains that he accidentally killed “Dr. Gröss” while operating on him the prior week. However, in Faces of Death IV, Flellis explains the absence of Dr. Gröss by stating that he had taken his own life, having been driven insane as a result of witnessing so much death.

Some of the actors and special makeup/effects crew have reportedly come forward to try to obtain credit for their work on this film. Most of these people were not in any union at the time of filming. This is the reasoning for the brief credits which helped make the film seem more realistic.

This film was spoofed on Late Night with Conan O’Brien where various Muppets were shown either dead or in the process of dying.

Faces of Death 2000 recapped the “best” scenes from I through IV and a few shots of the previously deceased. However, a few of the alleged “police surveillance video” captures that depict actual murders or deaths, are obvious fakes. The gangs and victims in the videos are seen in the end credits performing a rap video, with the same backdrops and same actors. The rappers at the end credits of this film are the horrorcore rap group known as Insane Poetry. The music video is for the song known as “How ya gona reason with a psycho,” from the album Grim Reality.

In 2006, it was announced that Rogue Pictures is developing a new version of the film, with director J.T. Petty attached.[1]

[edit] Series

The films in the series were:

[edit] Notes

[edit] External links

http://video.google.com/videoplay?docid=-5590832799604062499 :Actual faces of death video.


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