Thursday, October 28, 2010

1,000th Post Special: Faces of Death

One-thousand posts, huh?  Yeah, I clearly have no life.  Thanks for indulging me in this for so long though.  It's good to know that I have company here.  After all of this time and so many posts, what kind of film would suffice?  How about the most controversial film ever released on video?  Yeah, that would do it.  Believe it or not, this film that was allegedly banned in forty countries (actually five) is readily available from Netflix.  I know- I was surprised too!  This is actually the 30th Anniversary re-release from 2008 which has been restored for future generations.  You guys couldn't have spend your time doing something more important?  There's famine in several nations, but you felt the need to work on this instead?!?  Well, let's get to it.  Get out your blood-less squibs for my review of...
The film begins with about five minutes of bodily dissection.  I hope you aren't eating during this movie...although, I can't see why you would.  Eventually, we meet our narrator- a doctor who is obsessed with studying death.  In an attempt to make the film 'arty,' they show his 'dream' about death that led him on a 20+ year journey to study death.  Considering the fact that he's a Pathologist, why was the dream necessary? On to the death...
We see a collection of bits involving animals being killed.  Gee, how was that movie banned again?  If you're a vegetarian, this is probably stuff you've seen before though.  You get to see in-depth coverage of cows being dissected in a slaughterhouse.  Oddly, our narrator is seriously offended by the process of making food kosher.  Considering that this whole bit shows bodies being cut into pieces, why does this one bit seem bad to him?  I just watched a cow skull be broken down, but that part was bad.  Oh yeah, we also see a totally-real restaurant where customers kill a monkey and eat it's brain.  Sure- why not?!?
The film is also nice enough to show us seals being clubbed.  The narrator is a bit contradictory, however, as he first says that the people were hired by the government to help control the population.  Mere seconds later though, he says that they do it because the pelts are worth so much money.  Pick one!  We see footage of poachers killing alligators.  Gee, it was sure nice of them to let you film them doing an illegal activity!
Speaking of illegal, the film shows us what is supposedly a political assassination.  Two things ruin the effect though.  First, the man has no blood come out of his bullet wound made from a few feet away.  Secondly, the press conference where this supposedly occurs at has more than one camera angle, including a close-up of the man not speaking.  After that, they explain that the act was done by a famous French assassin.  This man is nice enough to invite them to his house and speak to English.  Don't worry- they couldn't have just called the cops and/or military to come with them!  Still think being an assassin is cool?!?
The fake footage continues as we see a police raid that has gone bad.  The victims inside the house are surprisingly-clean for being cut-up with a knife.  In addition, the man shot by the police from about a foot away with a shotgun doesn't bleed.  You have no problem with showing real blood, but you can't use any fake stuff?  There's a scene where a man is supposedly-killed while playing near a bear.  Of course, they show this by having the cameraman be knocked over, despite him being several feet away when the 'incident' occurs.  Who thought this was real again?
After even more 'death' and trauma, the film decides to wrap-up with a positive message.  No, really.  They show a woman give birth to her child, apparently symbolizing that life goes on.  Oh good, that totally matches up with the shot of the man being 'killed in the electric chair' earlier.  The End.
This movie sucks- controversy or no controversy.  The idea is simple, but they can't make up their mind as to what to show.  They didn't want to fill a film with animals being killed, so they tried to work in some real material.  Of course, if they actually showed real murder, this film would be illegal!  This leads to a ton of really fake scenes that do nothing but draw you out of the film.  So you get ten minutes of sheeps and cows being killed, followed by some super-fake footage of people being shot.  Who's the audience for this?  "I love seeing animals killed and I wish that you could imply human death- what do you got for me?"  Never mind that a lot of this footage is either self-indulgent or something that you can watch on National Geographic at 3 o'clock in the afternoon.  If you believe that most of this is real, you're an idiot.  This movie is either a gross-out (thanks for the shots of Holocaust victims, movie) or just dull.  If you don't buy into the fake footage, it's just painful.  In spite of all the controversy, the film is either laughably-bad or boring.  It might be worth a look to the more extreme viewers out there, but a lot of you won't make it past the first five minutes.  Take us away, shot of the most '70s man ever...
Next up, another Roger Corman film shows up on the page.  This one is an obscure one that rips off both Aliens and The Thing- yea.  Stay tuned...


  1. Congrats on the 1000th post....
    Ah, Faces of Death. I wonder how different I would have turned out if my mother hadn't let me mistakenly rent it one night when I was about eight.

  2. Thats what I get for reading posts backwards lol, make that Congratulations on 1,000 posts!

  3. Thanks.

    It's hard to imagine what impact that film would have on a kid since I was in my late 20s when I saw it just now.

    Mind you, I was raised on camp classics like the 'Godzilla' series, 'Empire of the Ants' and 'Mysterious Island.' Obviously, that has affected me. :-)