Friday, February 25, 2011

1,200th Post Celebration: Traces of Death

There's always a price to pay for keeping yourself busy!  On this less than special number of an anniversary, I cover a film that rips off a much more famous film.  Check out the title and try to guess.  Give up?  Of course not- you know that it's Faces of Death!  Dead bodies- check.  Narrator with a dark tone- check.  Being extremely gory without the pretense of a point- big check!  This 1993 video release is infamous for showing a lot of crime-scene photos and real-life death in it.  Unlike the original Faces, there's almost no animal footage here- unless you count shots of them killing people.  This film also uses some famous footage that showed up in a Mondo film, as well as a real-life incident that shocked people in the 1980s.  It's one of those moments that makes you think 'Thank God, Fox News wasn't around when this happened!'  In a rare moment for Mondo Bizarro, I'm blurring out the few screenshots that I have, but it's not for nudity.  Let me put it this way: you're better off not seeing this stuff in full.  At the same time, you won't get the gist of why this movie is what it is if you see nothing.  That make sense?  Regardless, get out your morbid art kit as we get ready to make...
The film wastes no time introducing us to violent death and mayhem.  There's no cheesy set-up here or exposition to frame this story.  Just a narrator and crime-scene photos like this one...
Yeah, there are a lot of images like that, just without the boxes blocking the gross stuff.  Is it too late to turn back now?  I believe, I believe, I believe I'm...going to throw up.  Mind you, some of them are so odd-looking that they appear fake, but I'm not sure enough to show them without boxes...
At one point, we see a TV show- I think- interviewing a guy who survived his own attempt at suicide.  If you could move those boxes and see what I saw, you'd probably need to step away for a bit.  Ironically, this film was made too late to become a 'Video Nasty'- although it was officially refused classification by the BBFC too.

* They also show the full video of Bud Dwyer's famous on-air suicide.  Classy, movie.
* They show Vic Morrow's on-set death from 1980, footage of South American rebels killed (from another Mondo film) and footage of lions eating a man.  This footage comes to you courtesy of 1975's Final Cry of the Savana.  The latter scene was replicated for Faces of Death as well, only with a bear instead.
What is life without death...being exploited for shock value?  There is no plot to this movie and they barely try to say that there is.  This is not uncommon for Mondo films or those that copied them so blatantly though.  Faces of Death is only tied together by the false idea of the doctor 'looking into the origins of death around the world.'  Even by Mondo standards though, this is pretty random.  The scenes just kind of happen and the film moves on.  Even Mondo Cane tried to close things out a little bit!  The film itself walks a really awkward line too.  Some of the death footage appears legitimate, while others look fake.  Some of them look 'a little fake,' so I'm not sure how to feel.  If they are fake, I guess I should give kudos to them for making it look real.  These are talents that could be put to better use elsewhere though.  Is there a reason to see this movie?  No, not really.  This is basically a 'Best Of...' compilation- just by someone else.  That's both lazy and theft, good job!  I really wish I hadn't seen this movie.  On the plus side, the odds of anyone else being able to- or wanting to- are pretty low.  Sure raises my hopes for Fazes of Death, huh?

See you in another 100 posts, people!

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