Faces of Death (1978)
Right then. I’m having a right cheerful weekend here lol. So, just watched the infamous Faces of Death. Basically this doctor is studying death all over the world in its many forms. He only appears at the beginning and end and the rest of the time he’s narrating the footage you’re watching. Kinda like one of those Disney wildlife documentaries from years ago, that kind of serious tone to his voice.
Well, animal lovers beware; there’s footage of dog fighting, a slaughterhouse (cows and sheep), a seal cull, people eating a monkey’s brains.. all real apart from possibly the monkey. Oh and a chicken being beheaded with an axe by some bitch, running around with no head. All very unpleasant. Then there are many images of dead bodies, body parts, autopsies.. Real again, I think, at least mainly. We see people killed in various ways too although I seriously doubt a lot of that was real, some of it just clearly wasn’t, other bits I dunno.
Anyway, it’s just one scene involving random death of various kinds one after the other, there’s no coherent structure to it. It’s all held together by the narration which to be honest is pretty fucking dense most of the time. Example: “When I saw the mutilated remains of.. such and such.. I thought to myself..” That kind of morbid pseudo-scientific bollocks droning on. It’s pure exploitation, footage of WWII, famine – which is real and upsetting – juxtaposed with the stupidest fake footage of things like crocodiles and bears attacking and killing people (or NOT as the case obviously was), hippy cults eating human flesh (total utter bilge and badly done)..
I forced myself to sit through the whole 1:45 mins of it in glorious HD (thanks a lot YouTube) as most of the time I was just bored. It isn’t a film, it’s just parading gruesomeness for the sake of it across the screen and it’s void of any point as the really badly faked conclusion about life after death confirmed. That was just laughably terrible.
I mean, I was offended, not by the awful images which were often depressing but by the sheer front of the thing. The filmmakers didn’t give a living shit about the serious images, such as famine victims, they just used everything they could for the sole purpose of shocking people and justified it with the weakest excuse to do it. Some fucking dick-wipe studying death and reaching bizarre conclusions in his own fucked up 70s hippy mind. Just exploitation and very unsavoury. You know, some teenage boys might revel in viewing forbidden footage or something and that is basically the level this film is aimed at.
This isn’t horror. Horror, even if it does contain horrible shit like Cannibal Holocaust, at least needs a plot which Cannibal Holocaust does have. I was just sat watching this thinking – okay a dead body – and your point is? Oh a seal cull – so you think you’re a news report now? Nazi atrocities – now you’re the History Channel? What the fuck are you? Just pointless images totally out of any context strung together for shock value. Left me cold. I just felt nothing. This is not a horror film. But it masquerades as one, has done since the 70s. It’s just not. It’s tripe. It insults every reality it shows and fails in every illusion it tries to create.