Faces of Death (also released as The Original Faces of Death) is a 1978 mondo film which guides viewers through explicit scenes depicting a variety of ways to die and violent acts.
It is often billed as Banned in 40+ Countries. The film has been banned (at least temporarily) in Australia, Norway, Finland, New Zealand, and the United Kingdom. Although several of the “human death” scenes are obvious fakes (with Allan A. Apone, make-up and special effects artists for the film saying that about 40% of it is fake), 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 Adolf Hitler.
‘Faces of Death misses the mark on all levels. It is either the most ill-conceived documentary ever put together, or the most tasteless composition of genuine and non-genuine violence ever created. It is a terrible film that I really can recommend to no one, yet it has spawned numerous sequels, and has a surprisingly large cult following. I’m not certain what the film’s appeal is… perhaps it’s the thought of satisfying our own morbid curiosity by witnessing something as horrific as this. Only about 80% of the film is a fraud… Roughly 20% of the film is genuine footage. While it’s generally quite painfully obvious which is which, this thought of viewing something we should consider ‘taboo’ is the only reason I can think that this film would have any followers at all’.
Critical Film review
‘By today’s standards Faces of Death might seem pretty weak. We are talking about a generation now who was raised on the internet where sites such as Rotten.com and Ogrish were the outlets to the images of real death. Peta hands out DVD propaganda with worse footage on it than what was collected in this film, and the news shows more violence today than ever before’.
‘In the decades since, the film has long been surpassed in ferocity by the aforementioned copycat series,and even more recently,in some really heinous mixtapes floating around on the internet these days.For the record, Japanese horse-entrail porn will probably never make it to my list of turn ons.We’ve come a long way from the innocent days of Mondo Cane,which upon release was actually considered shocking.Welcome to the 21st century,droogies. On the scale, Faces earns one wop for entertainment value, and another for being the catalyst that revitalized the shockumentary sub-genre, dying at the time. Classic stuff’. Wopsploitation review
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