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"i just find out this was fake by reading an interview by the director and here it is
Lifting the mask from 'Faces of Death'
Halloween is the right time for director John Schwartz to haunt audiences with tales of his scary film saga. The good news about the horrifying scenes it offers: They aren't entirely as real as the advertising claims. By MICHAEL PATRICK WELCH
Most adolescent slumber parties in the '80s began or ended with a video screening of the cult classic, pseudo-snuff flick Faces of Death. After the movie, no slumber came, only nightmares and debate.
"Did those people really beat that monkey to death and eat its brains?"
"How did they get that footage of the flesh-eating cult?"
"Is that electric chair execution real?"
Is any of Faces of Death real? What does the man who made it say?
"I'll never forget: All of a sudden on the news one night they're talking about Faces of Death!" says John Schwartz, who directed and wrote the movie and its sequels I through IV (there are now eight Faces of Death movies). The flick was intended as a Japanese-only release in 1979, but found its way to the United States, and the national news, a couple of years later.
"I almost fell out of my chair," says Schwartz in a phone interview. "Dan Rather on CBS was talking about these "incredibly horrible videos.' 'Cause everybody thought they were real!"
If anybody thinks Faces of Death is footage of actual deaths, it's because it says so on the video's box, right under the cheesy drawing of the hooded skull with the forked tongue and fangs. Schwartz and company did film real footage of slaughterhouses and autopsy rooms, but any other "real" deaths came from file footage.
"We traveled to all these different film libraries to see what we could find about death and disaster," says Schwartz. "I found this footage of this woman jumping off a building, and it was just incredible footage. But the part of the footage we didn't have was the aftermath. So we (filmed) inserts into the actual footage to match it."
Then how did Schwartz and company acquire the more bizarre footage? "I was the leader of the flesh-eating cult," Schwart admits. "I had scenes in each of these movies. . . . I'm the crazy, drugged-out killer. . . . I play this freaky rapist in the courtroom scene, and they show the rape on video, and it just so happens that the girl (in the rape scene) was this girl I was dating at the time."
You mean, the famous electric chair scene was fake? But the guy was foaming at the mouth and everything!
"We built a cell in a friend's loft, and we lined the guy's mouth with toothpaste," says Schwartz, laughing. "My research material for that: I happened to pick up a Hustler magazine and there was this great article about electrocution that really detailed how a person is executed. . . . And that's what I used as my basis."
Schwartz is listed in Faces of Death credits as "Alan Black." "My middle name is Alan, and schwarz means black in German."
He used the fake name to prevent bias at his other jobs, writing for TV shows such as Night Rider, Street Hawk and The Fall Guy as well as original movies for HBO and Showtime. But to date, the original Faces of Death has grossed over $30-million. It cost $450,000 to make. These days, Schwartz proudly includes Faces of Death on his resume when cashing in on the "reality" entertainment trend which he helped pioneer.
He's currently working for ABC's Totally Out of Control Videos series. "I created Totally Out of Control Love and Totally Out of Control Vacation . . . real stories of people who got married jumping off cliffs and underwater and, you know, weird stuff."
But once a year, at Halloween, Schwartz speaks at college campuses about his adventures creating Faces of Death.
"It can't be denied," he says. "It's my legacy at this point."
Despite the video's cult status, you won't find it in many video stores. Locally, only Unique Video, at Waters and Armenia avenues, carries the Faces of Death series.
TheHillsHaveEyes13 | Nashville, TN | 02/18/2003
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Despite all of the negative reviews, these films are among my favorites, and are absoloutely necessary for horror and gore fans to see. Yes, it is fake for the most part, but that is not the point. The films are quite entertaining and despite what other reviews claim, the effects are superb given the time it was made. I promise that if you are a fan of gore, you should be fairly pleased with this collection, each film with the exception of "faces of death 2" has some quite shocking scenes.The basic point of the films is a doctors personal study into the subject of death. The film is presented in a documentary style, piecing together many clips of people meeting there demise in horrible sorts of ways, and stock footage of accident aftermaths and morgues etc. As I stated earlier, the scenes where people are shown being killed are entirely fake. The fact that everyone thinks the fim is 100% real demonstrates the marketing genius that the director and gorgon video truly are.Horror and gore fans , buy the collection, buy a case of beer, invite your friends over and have your first annual F.O.D. fest this weekend."
Faces of Death Box Set (Vol 1-4)
Michael Deegan | Brisbane, Australia | 04/20/2004
(2 out of 5 stars)
"I saw the first two movies in '92 and was quite astounded by how graphic they were at the time. I have raved on about them ever since to my friends etc and have tried to find them again but never could until now with the help of the internet. So I bought the box set but was quite disappointed with the content. A lot of scenes that I remember to be real are obviously fake. If you didn't know any better, you could be easily fooled but some scenes are that badly portrayed that you would have to be from another planet not to know you are being duped. The 'Fact or Fiction' part enlightens the viewer about what scenes are staged from the man who directed these films. I understand his comments that certain things have happened to people throughout time but for whatever reason, he was not able to film or obtain footage of the event so they re-enacted it (quite badly for the most part). There are some interesting parts to these movies though and you would need a strong stomach to watch some of it. I would give the presentation of the box set and the service from Amazon.com 5 stars but the content only pulls a 2 from me."
Most of the footage was faked.
Matt Justin | Wollongong, AUS | 01/26/2005
(2 out of 5 stars)
"Heres some old news for those who do not know: many of the death scenes in the FOD series were faked. The original director, John Schwartz, admits to faking much of the footage (search google for "Lifting the mask from faces of death"). Also, a discerning eye and some quality video editing software is enough to disprove much of the footage as being fake. So what is real? According to the director, the animals being slaughtered, the autopsy footage and around 20% of the death footage from Faces of Death is actually real. My advice? If your interested in this kind of thing than take a pass on Faces of Death and go to Ogrish-dot-com or find the recent fan-made "Real Faces of Death" compilation which contains almost every clip Ogrish has published (92-minutes, look on P2P, about 730MB). "
Not For Everyone
BUB13 | NM | 12/27/2007
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Faces of Death is a very unique horror/Documentary series that is not for everyone. This series is recommended for veteran horror or shock fans, I wouldn't advise that just anyone pick it up and pop it in. Let me warn you: These films are very disturbing even to hardcore horror fan, Mostly when watching one for the first time. I went into these films thinking they would be worse than they were. I was actually surprised of how good they can be, Don't get me wrong these aren't the best horror films of all time. A select few will enjoy this. If you are reading this review and have not seen these films or never really heard about them, Or if you're a regular horror fan that wants to go to the next level, let me warn you. Most likely you will end up turning it off or sending it back. I myself thought the price was a little steep but i wasn't disapointed. These films comprise themselves of actual and staged footage of violence and mayhem, Executions, Animal Death, Car Crashes and many other footage of violence. I enjoyed these movies oddly enough, But it's probably because i have a stomach of iron and am used to this kind of stuff (Hey That's Just Me).
If you are looking for a visual challenge or are just interested in true crime or are just curious i would recommend that you buy this.