The original claimed it was banned in 48 countries! But that didn’t stop your friend but somehow getting a hold of the VHS and sneaking your classmates into his living room to get grossed out for 113 minutes. The childhood rite of passage of the 1980s, though disjointed and horrid, is making a strange comeback.
Legendary Entertainment, currently basking in the box office glow of hit Godzilla vs. Kong, has picked up the rights to the title with the goal of launching a new horror franchise. Isa Mazzei and Daniel Goldhaber, the team behind the 2018 psychological thriller Cam, will write and direct, respectively. Producing will be Susan Montford and Don Murphy of Angry Films, who are behind Legendary’s fast-tracked multiplatform Buck Rogers reboot, are producing. Cory Kaplan will co-produce while Rick Benattar of BT Productions will exec produce. John Burrud, the producer of the original movies, will also work on the new iteration.
The original version filmed in 1978 had the premise of traveling the world to see the most gruesome and detestable ways to perish. Death abounded in the film. .While many of the scenes of the movie were staged, it did not matter for the mostly young audience of kids in the Reagan era. And with each parental or adult warning to stay away from Faces of Death..
Much has changed since the 80s. While the revulsion of this film shocked parents who found out their kids saw it, the internet has opened the door to countless chances to see even worse. And real .. So how will the filmmakers create a new plotline that relates to our modern age of the 21st century? This is the possible plotline outlined by the Hollywood Reporter:
The new plot revolves around a female moderator of a YouTube-like website whose job is to weed out offensive and violent content and who herself is recovering from a serious trauma, who stumbles across a group that is re-creating the murders from the original film. But in the story primed for the digital age of online misinformation, the question is: Are the murders real or fake?
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Those who did not live through the last two decades of the 21st century may not realize how both magical and stunningly limited it was. Few who watched the Faces of Death actually knew the movie wasn’t real.. we all squirmed and closed our eyes thinking what we were seeing was some elicit footage of actual murder and death from the planet. Little did we know how amazing the marketing was even then.
At the time, the movie got awful reviews. Really, really bad reviews. But then the film made more than $35 mil in the box office and become a 30-year cult classic that most kids watched in groups secretly as they became a teenager.
The ‘banned in 40 countries’ claim probably was not true. Plus the idea that everything in the movie was real footage also was not true. But In their book Killing for Culture, authors David Kerekes and David Slater note that the movie had the inclusion of an extreme fatal accident; “the shattered remains of a cyclist are seen under a semi-tractor trailer. The camera pans long enough to capture paramedics scooping up blood clots, brain matter, and clumps of hair from the tarmac – this incident is authentic and culled from newsreels.”
The film was banned in the UK. It was banned in New Zealand. Australia refused to classify it.
One of the events that created a firestorm of controversy happened in November 1986, when a fourteen-year-old Rod Matthews bludgeoned his classmate Shaun Ouilette to death with a baseball bat. The idea to kill Ouilette was supposedly conceived after Matthews viewed Faces of Death, curious what it would be like if he were to actually kill someone..
And the rest.. was history..
The 1980s were a run time, mostly filled with antsy feelings from adults over the Satanic Panic and movies like this.
This newspaper article from 1986 shows how people were worried about teenagers being infatuated with some of the more horrendous sides of life.. An ‘expert’ quoted in the article summarized it by saying that since we live in a violent time, this is just another example of symptom of that.
Compared to our time now, some may consider this film to be tame.
But it sure wasn’t then…
And to this date, debate about the film and its legacy live on….