The FACES OF DEATH Collection

With Michael Carr, Samuel Berkowitz, Mary Ellen Brighton
Directed by John Alan Schwartz

The only thing missing from the Gorgon collection is a commentary track by John Alan Schwartz!
I, like many other reviewers, also remember the 1st FOD from my childhood years. It was cut to pieces though!! South Africa at the time of the video boom was, as you can imagine, repressed to the (beta)max. Many 'nasties' were in circulation on bootleg tapes and every now and then one slipped through the net, like 'Bloody Moon' which you could rent anywhere in the 80's, completely uncut. But 'Faces' was quite a shocker.
There was this copy of a copy of a copy Beta tape that did the rounds. A washed out, jumpy experience. The fake scenes didn't fool us though, even at a tender age.
Here are my thoughts after my refresher course, over 25 years later, with the collection from Gorgon Video.
FOD 1: ***** The best in the series by far. Dr. Francis B. Gross takes us on a morbid journey. Oh my oh my those morgue scenes!!! And the kosher butchering sends shivers down my spine! God, the old testament was brutal! (and continues to be by the looks of it)
I skip the 'Poachers' chapter before it can start. I remember this being the most shocking chapter for me in the early 80's. I still haven't watched it again and don't think I ever will.
The faked sequences are very well done. Hats off to Schwartz. The Electric Chair is the worst faked scene though, as faked as I remember it from my childhood.
Dr. Francis B. Gross is a fantastic character, right up there with 'The Tall man' Angus Scrimm and Vincent Price in terms of cult status.
Overall very disturbing.
FOD 2: *** Also good, especially the very very funny voice dubbing on 'Cannibal Kings'!
Real footage is upsetting but I say laugh your horror away! Isn't that what we all do in everyday life anyway? Faked scenes are so-so.
The student bungee jumping off the building is truly urban legend bad fake nonsense.
As with FOD 1, I skip the animal slaughter and -research chapters before they can start! I just can't stand to see animals suffer. Call me a sissy.
FOD 3: * The worst of the four. Very boring, almost everything faked very badly with hammy acting, and shot on dodgy video. You can tell this was made purely to cash in on the success of the 1st two FOD's. AVOID!
FOD 4: ** Better than 3, but Francis B. Gross is missing. His replacement is HILARIOUS though. Hammy acting was never this funny. Buy this volume for the pure laff riot -inducing 'Dr. Louis Flellis'. With rolling eyes peeking at his cue card every now and then he takes us on a journey of his questionable personal opinions and to the best chapter of the volume, 'Violence in a World gone Mad'. The electric chair reprisal is hysterical. All in all, this is the funniest of the lot, very entertaining, almost carttoonish in it's own morbid way.
If you are interested in the Faces of Death series, I'd say go for volume 1. It's the darkest. Avoid volume 3, it's really pathetic. But the Medusa collection is very affordable, so go for that if you want a good chuckle at volume 4. As I said before, the Volume 3 disc is not even worth using as a coaster.

- Francois Blom

1 2 3 4 5 6
- B
- C

never let a review decide for you, but for those who need a rating, see the Flamedrop scale below
6 - Volcanic
5 - Blistering
4 - Hot
3 - Smolder
2 - Room Temperature
1 - Fizzled
0 - Extinguished

A: Multi-Viewing Potential

B: Could Enjoy A 2nd Look

C: Once Should Suffice

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