Saturday, October 31, 2009


In the summer of ’85 two video rentals left lasting impressions in my oversized head to this day – Wrestlemania and Faces of Death III. I’m sure legions of wrestling fans can recall the first Hulk-a-maniac's event blow by body-slam. Though not many have privy to the latter. Faces of Death (I through IV) were a series of films that pretty much lived up to the title. Each flick was a collection of “home-movie style” vignettes that portrayed all kinds of gruesome, final chapters. Animals being slaughtered. Prisoners being electrocuted. Even horrific, historical footage of the napalm bombings in Vietnam. Though, the one that sticks out in my mind the most was the guy that plummeted to his death from a tall building. I still remember him hitting the ground and not splatting, but bouncing a bit. Eeeewww. What scared me the most was that all of stuff I was watching was real. At least that’s what the filmmaker John Alan Schwartz led us to believe. Years later I found out that 40% of the human deaths were faked. Still, it didn’t make a bit of difference to me. To this day, Faces of Death was one of the scariest things I ever laid my eyes on. Of course I was 15, and yes, I did also believed in the validity of Wrestlemania.

Here are some other little known facts about this frightening, fake-ish series…

  • The budget of the first (1978) film was $450,000.
  • The film jumped to supercult status and to date has grossed 35 million.
  • The film's “banned in 30 countries” warning is a bit misleading, since it was only temporarily banned in Australia, New Zealand, Norway and Finland.
  • John Alan Schwartz (credited as Johnny Getyerkokov) made cameos in all of the films, including appearing as a leader of a flesh-eating cult.
  • Faces of Death producers have recently released a 30 anniversary DVD/Blu Ray collection.

Stumble Upon Toolbar

No comments:

Post a Comment

Custom Search