Barbie Ferreira (Euphoria) and Dacre Montgomery (Weird stuff) are set to star in a reimagining of the 1978 film Faces of Deathnews that is sure to send shivers down the spines of more than a few movie fans.
That’s all thanks to the original’s reputation. Faces of Deatha film as notorious as you would find on the shelves of your average video store in the 1980s and 1990s. The film featured scenes of animal and human deaths, some real and some fabricated, but all presented as the genuine article and with the intention cumulative enough to unsettle even the most diehard of spectators.
Faces of Death was directed by filmmaker John A. Schwartz, using the pseudonym Conan Le Cilaire. Schwartz, a graduate of CalArts (where he reportedly lived with David Hasselhoff), became involved in the project while working for a small production company.
Taylor Hill/Getty; Lisa Maree Williams/Getty Barbie Ferreira and Dacre Montgomery will star in a retelling of the notorious 1978 horror film ‘Faces of Death’
“One day, several Japanese executives came to us and asked if we could make a documentary about death,” recalled Schwartz in a 2013 essay for Excess of Cinema. “They wanted us to capture the horror of extinction, and the more macabre the better. After the meeting, the owner’s son came up with the title, and I came up with the concept: the story of a pathologist who, over time, compiled a library of death. The film would simply narrate their experiences.”
Aquarius Liberation ‘Faces of Death’ poster
Schwartz cast an actor named Michael Carr as the would-be pathologist who introduced viewers to the film’s grotesque, often jaw-dropping visuals, which mixed documentary footage from film libraries with material staged by the director himself. For a sequence in which the diners kill a monkey and eat its brain, Schwartz shot a live monkey and then used cauliflower to represent the animal’s gray matter. “To this day, this is the only segment people swear by is real,” Schwartz noted in the Excess of Cinema article.
The finished film would, in many ways, be an omen of the era of horror movies found in 1999. The Blair Witch Project.
“Part of the creative challenge was how to make it feel like real life, to really fool people,” Schwartz told Deadspin in 2012. “We were way ahead of ourselves in that terrain.”
The film was banned in some countries, including the United Kingdom, where it was placed on the “Nasty Videos” list. This censorship helped market the film in the many territories where the film could be seen. Although the film only cost $450,000, Faces of Death would make a lot of money, with Schwartz claiming the final gross was over $60 million.
Schwartz directed sequels to the film before he passed away in 2019, but it’s the original Faces of Death this remains its enduring, albeit hardly bearable, legacy, a savage reminder of our own inevitable encounter with the Grim Reaper.
As the director wrote in his article for Excess of Cinema“In the end, that’s what Faces of Death it was all about – illuminating the one thing we all have to face.”
The new Faces of Death will be written by Isa Mazzei and directed by Daniel Goldhaber, part of the creative team behind the 2018 horror film. camera. The Hollywood Reporter was the first to break the news.
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