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Is FACES OF DEATH A Franchise Picture?

Hi, everyone. "Moriarty" here with some Rumblings From The Lab...

A couple of days ago, I got an e-mail from occasional spy “Bristlehound,” who always pops up with the tastiest little tidbits. He was the first one to tip us off about Alan Horn taking Bryan Singer to dinner about SUPERMAN (e-mailing us while it was actually happening), and this time, he wrote a bit more than normal. Here’s the e-mail he sent:

Hey Guys, Bristlehound here with an amazing story.

Each and every one of us fans remembers the "one that went too far". You know, the film that you just were too afraid of, that you were sure would fuck your head up good for life. For some of us it would have been Tobe Hooper's Chainsaw Massacre. For others Driller Killer from Abel Ferrara. For the wusses, the broad in the trenchcoat in Dressed to Kill. Well, for me and everyone I hung out with, it was FACES OF DEATH. My ass still hurts from where my dad whupped me when I stole my brother's copy to watch and got caught.

The ORIGINAL FACES (there were later ripoffs like Traces of Death and even Faces 4 and 5 done by some German hackasaurus) were three videotapes that were never available to rent when I wanted them from the Tower Video here in Washington DC. And this was before sell through - if you wanted to buy a tape, the retail was $89.99. They became mystical talismans of wrongness. If you had seen one of the FACES VHS Tapes, you told your friends about it. And those that didn't see it, WANTED to see it. Never mind the fact that it was hard to believe that most of what was on the tapes was REAL... I mean so much of it was obviously staged. But that too became part of the fun and the myth. Sure the electric chair scene was fake, but hell, the alligator bloodbath looked real enough. That clearly was an autopsy, how the hell do I know if they are eating monkey brains or not?

This was the early days of was fun and scary to believe that some crazy nutjob had been out collecting death scenes just to link them together for our sick amusement. The tapes were elusive and forbidden - they actually advertised them as banned in 40 countries or some such. I know that they were among the early video nasties that were outlawed in England. But the banning just added to the legend, to the underground coolness, to the desire to SEE.

As badly put together as they were, the tapes had a host - Dr. Francis B. Gross, a doctor of death who wanted to study death all around the world in all forms. Never mind that the end of the tapes indicated that Gross was "played" by an actor... Gross looked weird and showed me and my friends sick shit. That made him scarier than Mike Meyers or Freddy because he reminded me of my school doctor in his clinical approach to everything. My point (and I do have one) is that while we are living in a horror renaissance since the country is afraid of what its leaders are doing, it is all remake crap... I mean THE FOG? THE BIRDS? Why? They were fine to begin with. I understand that they need brand names but how about some originality people????

I just found out from a good source that Rick Benattar at Angryfilms, the Natural Born Killers company, helped score the rights to do a live action film "inspired" by Faces of Death. Yes they'll keep the title, but I think they want to use Dr. Gross to create a modern day Jason Vorhees, a new boogeyman for the milennium. I don't know the whole story but figure that you could dig, because I'll tell you, get this right and a new Faces of Death series will run for more segments than Freddy and Jason Combined!

I figured the easiest way to suss out the accuracy of this particular tip was to go straight to the source, the grand poobah of AngryFilms, Don Murphy. When I e-mailed him a brief note just saying “FACES OF DEATH?” he responded quickly and had this to say on the record:

"You have good sources Moriarty. Yes, we're in the process of putting together a commercial horror film based on the videotapes FACES OF DEATH. Our model will be what they did with the new Chainsaw, only with an original plot, since the tapes didn't really have any. A young, sexy group of kids have to figure out why all these strange deaths are happening in their small town, and they link them back to the original tapes. We'll redo some of the sequences from the original - electrocutions, autopsies, on air suicide, alligators tearing folks apart - scary stuff. The longterm goal is also to create new franchise using the host of the original series who has never stopped killing. He's like the anti-Freddy, not chasing you and cracking wise - he clinically stares into your eyes and studies you as you beg for help and die. Like if Devin from Chud was on fire and begging to be pissed on he'd just take notes! Several of the major horror distributors have been tracking this with us and this week and next we'll cut a deal with the goal to be to do this independently and get it into theatres by Halloween 06. The main thing we're gonna concentrate on is making it live up to the title - you'll want to turn away, but you won't be able to!"

So there you have it. Looks like we may be seeing a new FACES OF DEATH, and not the pseudo-snuff tapes that were so popular in the ‘80s. We’ll keep our eye on this one, and when it lands at a studio, we’ll let you know.

"Moriarty" out.

Readers Talkback
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  • May 4, 2005, 2:20 p.m. CST


    by Rearden

    If it hits theaters, how extreme could it really be? Seriously. I believe it when I see it.

  • May 4, 2005, 2:21 p.m. CST

    get fucked, MURF

    by blue7

    Yeah, what a great idea. Make a gay movie out of some gay old fake videotapes. Maybe you'll hit a home run like you did with LXG, you load.

  • May 4, 2005, 2:27 p.m. CST

    If it wasn't already such a...

    by DocPazuzu

    ...risible idea, based on a cack-handed, odious piece of pop culture to begin with, they would have lost me at "A young, sexy group of kids." Stinko!

  • May 4, 2005, 2:35 p.m. CST


    by rotten666

    I remember those fucking tapes. Some was real stuff (car accidents and people jumping from burning buildings), a lot was fake, but fuck if it wasn't goddamn creepy. My favorite was the beggining when the host cuts up a few corpses, touches the doorknob to exit the morgue, THEN takes of his rubber goves in the hallway and throws them out. Traces of Death wasn't too bad either. Lotsa car accidents. Good shit.

  • May 4, 2005, 2:38 p.m. CST

    What was real what was fake in FOD?

    by Syd Mead

    Hey, I grew up with this shit and clearly there was some real footage tossed in there. If you recall this grimey 8mm footage from the early 1960's showing a washed up body on the beach? I list that as too hard to fake so real. Money brains? Bull shit. Suicide? Bull shit. Auto Bahn burning wreck with smoldering body sticking out the wind shield of a sports car? Too hard to fake, so real. Security video cam showing dogs attacking and killing a thief? Hard to say. possibly bull shit. And that was the fun of watching those videos with friends. You had to guess. Creating a plot around that is like making Scooby Doo 3: Faces Of Death. Too late for this movie anyway. Faces Of Death moved to TV. In this day and age, watch the evening news what is going on in Iraq. Beheadings, faked GI Joe bodies, torture of prisoners, burning bodies. Hell, it's got it all. And it won't cost you $8.

  • May 4, 2005, 2:39 p.m. CST

    sexy kids? Hollywood is truly out of ideas

    by kdoc13

    Didn't these guys see Scream? The sexy kids are always the ones who die, then you're left with some scrub like Jamie Kennedy or some fat unfunny fuck like Patton Oswalt or the kid from Stand By Me. Damn, get a bunch of ugly kids and let them get massacred. I'd pay to see that. Also, anyone know of a Snopes-type web site that deals with these flicks factually?

  • May 4, 2005, 2:46 p.m. CST

    American horror movies

    by InspectorDoppler

  • May 4, 2005, 2:47 p.m. CST

    are dead.

    by InspectorDoppler

    (sorry bout that - itchy trigger finger)

  • May 4, 2005, 2:56 p.m. CST

    It's an interesting idea...

    by Childe Roland

    ...from a marketing point of view. You create a horror story based on some lousy fake tapes nobody's thought about in years and proceed under the assumption that the tapes were real. The kiddies will eat that shit up after seeing the movie and run out to rent the originals (which I bet our filmmakers snaked the royalty rights to when they purchased the remake rights). Way to drive up rentals and really take revenues to the next level, gang! Trouble is, to hit that demographic for which such a thing would be "cool," the new film has to be PG-13 friendly, which is the kiss of death for modern horror. I predict mostly cheesy with scattered ham and an 80% chance of suckitude. Plug Paris HIlton into it somehow and that chance becomes a certainty.

  • May 4, 2005, 2:58 p.m. CST

    I think its time for a Hollywood Lottery

    by modlight

    Thin out the ranks. Who can tell the difference between the Duffs Lohans and Simpsons. All stars under 25 should have to throw their names in a hat and 5 are picked by the Editor of US Weekly. They cordon off LA from Bev Hills to Los Feliz and hunt is on!!! RUN PARIS RUN!!!!

  • May 4, 2005, 2:59 p.m. CST

    Well it's got me excited!

    by obi12kenobi

    It's got a lot of potential and if they do this right they've got a franchise on their hands. A little worried about the "sexy teens" comment though...

  • May 4, 2005, 2:59 p.m. CST

    oh yeah

    by modlight

    and film it and you have your Faces of Death movie. Thats what I was getting at.

  • May 4, 2005, 3:01 p.m. CST

    What was fake...

    by stlfilmwire

    It is easy to find the fake stuff. If it was supposed to be a consumer camcorder shooting footage but then they cut to another angle: fake. If the person on tape is far away but you can hear what they are saying nice and clear: fake. Start there and u will spot the fakes.

  • May 4, 2005, 3:01 p.m. CST

    One way to make this work would be:

    by oceansized

    to off some hateable celebrities (i.e. Paris Hilton, Pauly Shore) in the recreations. Who among us didn't enjoy seeing Seagal bite the dust in "Executive Decision"?

  • May 4, 2005, 3:04 p.m. CST

    OOOOHHHH a better idea!!!!

    by modlight

    Ok, how about a movie where these teens are watching these home videos that are sooooo gross and scary and mysterious, and then their phone rings and Dr Gross tells them they have 7 days to live. Writes itself if you ask me.

  • May 4, 2005, 3:12 p.m. CST

    The remake idiocy stopped being annoying, then stopped being fun

    by SalvatoreGravano

    No announcement of a remake will shock me... although I do admit that something as incomprehensibly imbecilic as a concept of remaking "Faces of Death" comes pretty close. Anyway, the only remake-related thing that I "predicted" a while ago that didn't become reality yet are remakes of (remakes of) recent flicks. "Aw-kay, this year's remake of Texas Chainsaw made money... let's remake it for the next summer!" When will THAT happen? Oh, by the way, is that the same Hollywood Producer Don Murphy that - seriously - scours the IMDB boards to call the viewers who disliked his flicks "moronic scum"? (Remake "August Underground" and the Guinea Pigs with a cast of black [c]rappers now, Donnie)

  • May 4, 2005, 3:15 p.m. CST

    Replace "sexy group of kids"...

    by Squarejawhero

    ... with a couple of classy actors like Bill Pullman and, I dunno, an actress of calibur... Jennifer Connelly... then I'm sold. It's a little boring watching kids die every time in a series of yawnsome "shocks". Let's have some slow-burn grown up horror for a change which doesn't rely on small girls with long black hair. Lets see adults get attacked, people who can attack back, so we can feel threatened. When strong people are made weak, it can be even more effective.

  • May 4, 2005, 3:15 p.m. CST

    If only this had come out before The Ring, it might seem origina

    by Lance Rock

    But now...a horror movie? About people who die in mysterious ways that is somehow connected to some old videotapes? Now I've heard everything!

  • May 4, 2005, 3:23 p.m. CST

    Hey, you guys obviously don't know the rules

    by 007-11

    If bad things happen, they have to happen to sexy kids. While we're talking total bullshit, has anyone else seen Elizabeth Smart trying parlay getting kidnapped into a career. She is on People's 50 most beautiful list ofr God's sake. She's stupid, easily manipualted, she'll go far!

  • May 4, 2005, 3:30 p.m. CST

    lynxpro, Uwe Boll would direct!!!!

    by modlight

    And then, all M. Night style, he would be the last victim as he gets pelted with old Beta tapes from the roof of Hollywood & Highland. And please... I was trying to downplay any reference to great Literature. This is Hollywood here and I'm trying to get something made. Keep it up and they'll want Dan Cortese to star.

  • May 4, 2005, 3:39 p.m. CST

    Good Idea/Sexy Kids Comment Stupid/ Faces was creepy, but now th

    by Mr. Profit

    Whatever, I hope they take this film seriously, it has potential to make a killing and scare dumb 17 year olds.

  • May 4, 2005, 3:49 p.m. CST

    by Exterminans

  • May 4, 2005, 3:54 p.m. CST

    Sexy teans get involved with Weirdo and start dying?

    by cookylamoo

    God, how to they keep coming up with all these wonderful, original ideas? I guess sniffing cocaine off breasts really works.

  • May 4, 2005, 4:14 p.m. CST

    Interesing pitch...

    by Dr_Boll make this thing NC-17 so parents will march on captial hill trying to get it banned. This has goriest film of all time potential.

  • May 4, 2005, 4:15 p.m. CST

    Breakdown of a young sexy group of kids

    by MaxCalifornia.

  • May 4, 2005, 4:19 p.m. CST

    Man, you know what would make this work?

    by Flim_

    If you cast ADULTS, people with maturity, strength and wisdom to draw from. See, because when someone who has greater faculties gets offed, you get scared. You get frightened, because it hits closer to home. Say there's a group of adults who used to watch the movies as kids, and they had like a club based on it. Say they start getting offed in their places of security - home, work... wherever - that shit is good and upsetting. Just because you want to appeal to the juvenile demographic doesn't mean you have to cast the film with adolescents... If you make it appeal to adults with an 'R' rating (which is a larger demographic, incidentally) then maybe they'll start going to the movies again. Adults don't stay home because they somehow just don't like movies any more... They stay home because the movies don't appeal to their mental level. Get them where they live and work, make them relate to it, and your larger demo will flock to the theatres for the 'event' of the film. "But," as LeVar likes to say, "You don't have to take my word for it..."

  • May 4, 2005, 4:21 p.m. CST

    Ahem, let me try that again : Breakdown of "a young sexy group o

    by MaxCalifornia.

    The Young, Sexy Multi-Demographic-Appeal Group of Kids (TM) will be comprised of : one blonde hot cheerleader type, to be played by Jessica Biel, or if wet, someone from a tv show like Kristen Bell, her brunette-haired idiot jock boyfriend, one tough black dude, his latina girlfriend to do the screaming, one token Asian kid for no apparent reason, and one nerd/fat/glasses-wearing guy to be the comedy relief. At least one of the above will be played by a flavor-of-the-week teeny bopper singer. Any more bad horror movie stereotypes I've missed out?

  • May 4, 2005, 4:31 p.m. CST

    you forgot

    by Shigeru

    the goth girl who lives and turns into a preppy at the end

  • May 4, 2005, 4:48 p.m. CST

    Sounds like Ass

    by Mooly

    So they want to make a horror movie featuring a group of sexy kids (every crap teen horror movie ever), mysterious deaths possibly caused by videotapes (ring), urban legends (urban legend) and they think it will be good? Why don't they just slap a PG-13 rating on that inevitable shit-fest to truely make it unoriginal garbage.

  • May 4, 2005, 4:57 p.m. CST

    Never saw them...

    by ZeroCorpse

    I never saw the appeal to watching people die. I attended enough real funerals to get my fill of death, thanks. Why people would consider snuff films entertaining has always been a mystery to me.

  • May 4, 2005, 5:19 p.m. CST

    Why not just skip the boys and just do a movie where a guy kills

    by cookylamoo

    Like the Italians used to make. At least those films were honest about their sadism.

  • May 4, 2005, 5:21 p.m. CST

    "young sexy group of kids" leaped out at me too

    by Silver Shamrock

    I'm so tired of this shit. Cynical moviemaking assholes. These fuckers watch Urban Legends 2 and say, "right, this is what we'll have.. a young sexy group..and it has to be pg-13.." Has the future of Horror ever been so grim? is anyone else tired of scripts made by target marketing and demographics?

  • May 4, 2005, 5:54 p.m. CST

    "Like if Devin from Chud was on fire and begging to be pissed on

    by godoffireinhell


  • May 4, 2005, 5:56 p.m. CST

    I'd prefer "aged, BBWs and hobos" myself

    by Meg 3D!!!

    but if Murphy wants "young, sexy kids" then he shall have it. Gotta love that Murphy. This sounds crass and unworkable but what the fuck? Get going and remake all the 70s-80s titles and get it done with. I hope to see Rob Cohens' BLOODSUCKING FREAKS starring that hot blonde from 8 SIMPLE RULES, and Jeremy Piven as the evil ringmaster. Carry on.

  • May 4, 2005, 6:13 p.m. CST

    They already remade this

    by ElPaw

    it was called Saw. *** What's up with the new domain and rss feed?

  • May 4, 2005, 6:22 p.m. CST

    I've always drawn the line at real stuff in horror movies

    by DocPazuzu

    I can tolerate just about anything if it's fake, but to seek out real death footage as entertainment is fucked up.

  • May 4, 2005, 6:23 p.m. CST

    Man, oh man...

    by Blue_Demon

    How old was Ellen Burstyn in "The Exorcist?" Early to mid 30s? Jason Miller looked almost 40. We don't need any young sexy kids. Sigourney was sexy in "Alien" and she was 29. Can kids REALLY not enjoy a movie unless somebody just past puberty is being menaced?

  • May 4, 2005, 6:24 p.m. CST

    Sounds Like A Missed Opportunity

    by Jinxo

    I dunno. Sounds like an interesting franchise but it seems to me like they're running the wrong way with it. Making the Doctor guy the bad guy? Doing a plot akin to the oh so successful Blair Witch 2? Why wouldn't you go the most obvious route? You have Dr. Gross as a sort of Crypt Keeper character who intros each flick. Only he's scary because he is just so analytical and cold about the nasty shit he's about to show you. Then the gimmick is that the films are set up as being based on real events. If they actually are who cares. But you say, "This really happened!" Then you throw the weirdest wrongest plots out there. Maybe even play it with some odd feel of realism. Except of course that the realism is broken up by decapitations and nastiness. So, like Fargo meets Too Shocking For TV. The trick would be to play it just believable enough for folks to wonder if it was based on something real.

  • May 4, 2005, 6:46 p.m. CST

    Snuff Films?

    by SIR-SLEDGE450

    Nicholas Cage likes snuff films....And we aint talking 'biut 8mm here people)

  • May 4, 2005, 7:17 p.m. CST

    Wow. We have sunk pretty low in our entertainment choices

    by doobieflixx

    I must be old fashioned but I liked when movies were actually scary rather than gory. Basing a film on a series of tapes that most people watch (I hope) because of curiosity is not a good idea. Pretty fucked actually. Just my opinion.

  • May 4, 2005, 8:16 p.m. CST

    Pauly Shore as the DOC!! as for the sexy kids....

    by funkyhouse

    Corey haim,the dude that played Johnny from karate kid and william hung as the KIDS oh and to throw in a lady for them all to gang bang,the fat chick from less than perfect...with a cameo from beyonce as a hitch hiker on her way to a gospel conference,that tells them all they are doomed...dooooomed

  • May 4, 2005, 8:21 p.m. CST

    Surprised no one has mentioned yet.

    by HanFiredFirst

  • May 4, 2005, 8:47 p.m. CST

    Now that my friends, is what you would call "COOL NEWS!!" now ca

    by MentallyMariah

    Did I just read what I just read? Wow, the vicodin just kicked in!

  • May 4, 2005, 9:52 p.m. CST

    I wouldn't see it, but...

    by zigster

    I smell box office gold on this one. 60-70 million domestic. Guess they'll be upgrading their hookers soon.

  • May 4, 2005, 10:57 p.m. CST

    The Thing About Sexy Teens.

    by dr_dreadlocks

    People and executives are stuck in the demographic idealism. Which is, if we put sexy teens into the film, the unsexy teens will flock to it. Since the world is made up of them unsexy folk, we can't go wrong! It doesn't matter if it doesn't work forty times, if it works once: "Scream" they'll keep trying until it does again and watch the others fail. The thing is that, this may sound Mckee, story is king. When you wind a good tale, you'll get an audience no matter what the fuck the situation is. Movies "back in the day" had strong opening weekends, but held them for half a bloody year, Titanic anyone? Now it's just a matter of cashing in, so sexy teens and a derived story are king, even if it fails. But the kicker is the fact that these people make films for a living, and if they cease doing so, they can't make a living anymore. So when you have no money, and you need money, you seek money in the quickest possible manner. You cobble together a story quickly, find a gimmick, get a sexy cast and move forward. It's sad, and hard for us to watch, but fuck... these people have to eat. I understand most aren't exactly struggling for food, but that's not the point. Money to be made, it's easy to just make a shitty gimmick movie and move forward. It's essentially the same percentage as your average workplace. For every workhorse, you get a fucking idiot. Hollywood is the same way, just more public, expensive, and groan inducing. I'm beating a dead horse, yes, but damn if it isn't fun sometimes.

  • May 4, 2005, 10:58 p.m. CST

    Well. actually did get mentioned earlier ...

    by Shan

    ... just so you'd know ...

  • May 4, 2005, 11:30 p.m. CST

    That's cause I got enough of "My Country Right or Wrong" from my

    by cookylamoo

  • May 5, 2005, 12:48 a.m. CST


    by Shan

    I think there's been enough flamewars to provide evidence to the contrary, I think ...

  • May 5, 2005, 12:50 a.m. CST


    by Shan

    ... of course, obviously I read it by the way.

  • May 5, 2005, 1:21 a.m. CST

    "A sexy young group of kids...."

    by CyberBeavis1326

    Wasn't that the same line they used for pitching the new "House of Wax". The pitch must have went something like this: "Well it'll be like the old "House of Wax" but we'll use a sexy young group of kids like Paris Hilton and Chad Micheal Murray." Come to think of it, that line has been used in pitches for these teen movies the past 7 years. Someone needs to kick the shit out of the producer who said it so stylishly, like it was a cool idea.

  • May 5, 2005, 2:44 a.m. CST

    By the way ...

    by Shan

    I mean that all as a compliment, anchorite in that you provoke debate and unfortunately a fair stack of uncalled for abuse ... now I'm getting all self conscious and explaining myself ad infinitum *sigh*

  • May 5, 2005, 2:57 a.m. CST

    But you gotta love that dig at that odious suicidal turd Devin F

    by Cash Bailey

    Murph's got a set of balls on him, that's for sure. I love when grown men let their pettyness run rampant for the entertainment of others.

  • May 5, 2005, 9:41 a.m. CST

    One of those damn movies...

    by grendelson138

    had footage of a guy getting eaten by a bear that had to be real. Nothing like seeing a huge bear chomp down on some delicious man intestines. Also footage of cows getting killed at the slaughterhouse. I love beef (and still do), but that shit had me feeling nauseous for a week. Oh yeah, this will suck.

  • May 5, 2005, 11:11 a.m. CST

    Why the animals?

    by superman5150

    Why did these films feel the need to show animal testing, slaughterhouses, and whatnot? I'm not a PETA member or anything. I just felt that it was a cop out for "filler." Besides, any death search on Kazaa or other would give you enough videos for 30 of these films.

  • May 5, 2005, 11:45 a.m. CST

    Do not deny your fascination with death...

    by aceattorney


  • May 7, 2005, 5:24 a.m. CST

    Hollywood Assholes cranking out Shit...

    by Mike Lovestein

    I hope Don Murphy chokes to death on a sexy young kid's ball sack. P.S. FUCK "THE SMILE SHOP" FUCK JOHN HUNT & FUCK JON LANE I just wanted to say that. You guys are so lucky to have a forum where you can say what's on your mind, and not have to worry about being censored.