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 video...it 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!"