In the year of our lord 2013, there are only 26 reviews for this classic piece of trash. Blasphemy.
Faces of Death, you have heard of it in some form. Maybe through those panic-fest newspaper articles from the 1980s or more recent coverage relating to the amount of the film that has been faked. For those who don't know, this is the film that supposedly contains all real death footage captured on camera. Face it (no pun intended),this film is a rite of passage. There really two types of people in the world, those who are clueless and the rest of us cynical, jaded folks who have seen Faces of Death.
The premise of this film is that it documents one man's journey to seek and understand the many faces of death. No credible reason is given for this personal journey, meaning the viewer can engage in transference and substitute their own reasons for wanting to see this film. This is a brilliant ploy on the part of the film-makers as it allows the audience to achieve an unparalleled sense of empathy with the host and - okay so I'm full of it, sue me.
This film was one of the first that offered viewers a chance to vicariously view the ultimate misfortune of others. Whether it was the man who was mauled by the bear, the guy who got the electric chair or the man who entered into a shoot-out with the police (to name a few). The host attempts to shoehorn these scenes into a linear narrative, with limited results.
Being a first-mover of sorts, this film continues to hold a degree of notoriety even in the age of ubiquitous death footage on the internet. However, as other reviewers have stated, this approach has been followed time and again and without the large amount of staged and faked footage, which will put off some viewers. Don't get me wrong, there is still plenty of real accident footage included in this film, which means it may not be suitable children's programming.
The audio and video of the DVD are imperfect, which actually enhances the viewing experience; you actually feel like you are watching an old VHS dub on the sly in your uncle's basement. The DVD includes a 'making-of' retrospective interview, which includes some informative background information. But really, you would be buying this DVD for the film and not the technical specs or special features.
I don't really need to recommend this film. If you are looking at these reviews, you have either seen the film or are curious to do so. My advice - go ahead, it won't bite you.