11/21/2017  
Take Me To The River on Blu-ray & DVD Feb 5Phantom From 10,000 Leagues (1956) on Blu-ray & DVD Jan 5Condemned on DVD & Blu-ray Jan 5Broad City: Season 2 on DVD Jan 5McHale's Navy: The Complete Series on DVD No 17Return to Sender on Blu-ray & DVD Sep 29The Phantom of the Opera with Lon Chaney Blu-ray & DVD Oct 13

follow us on twitter

dOc on facebook

NE News Editor

Jennifer Esposito Is Your Newest NCIS Agent in Season 1...
Critics Are Split on Ghostbusters Reboot ...
'Respect is key': The Game, Snoop Dogg lead march to LA...
Kristen Stewart's Sheer Dress At 'Equals' Premiere -- S...
"A Slow Slipping Away"-- Kris Kristofferson's Long-Undi...
Fox News' Roger Ailes Sued for Sexual Harassment by Ous...
Garrison Keillor Retires from 'Prairie Home Companion' ...
Jennifer Aniston is Pregnant: Star Steps Out in Loose D...
Hiddleswift Is One Big Song Promotion -- A Theory...
Elvis Presley's daughter Lisa Marie Presley files for ...





Microsoft Store

Share: email   Print      Technorati.gif   StumbleUpon.gif   MySpace   digg.gif delicious.gif   google.gif   magnolia.gif   facebook.gif
Permalink: Permalink.gif



Buy from Amazon

Buy from Amazon.com

MPI Home Video presents
Faces of Death III: Scenes from the Underground (1985)

"Certain scenes in this motion picture have been recreated to depict factual events."
- Disclaimer from closing credits

Review By: Dale Dobson   
Published: November 30, 2001

Director: Conan Le Cilaire

Manufacturer: Zomax
MPAA Rating: Not Rated for (graphic violence, language, some nudity)
Run Time: 01h:25m:41s
Release Date: October 30, 2001
UPC: 030306220222
Genre: horror


Style
Grade
Substance
Grade
Image Transfer
Grade
Audio Transfer
Grade
Extras
Grade
D- DD-C- D

DVD Review

When the original Faces of Death made its debut on home video in the early 1980s, it rapidly became the stuff of schoolyard legend. Purporting to depict actual human deaths in graphic detail, the original film spawned five direct-to-video sequels and several imitators. The series also pioneered exploitation filmmaking for the home video market—few people were willing to own these films, but many were willing to ante up the cost of a rental to satisfy their morbid curiosity. Word of mouth soon spread about the films' supposed content, and kids traded gory secondhand stories about the horrors they claimed to have seen.

Of course, exploitation marketing always sells the sizzle, not the steak, and those who dared to expose themselves to the Faces of Death usually ended up feeling like they'd paid three dollars to see the "6 Foot Man Eating Chicken" at a carnival sideshow. Faces of Death III: Scenes from the Underground is no exception—with the (possible) exception of accident footage on the Autobahn and a disturbing slaughterhouse sequence, the film's "death" scenes are obviously staged, usually in the hokiest fashion imaginable. The film is hosted by a "Dr. Francis B. Gross," who introduces and narrates each segment. "Dr. Gross" moralizes on the carelessness and dangers of modern society, serving the same function as the costumed doctors and nurses on hand to "protect" the audience in the Kroger Babb roadshow exploitation era.

Many of the incidents depicted here stretch credibility even before the shoddy execution runs its course onscreen—a nest of diamondback rattlesnakes is discovered in a family's kitchen, for example, and a skydiver drifts off course and lands in a crocodile pit. A bigger part of the problem, viewing this 1985 film today, is that so many of the segments in this volume focus on criminal circumstances—drug dealers are taken down, serial killers' handiwork is investigated, and a PCP addict is hogtied and subdued. In this age of "reality TV" shows, the acting, costuming, and procedures depicted are glaringly inauthentic. The PCP-addled "violent drug addict" isn't nearly as out-of-control as the average arrestee on COPS, and the staging of most sequences looks like anything but live, on-the-spot reporting. There's always a cutaway before bullets rip into a body, or a man jumps from a building, or a torture victim is hanged. And the film's low budget doesn't allow creation of the intended effects with much success—a falling body is obviously a stiff, unmoving dummy, "mutilated" corpses are visibly intact but coated with fake blood, and a prop sign erroneously reads No Unauthurized Personnel. The illusion is constantly undermined by poor production values—there's nothing here that would convince most observers that they've seen actual events of any sort, let alone a genuine human death on film.

There is one truly disturbing sequence in Faces of Death III, set in a slaughterhouse, where live rabbits and chickens are efficiently and graphically killed, skinned, plucked, gutted and dismembered. I have mixed feelings about this footage—while these are real animals that are obviously being harmed, it is happening in a slaughterhouse. That's what happens between the barnyard and the table. It's not pleasant to watch, by any means, but the butchering is not carried out solely for our "amusement," and anyone who eats meat should at least be cognizant of the fact that animals don't arrange themselves in convenient styro-polyethylene packaging of their own accord.

I'm a longtime fan of exploitation films—the promotion, execution and general incompetence surrounding most such efforts always makes for entertaining viewing. But I'm not nearly so sanguine about the Faces of Death series, even though its fake-documentary approach follows in the footsteps of Mondo Cane and other such productions. Ultimately, what's most offensive about Faces of Death III and its brethren is the series' marketing approach. These productions advertise themselves as the pornography of death, "snuff" movies for the masses. The fact that most of the footage is faked, and badly so, tends to make the films themselves laughable and almost quaint. It's a put-on. But I'm not sure this sort of thing should be encouraged.

Rating for Style: D-
Rating for Substance: D

 

Image Transfer

 One
Aspect Ratio1.33:1 - Full Frame
Original Aspect Ratioyes
Anamorphicno


Image Transfer Review: MPI and Gorgon Video present Faces of Death III in its original made-for-video 1.33:1 full-frame aspect ratio. Most of the material was shot on grainy 16mm film, with a few videotaped segments featuring narrator "Dr. Francis B. Gross" pontificating and filling screen time. The transfer is drawn from a videotape master, with poor shadow detail, heavy edge enhancement, dull color and a generally soft and smeary look. In this case, the filmmakers weren't aiming for high quality imagery, but the intended fake-documentary look isn't well captured by the DVD, and the presentation is not up to current standards.

Image Transfer Grade: D-

 

Audio Transfer

 LanguageRemote Access
MonoEnglishno


Audio Transfer Review: Faces of Death III retains its original low budget monaural soundtrack, presented in Dolby Digital 2.0 format for ProLogic decoding to the center channel. As one would expect, dynamic and frequency range are extremely limited, and most of the audio sounds like it was recorded in a closet (even the narration and voices added in post-production). Gene Kauer's score is so poorly recorded it sounds like stock music, and there's no bass activity to speak of. The audio is probably appropriate given the film's budget and pseudo-documentary approach, but the quality is very poor by current standards.

Audio Transfer Grade: C-

 

Disc Extras

Static menu with music
Scene Access with 20 cues and remote access
Subtitles/Captions in English, Spanish with remote access
1 Original Trailer(s)
1 Other Trailer(s) featuring Faces of Death
Packaging: Alpha
Picture Disc
1 Disc
1-Sided disc(s)
Layers: single

Extra Extras:
  1. Promotional Material
Extras Review: The Faces of Death III disc features 20 full-motion chapter stops, some nicely-designed horrific menus, and optional English and Spanish subtitles. Extras include mono, full-frame Trailers for Faces of Death III, a simple one-minute video trailer displaying clips from the film over generic death-metal music, and for the original Faces of Death, a two-and-a-half-minute theatrical trailer with an entertaining, old-fashioned exploitation voice-over. There's also a single screen page of honestly labeled Promotional Material, displaying Gorgon Video's DVD covers for the previous chapters in the series. Not much to see here, though the English subtitles are nicely rendered in a "typewriter" font that matches the main attraction's intended feel.

Extras Grade: D

 

Final Comments

Faces of Death III: Scenes from the Underground is neither as deeply offensive nor as morbidly entertaining as it purports to be, but that doesn't make it a watchable movie. MPI's DVD release features a middling transfer and few supplements. Definitely NOT recommended.

 


Back to top

Search 10,000+ titles:

or Advanced Search

DVD REVIEW ARCHIVE


Get FREE Shipping on all orders at TimeLife.com! - 120x90

 



Microsoft Store

Keywords

television, jennifer esposito, blue bloods, ncis, mark harmon. duane henry, wilmer valderrama, michael weatherly, bull, movie, ghostbusters, comedy, chris helmsworth, melissa mcarthy, kristen wiig, celebrity, rap, game, shoop dogg, jayceon terrell taylor, alton sterling, kristen stewart, equals, jonathan simkhal, nicholas hoult, music, kris kristofferson, country music hall of fame, alzheimers, lyme disease, fox news, gretchen carlson, fox and friends, steve doocy, roger ailes, the real story with gretchen carlson, radio, garrison keillor, a prairie home companion, jennifer anniston, baby bump, justin theroux, taylor swift, tom hiddleston, calvin harris, lisa marie presley, michael lockwood, riley and benjamin keough, danny keough, michael jackson, nicolas cage, tom affleck, boston fan, bill simmons, hbo show, any given wednesday, tom brady, deflategate, hamilton, lin-manuel mianda, periscope, heart tweet machine, hamilton mixtape, cable, hbo, curb your enthusiasm, larry david, bernie sanders, saturday night live, maya and marty, christina grimmie, murdered, plaza live, before you exit, marcus grimmie, nashville, cmt, president brian phillips, the tonight show, jimmy fallon, president obama, the roots, hillary clinton, tim mcgraw, faith hill, maggie mcgraw, humble and kind, ellen degeneres show, titi pierce, coldwell banker robbins & free realty, hairspray live!, tracy turnblad, york theatre company, john waters, jennifer hudson, harvey fierstein, martin short, derek hough, j.k. rowling, harry potter and the cursed child, noma dumezweni, emma watson, judd apatow, paul freig, melissa mccarthy, romance, history channel, roots, remake, anika noni rose, t.i., malachi kirby, josh duhamel, transformers, fergie, black eyed peas, axl, double dutchess, abc, music city, grand ole opry, chip esten, lennon stella, the voice, alisan porterm, christina aguilera, ceelo green, ariana grande, sia, the little big town, 2016 billboard music awards, pink, just like fire, pamela neal, warrior princess, send my love (to your new lover), billboard music awards, adele, patrick daughters, bryan cranston, lbj, all the way, melissa leo, frank langella, todd weeks, hard sell, kristin chenoweth, wicked

On Facebook!
digitallyOBSESSED!
digitallyOBSESSED!
Promote Your Page Too

Visit:

Zarabesque.com

Original Magic Dress.com

Susti Heaven

Become a Reviewer | Search | Review Vault | Reviewers
Readers | Webmasters | Privacy | Contact
Microsoft Store