How The Faces Of Death Legacy Sequel Will Reinvent The Controversial Series

The upcoming Faces Of Death legacy sequel will reinvent the core concept behind the controversial horror franchise. Cannibal Holocaust from 1980 is a very early example of a found-footage horror, and the movie is still a disturbing watch. Cannibal Holocaust remains controversial to this day and - like Faces Of Death - somewhat belongs to the mondo film subgenre, which was a mixture of exploitation film and documentary. Mondo films explored topics like death or foreign cultures, and many often combined staged scenes with real documentary footage.

There's no better example of the mondo film format than Faces Of Death, from 1978. This cast Michael Carr as a pathologist investigating the many "faces of death" by looking at footage of people dying in different ways. While the movie did use some footage of actual accidents, many of its more controversial scenes such as a murderer being killed in an electric chair or a monkey's brains being eaten were faked. Faces Of Death intentionally blurred the line and arrived long before viewers could go to the internet to confirm whether what they were seeing was real or not.


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Despite the horror movies disturbing content Faces Of Death was a huge success, and grossed over $35 million worldwide. It also spawned a franchise, with Faces Of Death II arriving in 1981 and many other sequels arriving in later years. Faces Of Death also caused outrage in its day and landed on the UK's infamous "video nasties" list in the 1980s. The film and its follow-ups are largely considered scuzzy relics of a different era, but a modern Faces Of Death II from the filmmakers behind CAM promises to revisit the mondo genre from a new perspective.

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In it was announced in May 2021 that CAM director Daniel Goldhaber and screenwriter Isa Mazzei were making the Faces Of Death movie reboot. This new Faces Of Death II - although it will likely just be called Faces Of Death - will focus on the moderator of a video-sharing site who looks out for offensive content. She finds a group who are seemingly recreating the death scenes from 1978's Faces Of Death, though it's unclear if these scenes are real or fake.

Faces Of Death and the mondo footage, in general, have a poor cultural reputation, and it would be near impossible for a similiar film to have the same impact over 40 years on. If a new Faces Of Death has to happen, Goldhaber and Mazzei's angle is a unique, meta approach. It's a concept that can explore how digital misinformation and "fake news" while looking at the complicated legacy of the original and its various horror movie ripoffs. This Faces Of Death II also sounds like it could be an intense thriller in its own right, though it's unlikely to cause a resurgence of the mondo documentary format.