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Filmmaker Introduced 'Faces of Death' to the World 46 Years Ago

Filmmaker Introduced ‘Faces of Death’ to the World 46 Years Ago

In 1978, a film premiered in select U.S. theaters that astounded viewers to such a degree it was subsequently banned in several countries. Those who grew up in the seventies and eighties might recall having a VHS copy of the film, watching it with friends in a mix of curiosity and fear.

I remember my older brother showing me Faces of Death when I was around ten or eleven years old. Growing up, my parents didn’t restrict my access to horror films. By the time I reached junior high, I’d already seen iconic films like Friday the 13th, Halloween, Texas Chainsaw Massacre, Nightmare on Elm Street, and Hellraiser. However, Faces of Death, which debuted on November 10, 1978, was unlike any movie I’d ever seen.

Directed by California film school graduate John A. Schwartz, Faces of Death was voted among the top 30 most controversial films of all time, according to Cine-Excess.

The trailer alone is unsettling, which is why I chose not to include it in this reflection on disturbing American cinema. Today, films like Terrifier carry the torch for the gore genre. What set Faces of Death apart from other movies is its inclusion of real footage of humans dying, making some of its scenes extremely hard to watch. I recently found the movie on ROKU TV and could only manage about 30 minutes before turning it off.

Schwartz, who passed away in 2019 at age 66, left a significant mark on American cinematic history. His work on Faces of Death continues to be a point of reference in discussions about controversial films.

Source: Cine-Excess, ROKU TV