Movies - TV
The Faces
of Death Controversy Explained
By ANYA STANLEY
The cult film “Faces of Death,” advertised as “banned in over 46 countries,” created controversy upon release, thanks to its use of graphic images. Though the film can be streamed today with services like Tubi, with even a remake on the way, many originally viewed the movie through bootleg versions and copies of copies.
The film depicts death through various causes, such as murder and ritual, while using a mix of special effects and genuine footage. Author Amos Vogel called true on-screen deaths a “taboo in its purest form” in his book “Film as a Subversive Art,” as the film appears to simply exist for shock value, rather than as an exploration of moral determinism, like so many others in the genre.
In the U.K., moral crusaders pressured lawmakers into action, creating a banned video list nicknamed “Video Nasties” and prosecuting distributors possessing these films. In 1983, “Faces of Death” was added to this list, but the film’s claim of being banned in over 40 countries appears to be merely a (very successful) promotional ploy.