Announcement of a ‘Faces of Death’ Remake is a Head-Scratcher
In perhaps one of the weirdest genre news stories to come out since we first reported on it two years ago, The Hollywood Reporter announced Barbie Ferreira (Euphoria) and Dacre Montgomery (Stranger Things) will star in a Faces of Death remake.
For those who don’t have the number 19 at the start of their birth year, and may not know what Faces of Death is about, it is a “found-footage” documentary of people and animals dying in a myriad of horrific ways. All apparently non-produced and real. We know now that was a false claim and most of the material was (effectively) manufactured
About eight years ago iHorror talked to Michael R. Felsher, owner, and founder of Red Shirt Pictures, a production company that provides documentaries, director commentary, and bonus content for DVD and Blu-Ray distributors. He went into detail about his experiences with Faces of Death and its director, Conan Le Cilaire (nee John A. Schwartz), who provides the commentary for the Blu-Ray edition.
“One of the things that I found really fascinating about [Faces of Death] was talking to both the special effects crew who worked on the movie and also the editor,” Felsher told iHorror at the time, “who had a really interesting task in that he had to blend stuff that existed at the time, and also sometimes create something out of whole cloth.”
What?! The footage isn’t entirely real? Gen-Xers were duped? For a period of time in the mom-and-pop video rental era, Faces of Death was one of those grails hidden behind the counter and only rented out if you were cool enough to be trusted by the cashier.
The content was so disturbing the film was banned in several countries. One famous triggering scene involves a monkey and a dining table with a small hole in the middle, used as a pillory for the animal’s head. Dining guests then beat the monkey’s head with small mallets until it became unconscious and dined then on its brains. Of course, all of this was fabricated with cauliflower substituting for primate gray matter.
Scenes like this would help the film become fodder for the video nasty era and get it banned in the U.K. The censorship only flamed the hype and Faces of Death became an underground cult classic with a few sequels to follow. But it is the original that remains the jewel in the crown of the franchise, having earned over $60 million in its lifetime.
Schwartz (Le Cilaire) passed away in 2019, but apparently, his legacy will live on in a new “re-imagining” of his original film. There are no details on what that means. Only that it will be written by Isa Mazzei and directed by Daniel Goldhaber (Cam).
We will keep you updated.
In the meantime, check out our story about the secrets of Faces of Death HERE.
Evil Tech Might Be Behind an Online Predator Ruse in ‘The Artifice Girl’
An evil A.I. program appears to be behind the fake abduction of a young girl in XYZ’s forthcoming thriller The Artifice Girl.
This movie was originally a festival contender where it garnered the Adam Yauch Hörnblowér Award at SXSW, and won Best International Feature at last year’s Fantasia Film Festival.
The teaser trailer is below (a full one will be released soon), and it feels like a twisted take on the cult fave Megan is Missing. Although, unlike Megan, The Artifice Girl isn’t a found footage film it employs third-person computer tech in its narrative.
The Artifice Girl is the directorial feature film debut of Franklin Ritch. The film stars Tatum Matthews (The Waltons: Homecoming), David Girard (short “Teardrop Goodbye with Mandatory Directorial Commentary by Remy Von Trout”), Sinda Nichols (That Abandoned Place, “Bubblegum Crisis”), Franklin Ritch and Lance Henriksen (Aliens, The Quick and the Dead)
XYZ Films will release The Artifice Girl in Theaters, On Digital, and On Demand on April 27, 2023.
A team of special agents discovers a revolutionary new computer program to bait and trap online predators. After teaming up with the program’s troubled developer, they soon find that the AI is rapidly advancing beyond its original purpose.
Latest Shark Movie ‘The Black Demon’ Swims Into Spring
The latest shark movie The Black Demon is preemptively striking audiences who are used to these types of films during the summer by heading to theaters this spring on April 28.
Billed as an “edge-of-your-seat action thriller,” which is what we hope for in a Jaws ripoff, er…oceanic creature feature. But it does have one thing going for it, director Adrian Grunberg whose overly-bloody Rambo: Last Blood wasn’t the worst in that series.
The combo here is Jaws meets Deepwater Horizon. The trailer looks pretty entertaining, but I don’t know about the VFX. Let us know what you think. Oh, and the animal in peril is a black and white Chihuahua.
Oilman Paul Sturges’ idyllic family vacation turns into a nightmare when they encounter a ferocious megalodon shark that will stop at nothing to protect its territory. Stranded and under constant attack, Paul and his family must somehow find a way to get his family back to shore alive before it strikes again in this epic battle between humans and nature.’
‘Scream VII’ Greenlit, But Should the Franchise Take a Decade-Long Rest Instead?
Bam! Bam! Bam! No that’s not a shotgun inside the bodega in Scream VI, it’s the sound of producer’s fists rapidly hitting the green light button to further franchise favorites (i.e. Scream VII).
With Scream VI barely out of the gate, and a sequel reportedly filming this year, it seems horror fans are the ultimate target audience to get ticket sales back at the box office and away from “press play” streaming culture. But maybe it’s too much too soon.
If we haven’t learned our lesson already, banging out cheap horror movies in quick succession isn’t exactly a fool-proof strategy to get butts in theater seats. Let’s pause in a moment of silence to remember the recent Halloween reboot/retcon. Although the news of David Gordon Green blowing off the gossamer and resurrecting the franchise in three installments was great news in 2018, his final chapter did nothing but put the tarnish back on the horror classic.
Possibly drunk on the moderate success of his first two films, Green advanced to a third one very quickly but failed to provide fan service. Criticisms of Halloween Ends mainly hinged on the lack of screen time given to both Michael Myers and Laurie Strode and instead on a new character that didn’t have anything to do with the first two films.
“Honestly, we never once considered making a Laurie and Michael movie,” the director told Moviemaker. “The concept that it should be a final showdown-type brawl never even crossed our minds.”
How’s that again?
Although this critic enjoyed the last film, many found it off-course and perhaps a stand-alone that should have never been connected to the redeveloped canon. Remember Halloween came out in 2018 with Kills releasing in 2021 (thanks to COVID) and finally Ends in 2022. As we know, the Blumhouse engine is fueled by brevity from script to screen, and although it can’t be proven, hammering out the last two films so quickly might have been integral to its critical undoing.
Which brings us to the Scream franchise. Will Scream VII get underbaked purely because Paramount wants to reduce its cooking time? Also, too much of a good thing can make you sick. Remember, everything in moderation. The first movie was released in 1996 with the next almost exactly a year later, then the third three years after that. The latter is considered the weaker of the franchise, but still solid.
Then we enter the decade release timeline. Scream 4 released in 2011, Scream (2022) 10 years after that. Some may say, “well hey, the difference in release times between the first two Scream movies was exactly that of the reboot.” And that is correct, but consider that Scream (’96) was a film that changed horror movies forever. It was an original recipe and ripe for back-to-back chapters, but we are now five sequels deep. Thankfully Wes Craven kept things sharp and entertaining even through all the parodies.
Conversely, that same recipe also survived because it took a decade-long hiatus, giving new trends time to develop before Craven attacked the newer tropes in another installment. Remember in Scream 3, they still used fax machines and flip phones. Fan theory, social media and online celebrity were developing fetuses at that time. Those trends would be incorporated into Craven’s fourth movie.
Fast-forward another eleven years and we get Radio Silence’s reboot (?) which made fun of the new terms “requel” and “legacy characters.” Scream was back and fresher than ever. Which leads us to Scream VI and a change of venue. No spoilers here, but this episode seemed oddly reminiscent of re-hashed past storylines, which may have been a satire in and of itself.
Now, it’s been announced that Scream VII is a go, but it leaves us to wonder how such a short hiatus is going to fare with nothing in the horror zeitgeist to channel. In all of this race to get the big bucks, some are saying Scream VII could only top its predecessor by bringing back Stu? Really? That, in my opinion, would be a cheap effort. Some also say, that sequels often bring in a supernatural element, but that would be out of place for Scream.
Could this franchise do with a 5-7 year hiatus before it ruins itself on principle? That break would allow time and new tropes to develop — the franchise’s life’s blood — and mostly the power behind its success. Or is Scream heading into the “thriller” category, where the characters are just going to face another killer(s) in a mask without the irony?
Perhaps that is what the new generation of horror fans want. It could work of course, but the spirit of the canon would be lost. True fans of the series will spot a bad apple if Radio Silence does anything uninspired with Scream VII. That’s a lot of pressure. Green took a chance in Halloween Ends and that didn’t pay off.
All that being said, Scream, if anything, is a masterclass at building hype. But hopefully, these movies don’t turn into the campy iterations they make fun of in Stab. There is still some life left in these films even if Ghostface doesn’t have time to catnap. But as they say, New York never sleeps.