Pros: Very few
Cons: A complete waste of your time
One of the most infamous video series in history, FACES OF DEATH is also perhaps one of the most pathetic. As the series expanded from not one, but a total of five increasingly more amateurish and, surprisingly, laughable entries, the series as a whole became not puke-inducing, but almost succeeded at being a big joke. No entry displays this trend more implicitly than the fourth entry.
FACES OF DEATH IV starts out right where F.O.D. III left of, with more supposed "actual death" presented for our viewing "pleasure." As with the previous entries, volume 4 is chock full of simulated scenes purporting to show mutilation pain and death narrated by a quack physician. Instead of the infamous "Dr. Francis B. Gross" however, we now are treated to commentary from a narrator who is even more insidious and infuriating.
Following suspect looking footage of a cremation, we are introduced to one "Dr. Louis Flellis," a supposed neurosurgeon who you wouldn't trust to wash your car, let alone perform brain surgery. Flellis informs us that he has continued in the work of his colleague Dr. Gross, who we are told went completely insane and died since F.O.D. 3, trying to discover the many "faces" of death. This mainly serves as a attempt to link this entry with the previous installments, and follows the preposterous "storyline" of a medical professional attempting to give us an informed running commentary about various death scenarios.
As I mentioned, Flellis is an even bigger crock than his predecessor, staring wide-eyed into the camera while uttering a never-ending stream of unintelligible pap about how his research has led him to various (illogical) conclusions about death and dying. Apparently, the research has proven that filming "live" death could not have been accomplished without expert camera crews and the most convenient set-ups this side of Hollywood. Please, folks... FACES OF DEATH is 90% fabricated footage, most obvious when viewing the films with a mentality greater than that of a ten year old.
After the intro, we are shown staged footage of an inmate at an asylum who goes nuts, stabbing a nurse in the neck with a screwdriver. The question I ask to those who think ANY of this stuff is real is how a camera crew can even get into these areas? If an inmate at a sanitarium was really going bonkers, a news crew would be nowhere near the scene let alone be allowed in to film, and it definitely wouldn't just "happen" to be there right at the most opportune time as we are led to believe by the narration. The actual footage looks remarkably good, way to impeccable to suggest the stress and hastiness a cameraman would operate under had he actually recorded this scenario live. The bottom line: This immaculate footage would simply not have been gathered in the way it is presented on the tape.
More simulated footage follows showing us a college student drinking copious amounts of beer and then bungee jumping off a building with a cord that is ten feet too long; an inebriated water skier being run over by a boat propeller and then being pulled out of the water looking fine except for rather poorly applied make-up; a group of miners who just happen to be filming the day they fall victim to a cave-in, and a auto-repair yard employee who has a foot severed by a falling automobile.
The cream of the crop, though, is a woman who has a giant "leech" attach itself to her arm after toxic chemicals have polluted a lake in an "undisclosed location in Alabama." The "leech" is pretty sorry looking, and after the thing has been pulled off after a policeman burns it, the narrator informs us that the woman died because of "toxins passed into her blood by the creature." What a load of bull. The girl is obviously alive during the scene, and then suddenly, after the leech is removed, she died. The stuff these people try to make us believe... Ugh!
Another rather laughable moment occurs when a Vietnamese-American family chooses a cute little puppy to butcher for their evening meal. After choosing a particularly lovable specimen, we are shown a knife digging entrails out of what is obviously a stuffed animal. We never see the dog being killed, nor do we actually see the dead carcass until all the meat has been cut into neat little cutlets.
Aside from the abundance of fabrications, FACES OF DEATH IV does include some rather nasty **REAL** atrocity footage. We have the expected car crash victims, airline disasters, dead bodies pulled out of waterways and dumpsters, crime scene photos and stunt mishaps. Two instances really stand out. One is an accident involving a subway, wherein an unfortunate man falls off the waiting platform to be pinned between the train and the concrete. The train acted as a tourniquet, keeping the man alive even though all that remains is a head and upper torso. The other nasty footage is from Colombia, where a suicide bomber is literally blown in half by a bomb he was carrying in his pants. Although most of his chest cavity was blown away in the blast, the man is still somehow alive, looking around even though his body is connected only by a few strands of flesh around his waist.
F.O.D. IV closes with more atrociously concocted footage showing FBI agents busting a devil worship cult. Upon gaining entrance to a house, the agents find a bunch of rubbery limbs and blood all over; we are told the group sold severed human heads for profits. If that wasn't enough, we are shown a confiscated "snuff" film instructing cult members how to conduct ritual sacrifice.
Volume four in the FACES OF DEATH series is probably the worst yet, quite a statement considering just how downright awful the previous two entries were. By this point, F.O.D. was existing on notoriety alone, and there was little substance behind the producer's claims of filling the tapes with "real" death footage. As if the content isn't bad enough, the end credits roll while a song "written" by Dr. Flellis is played, titled, aptly, "Faces of Death." This volume is nauseating for all the wrong reasons.
Looking at these films, it's downright baffling how some people could even believe that half of this footage is authentic. Most of it is fabricated so poorly, it is instantly discernable as being a hoax. Really, I have no recommendation at all for this film. It is done horribly, and has absolutely no value at all, even for the "true death enthusiast." Just stay well clear of FACES OF DEATH IV.