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Faces of Death 2

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Release Date: 
Screen Entertainment
Aspect Ratio: 
Directed by: 
Conan Le Cilaire
aka: John A. Schwartz
Francis B. Gross
Bottom Line: 

After the amazing success of the first Faces Of Death movie it was inevitable that director John Schwartz would follow it up with a second helping of mondo nastiness. Unfortunately it appears that Schwartz had very little left in his pot of archive footage of atrocities and accidents from around the world; so what we have here seems to be merely warmed-up leftovers from volume one padded out with lots of (often) irrelevant footage and narration rather than a true companion to the very unpleasant first movie!

Just as in the first film, we are introduced to pretend pathologist Francis B. Gross (once again played by actor, Michael Carr). Gross -- still clinging to the illusion that this is a bona fide documentary -- claims that he has decided to revisit the subject of death, and how it is dealt with in various cultures around the world, because he has become disillusioned with the optimistic conclusions of the first film concerning the prospects for life after death!

Gross seems to have chilled out a fair bit after the last film: instead of his starchy lab-coat, he's grown his hair and decked himself out in casual clothes and a pair of shades; and instead of sitting behind a desk, he gets to stroll about outside while delivering his linking monologues! At one stage he even rides a motorbike as a prelude to a selection of "stunts gone wrong" footage!

After some gruesome footage of the broken bodies of car accident victims being pulled from wreckage and suicide victims being dragged from rivers, etc., we get an extended monologue on how various cultures dispose and commemorate the dead which concludes with some footage of an Indian funeral pyre! The film continues much in this vein throughout, with Gross's narration attempting to link disparate pieces of film through often quite tangential means! The most unpleasant stuff comes quite early on: we see frozen bodies dragged from an avalanche; lots of broken, burned and bloodied corpses of the victims of train wreaks and air crashes, etc.; and later, some footage of people executed by death squads in Al Salvador!

Unlike the first film, the faked footage seems to have been kept to a minimum. The death squad sequence looks like it might have been augmented with some newly shot footage, although the actual scenes of hacked up corpses looks like they're authentic. The only sequence that looked totally faked to me is a scene that is meant to be of a police shoot-out between some criminals high on "angel dust", and a police unit. Rather than fake scenes, the film is instead padded out with several extended sequences that only have a vague relevance to the actual topic of the film. For instance, we get a heck of a lot of stunt footage, most of which only results in injury rather than death! Not that I'm complaining about the lack of carnage but presumably, that's what the punters who enjoy this type of thing are paying to see! There is also a long segment on boxing in which Francis B. Gross laboriously explains the whole sport to us (over lots of stock footage of boxers training)! Eventually, this concludes with some footage of a boxing match during which a very skinny-looking chap — who seems like he might have trouble standing up without support at the best of times — is pummeled to death by his very muscular opponent!

As is usual with this series, there is a lot of animal cruelty — nearly all of which has been cut by the BBFC. Most of this is vivisection footage and the cuts total about 1 minute 54 seconds in all. Screen Entertainment present the film in its original 4:3 aspect ratio and it looks fine baring in mind that the footage is compiled from film stock of varying quality. The audio is mono and is also crisp and clear; the only real extra (beside the usual Hard Gore trailer selection) is a Faces Of Death song accompanied by footage from the first and second Faces of Death films.

It mayn't have much that is new to offer, but hard core fans of the series (and it is hard to see who else would be interested in this really) will undoubtedly want to pick up this new UK disc!

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