20 Aug Haunted Films
The anthology LOST FILMS debuts tomorrow and I’m thrilled to have my own story, “Archibald Leech: The Many Storied Man” included among the 19 tales of celluloid terror. Here’s an early look at the introduction to the book, from Max Booth III:
When I was eleven, my mom let me rent Faces of Death on VHS from Hollywood Video. My brother had talked this movie up for years, claiming it was the most hardcore thing he had ever seen. Finally, I would be able to watch it, too. My horror cred would upgrade to a whole new level, and I couldn’t have been more excited. In retrospect, I don’t think my mom exactly understood what she was getting into.
For those blissfully unaware, Faces of Death is a mondo documentary about a coroner named Dr. Francis B. Gröss showcasing various death scenes caught on video. At the time, I believed everything depicted in this film was the real deal. Later on, through the magic of the internet, I would discover many (but not all) of the deaths were actually fabricated by a cast and crew. But at the time, when I was eleven years old, watching Faces of Death alone in my bedroom in the middle of the night, nothing would have been able to convince me that this wasn’t one hundred percent legitimate. “Banned in 40+ Countries!” the tagline advertised, and I fully bought into it. In this film, I saw video recordings of a man shooting his ex-wife over the grave of their fifteen-year-old daughter, a group of cops opening fire on a bank robber in a stolen pickup truck, a violent football riot in Croatia, and many other scenes I can hardly remember now. Watching this film did something awful to my stomach, to my mind. I didn’t know what to expect exactly, going into it, but once I fed the tape into my VCR, it was too late to abort. I was stuck, trapped, unable to take my eyes off the screen. Faces of Death made me feel sick, inside and out, nauseated and disgusted with humanity. I felt like Alex DeLarge near the end of his aversion therapy (another movie I had repeatedly viewed perhaps a little too young).
I just wanted it to end.
And, finally, it did: with the 1987 public suicide of Robert Budd Dwyer.
To read the rest of the introduction, click here