The Legacy of Faces of Death

Friday, February 24, 2012


Originally released in 1978, Faces of Death became a cult sensation with gruesome depictions of actual deaths, and sensational staged scenes where real footage couldn't be found. Brooke Gladstone talks to Faces of Death creator John Alan Schwartz about the movie's lasting effect and how "real" a film can be when nearly half of it was faked.

Comments [6]


listening to this makes me realize that our always sexy and otherwise worldly Host is not informed that monkey brain restaurants are common in some cities in East and Southeast Asia!

Mar. 03 2012 05:21 PM
Steve from Portland, Maine

I loved this segment. But you missed a chance to broaden & deepen the discussion in relation to a relatively-recent prime-time television trend -- namely the trend toward ever-more graphic depictions of violent murders and forensic examinations as shown on Criminal Minds and CSI. In the wake of CSI's success, graphic forensic exam scenes were incorporated into later episodes of Law & Order: Criminal Intent & other series.

I never saw Faces of Death myself, though I certainly heard about it, having attended middle school & high school in the late 1970s & early 1980s, and I am delighted to hear that it was all faked.

But the fact that Faces of Death was all fake makes me wonder if the real sequel to Faces of Death might actually be the CSI franchise its influence.


PS: The lurid crime stories on Dateline, etc, also seem to follow in the footsteps of Faces of Death. It even sounds like the crime re-enactments on such shows have provided work for Schwartz in recent years.

Feb. 28 2012 12:48 AM
janice bucknavage I listen to the radio lots, and recently heard of this horrific monkey brain all fairness, cultures that are thousands of years evolved have lost their threads of meaning to such practices.

Feb. 26 2012 10:07 PM
Sarge from USA

Did Brooke actually "giggle/snort" during this broadcast? She sounded like an silly, icked-out teenager, repeatedly insisting that no one would ever eat monkey brains or that there couldn't possibly be flesh-eating cults. Irritating.

Feb. 26 2012 01:59 PM

If Brooke and John every have another conversation about eating monkey brains, it is not only possible, it is true. In "That's Disgusting" by Rachel Herz she writes of Too disgusting for you? Here’s one more that in China, “chefs can serve you monkey brains from a living monkey sitting at your feet with its skull carved open.”

Feb. 26 2012 10:56 AM
Jonny Goldstein from Pittsburgh

Somebody should make a documentary about Schwartz. He is quite a character. I love his movie reviews with his wife on Two Jews on Film, which I found thanks to this feature.

Feb. 25 2012 12:15 PM

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