As predicted long ago, Faces of Death is getting rebooted for the 21st century at Legendary Entertainment. The studio has reportedly just picked up the rights to the faux documentary that was originally released in 1978 and became a cult hit at the time, spawning multiple sequels in the following years. Because many video rental stores refused to carry the movie, it was frequently passed around on bootleg VHS throughout the 1980s and 90s.
For Legendary's reboot, Isa Mazzei and Daniel Goldhaber, the team behind 2018's Cam, will respectively write and direct the new movie. Susan Montford and Don Murphy of Angry Films are producing, and Cory Kaplan will co-produce with Rick Benattar of BT Productions executive producing. John Burrud, who produced the original Faces of Death movies, is also on board to work on the reboot.
Per THR, the plot of the new movie "revolves around a female moderator of a YouTube-like website, whose job is to weed out offensive and violent content and who herself is recovering from a serious trauma, that stumbles across a group that is recreating the murders from the original film. But in the story primed for the digital age and age of online misinformation, the question faced is are the murders real or fake?"
Released in 1978, the first Faces of Death was written and directed by John Alan Schwartz, though he used the pseudonyms "Conan LeCilaire" and "Alan Black" in the credits. Presented as a documentary, the movie features pathologist Francis B. Gross (Michael Carr) as the host, presenting the viewer with gruesome deaths caught on tape - from a parachutist landing in a crocodile pit to a convicted inmate getting fried in the electric chair. Its gritty, low-budget nature only helped the footage feel more realistic, leading many to believe Faces of Death was a genuine snuff film.
In actuality, most of the footage was filmed specifically for the movie with actors and the production crew. Because this was years before everyone had Google at their fingertips, it wasn't easy to prove or disprove the authenticity of the footage, and its release generated waves of backlash across the world. Many places banned the movie outright, making the VHS release a highly-sought item for movie collectors for many, many years.
Controversy creates cash so it was only natural for Faces of Death to continue as a series. Schwartz returned to work on another three sequels, each presenting new death scenes depicted as genuine footage of actual deaths caught on tape. Faces of Death V and Faces of Death VI would be released in the following years, consisting of footage taken from the prior installments. The series also spawned copycat movies, such as the 1993 movie Traces of Death, though that one actually contained significantly more real footage of actual deaths.
Also in the works at Legendary on the horror side is another reboot of Texas Chainsaw Massacre. For Faces of Death, the studio wants to lean more into psychological horror as opposed to the typical slasher movie fanfare. No release date has been set for the reboot as of now. This news comes to us from The Hollywood Reporter.