I was watching Shockwave on History Channel and Shockwave’s presentation (making you think the person died) reminded me of something I never could watch while in college. It was called Faces of Death and all I remember were a bunch of guys in my hall piling into a room and hearing screams of ohhh! yeooooooo! as they watched people die horrible deaths in the video.
I guess one was of a guy parachuting and he landed in a crocodile pit and got eaten (graphically). What’s sad to me, is 20 years later I feel so desensitized by what I see on TV, I think I wouldn’t be stunned anymore by the horrific scenes. It really brings home just how bad TV is for the individual (BTW games are different)
Any of you ever watch this? Was it all hype or pretty horrible knowing someone was really dying? Would you watch it again?
Yes, depends, and probably not. The second question really depended on the clip. Some where ghoulishly real, particularly the home-videos-turned-into-When-Animals-Attack sequences. I don’t think I’ll ever forget that guy getting his arm torn off by a bear. A lot of the others just looked like low quality 70’s grindhouse done with no sense of irony. Some of the straight news clips that became unintentionally graphic were interesting, though, in a morbid way.
I can’t really imagine watching them again now that I’m not a bored adolescent, or having watched them at all if you weren’t in that demographic when they came out.
The best crocodile one I saw was a game control guy trying to lasso one from his boat in front of a crowd of soon to be horrified vacationers or something. When it’s straight Darwin award material, they had a certain charm I guess.
At least some of them were real. I remember the alligator stuff as well as a few news clips of executions and the like. As LK said, the quality was not very good on a lot of it. The reality is that stuff made for movies is more shocking simply because the camera angles and such make sure you really see the gore. That’s not really the case with real life video, where you are more taken by the fact that it’s real.
I could never bring myself to watch that thing when I was a kid, and I’m glad it’s something I missed. I don’t mind graphic violence in the service of a story, particularly a good one. But I think it’s a bit toxic when you take it out of context, and especially when it’s real or supposed to be real. I don’t need to see that stuff.
Recently, on separate occasions, two friends of mine let curiosity get the better of them and they went looking for the Nicholas Berg video. They found it. Just listening to them talk about it, and how hard it was to watch, made me sad on a few different levels.
BTW, I noticed that neither Netflix or Blockbuster carries these things. I wonder if there’s some sort of ratings situation, given that some of the deaths are presumably real (is this verified, BTW?). However, it seems like there are several verisons, and they’re all available for sale through Amazon.com.
I remember watching one of these back when I was in middle school. The only thing that really stuck with me was a video of some restaurant where they put a live capuchin monkey in a special box that left only its head exposed, then people would bludgeon it and eat its brain. The human deaths (on this particular video, at least) were pretty tame compared to some of the stuff they show in torture porn movies these days.
I avoid these things like the plague. I have no interest in watching people die. I went to college with someone who used to watch these clips of people being killed and I remember the way he used to laugh and get off on it. It was literally sickening. I’d rather not desensitize myself to the point where I find real people dying hilarious.
0:29:50 Intro to alligator attack scene. Apparent TV news reporter doing a standup report. Bad actors worried about a 15-foot alligator in a lake.
0:30:45 Game wardens arrive in a boat. They’re going to try to catch the gator.
0:32:07 Man in boat throws lasso into weeds. Suddenly yanked out of the boat. Cameraman runs closer. Confused struggle seen, with what looks like a 3 or 4 foot alligator when run frame-by-frame. Many crowd reaction shots. Several shots of alleged TV cameraman. We never actually see the alligator biting the man.
0:32:57 Luckless game warden pulled ashore. Limp, bloody, shirt torn. He’s covered with a blanket.
[This sequence is laughably ungenuine. It is allegedly filmed by a TV news crew. Where did the second camera come from? How on earth did the TV cameraman manage to position himself to get close-up crowd reaction shots at the same time as he filmed the “attack”? How did he get the extreme close-up shots of the man struggling with the gator?]
0:47:33 Prison, gas chamber. Unnamed criminal is about to be executed.
0:48:51 Door closed. Camera looks thru observation window in chamber as the prisoner convulses and dies.
[Staged. No witnesses to the execution except the cameraman. Sound of prisoner coughing is clearly audible, even though he’s in a sealed chamber.]
1:25:01 Malnourished Biafran children.
1:31:45 Film of freight train derailing. Could be from some other movie.
Most of the human-oriented parts of the movie have appeared and re-appeared on the net in places like rotten.com and Stile Project a million times over the years. These days it’s pretty much in the variety of “nothing to see here, move along” and comparatively tame to stuff that gets up online every day, let alone personal photos from Iraq.
I remember one called Traces of Death that my friends watched in High School. I’m glad I missed most of it, because I STILL remember one of the scenes, where a guy shoots himself in the mouth at a press conference he’s giving. It’s terrible, terrible stuff, and the image is still with me.
Real death, though not as lovingly captured as in the movies, is infinitely more horrible than that. Remember those quick scenes in Bowling for Columbine where you see several people getting shot? Those were more shocking than anything I saw at the movies last year.
I remember going to see a midnight movie in high school (probably Dawn of the Dead) and seeing the trailer for one of these beforehand.
I remember some nasty guys in Africa holding down some kind of native, castrating him, and feeding him himself. In retrospect it was probably fake, but it remains one of the most disturbing things I’ve ever seen because the narrator was saying it was real “home movie” footage from these guys.
I also remember being pissed off that I had come out for a fun time of horror movie camp, and I had been subjected to real suffering and death.