Faces of Gore VHS

Japan’s bloodiest home videos

Before Todd Tjersland released The Necro Files, one of the most fucked up horror flicks I’ve ever seen, the twisted auteur launched his video career with this shockumentary, which has spawned several sequels. Freely acknowledging its debt to the Faces of Death series, it presents only the most gruesome footage of crime scene carnage, suicides, and bloody car accidents, often including horrific close-ups.

Presentation is preceded by it’s own trailer, then a mocking warning to the viewer that introduces Dr. Vincent Van Gore (from the “American Institute of Gorenology”), who bears a resemblance to a young David Carradine in a lab coat, and stiffly hosts the clips from graveyard locations. Van Gore is played by Steve Sheppard.

The first section presents footage from the aftermath of motorcycle, train, car and plane accidents. The second shows victims of suicide by hanging, electrocution, immolation, drowning, and shotgun. The third is dedicated to murder, mostly by handguns and connected to other crimes. A “contract killer” interview has both a voiceover translation in Japanese and mock English subtitles.

In the final section, little more than self-serving padding, the documentary footage is compared to gore in a recent “Hollywood production”: Tjersland’s own The Necro Files.

The clips, almost all from Japan, appear to have come from raw coroner’s office and news camera footage.

The footage presented unadorned would be shocking enough. But Tjersland also saw fit to prod and annoy fans of this kind of tape by adding condescending and insulting narration, designed to offend and shame everyone who views it at some point. With his snotty fake accent, he sounds a great deal like Ray Sager in Herschell Gordon Lewis’ The Wizard of Gore.

Surveying the scene of a collision between a passenger train and a jet airliner, Tjersland intones mockingly, “Only a small portion managed to escape alive, but these fortunate few were badly burned, and had to live out the rest of their lives as deformed freaks who no one would love.” He often goes out of his way to blame the victims for their own misfortune, in true drivers’ educational film fashion.

But even Tjersland shuts up for the saddest cases, letting the footage run without comment.

Also added to the silent footage are sound effects and corny music. It’s impossible to know whether the facts presented in each case are accurate, or just made up. However, the tape bears the usual “characters and events portrayed in this film are entirely fictional” coda.

Obviously, not for all tastes. In fact, no taste whatsoever. Recommended for gore hounds only.

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