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Hoaxes of Death: Secrets of the infamous death documentary REVEALED!
10:05 am

Pop Culture

horror movies

One of the many pointless rites of passage for dopey teenage boys in the 80s (present company included) was watching Faces of Death on VHS. Originally released to theaters in 1978, the infamous “mondo” movie—a collection of “real death” scenes collected from various supposed “real” news sources and hosted by a death-obsessed world-traveling “pathologist” named Dr. Francis B. Gross (geddit?)—was a box office smash in the kind of greasy grindhouses and drive-in movie theaters where murder and mayhem reigned, eventually gobbling up a reported $35 million in box office receipts. But that was only the beginning…

Faces of Death really became a phenomenon in 1983, when the infamous Gorgon Video company released it on a garish, big-box VHS with its crude drawing of a grinning skull on a pitch-black background with the impossible to resist tagline: “Banned! In 46 countries!”  As soon as you saw it, you just knew you had to watch it. Faces was, arguably,  the first real “viral video.” It spread largely by word of mouth, each giddy viewer embellishing its beastly atrocities in a far-flung game of VCR telephone. By the mid-80s the film’s reputation had grown so fierce that even the title could send a nervous kid into a pile of trembling sweat and goo.

Don’t worry, this guy is gonna be fine.

So did it live up to the hype? Sorta. Everyone has their “favorite” moments—the “bloody” dog fight, the brutal electric chair execution, American tourists gorging on the brains of a live monkey, the guy getting eaten by an alligator, the Satanic cult cannibal feast, the dumb camper who tries to feed a bear a sandwich and becomes the real lunch—but even the least discerning sixteen year old was left with more questions than answers. Why would a camping couple bring multiple cameras with them to film a spontaneous inter-species act? Do you really bleed from the eyeballs when you get electrocuted? Why does the chimp suddenly turn into a monkey halfway through the “feast”? But here’s the thing: it was the 80s. We had no Internet. The true story of Faces of Death was not in the latest edition of Encyclopedia Britannica. We suspected some amount of fraud, but how much and how it was created was unknown. It should also be noted that although a lot of the film seemed fishy, most of it was definitely authentic. The dramatizations in Faces of Death are littered with actual slaughterhouse and morgue footage. It’s a grim view no matter what.

This monkey has some serious concerns about the ‘Faces of Death’ script.

The beans were finally spilled thirty years later…

Keep reading after the jump…

Posted by Ken McIntyre | Leave a comment
Smutty snuff bottles of the Qing Dynasty
11:53 am



During the Qing Dynasty (the final imperial Dynasty of China, 1644 to 1912), smoking tobacco was illegal, but the use of snuff was permitted for medicinal purposes. As the habit became pervasive throughout the country and across every class, beautiful little snuff bottles were produced, made from materials like jade, bone, ceramic, glass and ivory. Many of the bottles depicted pastoral scenes or images of nature. Others—like the ones pictured here—were hardcore and would make pervy potter Grayson Perry blush!

If you’re in the market for a tiny antique porn collection from China—or you just want to do bumps from a smutty little snuff bottle—you can find them for around $50 on eBay or Etsy (much cheaper if they’re missing the stopper-spoon). If you’re really looking to drop some serious dough, Sotheby’s and other high-end auctions sell Qing snuff bottles that will run you thousands of dollars. It can be difficult to tell a reproduction from a legitimate Qing, but a little research will help you find the real thing (and for a reasonable price). For instance, many knockoffs are made of light-weight resin, and real Qings are often dated on the base.

There’s something so charming about these itsy-bitsy explicit tableaux—how could you resist?



More smutty snuff bottles of imperial China after the jump…

Posted by Amber Frost | Leave a comment