The original movie was released theatrically, but it was really when it hit video in the 1980s that its cult status spread.
Barbie Ferreira, one of the breakouts from HBO’s Euphoria, and Stranger Things actor Dacre Montgomery are set to star in Faces of Death, a reimagining of the 1978 cult horror movie being made by Legendary.
Isa Mazzei and Daniel Goldhaber, the team behind the 2018 psychological thriller Cam and How to Blow Up a Pipeline, are writing and directing, respectively, the reimagining.
Made just as home video was taking off, Faces had the conceit of a pathologist exploring gruesome ways to die via footage purportedly culled from around the world. In reality, most of the death scenes were staged, but the film had the exact effect its producers desired: outrage, revulsion, banning (although not in 52 countries, as hyped by the film’s makers) and, of course, minting money.
The first movie was released theatrically, but it was really in the 1980s when it hit the home video market via VHS that its cult status spread, in copies that were surreptitiously rented, passed around and worn down from being rewatched. MPI, an Illinois-based company, has kept the original film in circulation.
The filmmakers are hoping to re-create the madness via a 21st century lens.
“Faces of Death was one of the first viral video tapes, and we are so lucky to be able to use it as a jumping off point for this exploration of cycles of violence and the way they perpetuate themselves online,” said Mazzei and Goldhaber in a statement.
Don Murphy and Susan Montford of Angry Films are producing with Divide/Conquer’s Adam Hendricks and Greg Gilreath.
Rick Benattar is executive producing, while Cory Kaplan co-produces.
Ferreira played high schooler Kat Hernandez on HBO’s acclaimed and envelope-pushing drama Euphoria for two seasons before stepping away from the show. Among her feature credits are HBO’s road trip movie Unpregnant and Jordan Peele’s horror film Nope. She is coming off of shooting House of Spoils, a thriller from Amazon’s Prime Video and Blumhouse.
Montgomery became a household name for a certain age bracket thanks to playing Billy Hargrove, the step-brother to Sadie Sink’s character Max Mayfield, in two seasons of Stranger Things. He also portrayed TV producer Steve Binder in Baz Lurhmann’s Elvis.
Ferreira is repped by Aperture Talent, Authentic Talent and Literary Management, and Felker Toczek. Montgomery is repped by CAA and Sloane Offer.