Faces of Evil (2000)

If you are looking for a VHS or R0 DVD copy of the film contact me.

Formats

VHS - NTSC (Screener)

Summary

     Narrated by Malcolm McDowell - This 70 minute documentary asks the questions who, what, where and why is there evil. What makes people evil? Can these questions be answered? The film sets out to find these answers by going to the 'experts' of fields that deal with the subject - music, movies, books, religion, schools and killers. Each is interviewed with footage from evil events from history as well as their own personal histories. The film is narrated by Malcolm McDowell - no stranger to evil since he as played many evil characters such as Caligula.
     Andrew Delbanco is the author of 'The Death of Satan', he provides the opening by going into the history of the devil through the ages. His main thesis is how Satan has evolved through the ages as all sorts of monsters and how today people don't even believe in Satan anymore. Evil was blamed on Satan in the past like "the devil made me do it." He believes most people realize that evil and Satan are inside all of us. We are responsible for the evil, not Satan.
     Peter cooper is a psychologist who is trying to revive the study of phrenology. This thinking was popular a couple hundred years ago and died out in the early 1900s. The believe was that certain anatomical characteristics defined evil. A certain shape of the back of the head could be a defining trait of a criminal is what he believes. His segment show the charts and sculpts used to determine each type of person and how that computers are the next level.
     Poppy Z. Brite is a female horror novelist who lives in New Orleans and has always been fascinated with the Gothic lifestyle and death. Her belief stems from the ideas that fundamentalist religion dictating to you what is right and wrong can warp you. She believes evil a label to show people as monsters and not human. He segment revolves around Mardi Grad and the necropolis of New Orleans. They also show home movies and a recording of a dark poem she recorded at age 3.
     Marilyn Manson is one of the most popular shock rock musicians. He grew up Episcopalian and always viewed the Catholics as hypocritical. They could do whatever they wanted during the week and have evil in the hearts, but come Sunday is was all confessed away.  He believes god and the devil or good and evil are the left and right sides of your brain. You have them both inside you and choose which way to head. He feels that he is able to cope with his dark side by expressing himself musically and that those who cannot express themselves turn to violence. If you have no talent, become a killer and you can achieve fame just like those who achieve it through their creativity. His segment shows concert and video footage as well as the Religious nuts who follow him around and preach outside his shows.
     John Douglas is the founder of the serial killer profile unit of the FBI. He goes face-to-face with evil every day by going into the prisons and interviewing killers. This way he looks for behavioral patterns and hopes to be able to catch other killers out there. If it sounds like 'The Silence of the Lambs' it is because the FBI director is based on him. His segment shows him at work interviewing a serial killer in prison and showing how the think. At first they do not admit anything, but break down over time and always push the blame on the victim - never themselves.
     Molefi Asante is a professor of black history. His area is deals with white supremacy. He doesn't go into the how or why just the details. He shows an African fortress that was a holding pen for slaves for hundreds of years and what he considers the most evil place on earth. Then he goes to Jasper Texas to show how racial hatred still exists by showing the area where James Byrd was dragged to his death.
     John Carpenter is a famous director of such classic films as 'Halloween', 'The Thing' and 'Escape from New York'. He explains how there are two kinds of evil stories - the evil out there and the evil inside. He says how he saw evil right in front of him while growing up in the south. he knew people who killed based on race.  His segment shows clips from his films and looks into his beliefs of evil. "Look where evil started", he explains, "in heaven. How could evil come from a place of beauty and perfection? This is an answer I have been searching for a long time for."
     Archbishop Milingo who is the chief exorcist of the Catholic church and claims to have performed more than 10,000 exorcisms is interviewed. He believes demons inhabit people and has seen them in front of him many times and is scared by them. Higher ups in the church are against him, but he has the support of the people so they do not speak to loudly. He believes the devils instead people will continue until they can be removed. His segment includes footage of him at home and his masses and exorcisms including seemingly possessed people.
     Finally Peter Levenda goes inside the occult theories of Himmler and his Nazi followers. He believes that there search for perfection and use of occult practices led to evil. He claims that true evil is in the ones who follow blindly and commit acts that others tell them like the followers of Charles Manson.  His segment includes rare footage of Nazi expeditions to Tibet and his tours of Himmler's SS castle. Also modern day followers like those at Columbine.
     The conclusion allows each of these people to give their final beliefs while reflecting on the evils of today. The serial killers like Manson, the killing fields of Cambodia, the occult practices all are evidence that no matter how far we have advanced in our culture our hatred for one another remains. Evil will always be there and usually it will already be too late by the time we spot it.

My Review

     Of course the main reason I watched this film was Malcolm's involvement, but it is also a subject I am interested in and would've watched it anyway. Malcolm is not shown on camera at all for anyone hoping to see him. This is OK. It is a great reminder of what a powerful and commanding voice he has. I would love to hear more documentaries like this done by him. If he can't get a returning TV role like on Fantasy Island, why not have him narrate a show every week like 'Unsolved Mysteries' or 'In search of' ? All around it was a well done piece. Malcolm did a great job and it is weird to hear him say things he usually wouldn't say like 'Marilyn Manson'.  I enjoyed everything about it and wasn't just a tired rehash of the same subjects. They really worked to get different footage of events and different views from the wide mix of people. By letting them explain their sides of the issues instead of having a round table discussion and fighting kept it all moving. Keep an eye on TNT maybe they will rerun it around Halloween or something. I would like to see it turned into a weekly half hour series profiling someone, like a evil version of Biography.

Rating: 9/10

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