Traces Of Death – Review

So far on this site, I have seen films I have liked and I have seen some I really disliked. There have been slashers, supernatural and splatter films. But, they have all had one thing in common. They were fiction. Made for entertainment purposes, although some stretch that idea. That is what makes this review a lot harder. Traces Of Death is a mondo film. If you are not aware what that is, a mondo film is described as an exploitation documentary film, usually focusing on taboo subjects. Unsurprisingly, given the title, Traces Of Death is about death.

Compiling footage of various incidents of death and violence, Traces Of Death is a film designed purely to shock and satisfy a basic blood lust that some members of the human race may have. It is also a sloppily put together mess. The footage presented has no context. Some is given a voice-over, while some does not. No explanation is given for some of the footage presented. Even some which has a more interesting story behind it, such as the suicide of R. Budd Dwyer.

There is one interesting point that opens up a wider question about censorship. In the UK, Traces Of Death was banned by the BBFC. But, you can view all the segments and even the film in full on YouTube. So, with that in mind, is censorship pointless now? Does the advent of the internet render censorship useless. With enough effort, it is likely that anyone can find anything.

But overall, give this one a miss. It is exploitative and vile. Also, one more point. I would usually attach a trailer or clip to the article, but I have not with this one as I feel it is too far.

BAN-WORTHY?

Yeah, completely. This was made purely to profit off the pain of others. Upon the ban, the BBFC said “the work presents no journalistic, educational or other justifying context for the images shown. Rather, the work presents a barrage of sensationalist clips, for what appears to be the underlying purpose of providing prurient entertainment. That this is the essential purpose of the work is reinforced by the addition of a sparse but sensationalist voice-over, which deliberately makes light of human death, pain and suffering. Some of the most graphic clips are needlessly repeated in slow motion, further underlining the prurient and exploitative nature of the work.

” The board has concluded that the video is potentially harmful because of the influence it may have on the attitudes and behaviour of at least some intended or potential viewers. By presenting actual human death, mutilation and suffering as entertainment, the work has the potential to desensitise viewers, and perhaps even to incite some to harm others. The work invites the viewer to take sadistic pleasure in death, injury, mutilation and pain and encourages callousness towards victims.”

The BBFC even questioned whether the film would breach the Obscene Publications Act. It might. I very rarely believe that banning is the option, but in this case, I wholeheartedly support the BBFC’s decision.

 

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