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Snuff (1974)

Director: Michael Findlay, Roberta Findlay
    see all cast/crew...
Rating: Not Rated
Studio: Blue Underground
Genre: Foreign, Latin America, Sexploitation, Vintage
Running Time: 80 min.
Languages: English
    see additional details...

Director Max Marsh flies to Argentina to make a sexually explicit film with his girlfriend and star, Terri London. Unbeknownst to Max, Terri has taken a new lover, a rich playboy named Horst who lives on his father's nearby estate. Terri becomes pregnant by Horst, threatening the production of the film, though the entire shoot is cancelled when Max is murdered during a street carnival. Meanwhile, a woman named Angelica, who lives in the mansion with Horst, is in cahoots with a vicious band of female hippies who are in thrall to a Mansonesque leader named Satan. He preaches that the decadence of the rich must be punished, and plans to start with Horst's family. Angelica's mission was to become pregnant by Horst in order to provide a baby to be sacrificed as the first victim in Satan's war against the wealthy. However, the news that an American film star is carrying the child is even better, and the band of killers bide their time (though they keep busy by swimming naked and murdering innocent shopkeepers). Six months later, the girls return to Horst's estate, where a lascivious, drunken party is in full swing. The guests are murdered, Horst is castrated, and the pregnant Terri is stabbed to death in her bed. At this point in the film, the camera pulls back to reveal the set -- the director of Snuff is seen congratulating the actors for such a great performance. He convinces one actress to join him on the bed, where they begin kissing. When she realizes that she's still being filmed she gets confused, and the director suddenly brandishes a knife. With the help of two production assistants, he cuts off a finger, saws off her hand, and then disembowls her. He holds the entrails in the air and howls with triumph as the film suddenly runs out and members of the crew say, "Ok, we got it, let's get out of here!" ~ Fred Beldin, All Movie Guide

GreenCine Member Reviews

HHhhmmmmm.? by MMcIntyre February 28, 2006 - 5:33 PM PST
2 out of 3 members found this review helpful
I am kind of torn on this one now, I first heard about this movie over 10 years ago, and all of the FBI junk and possible validity of some of the "scenes" in the film-including the disturbing final scene, which is, I believe why most people are drawn to view it.It has a brief sense of a plotline, that kind of falls shot-but what makes this film distubing and creepy is the missing soundtrack, I the same heart of gems such as "last house on the left" and "I spit on your grave", this movie offers that "unsure what just happened" feeling and it leaves you cold, whihc my hurt your pysche, especially if you were not sure about what was the truth or not pertaining to this movie-But it did not seem scrpted or acted out, that's what hurts and disturbs the most-so I can see where the uproar may have fell. Sometimes that's what I like in art-It's not always something nice to view or touch.Required watching for only strong stomachs.

The Greatest Marketing Ploy In Cinema History by EPetersen February 25, 2004 - 6:04 PM PST
19 out of 20 members found this review helpful
This is the infamous cult film that spawned a wave of paranoia and hysteria over the supposed existence of "snuff films" - that is, a film made for commerical release that features a person (or persons) actually being murdered on camera.

Of course, Snuff is not a real snuff film. It's the greatest, most brilliant marketing ploy in cinema history. There have been many marketing gimmicks used to promote films: the invention of the 3D movie, William Castle's booby-trapping of theaters to scare audiences, upchuck bag giveaways, free life insurance in case the film scares you to death. But nothing comes close to the marketing ploy known as Snuff.

Snuff began in 1971 as The Slaughter, an ultra-bad, ultra low-budget horror film shot in Argentina by legendary husband-and-wife horror / porn directors Michael and Roberta Findlay. The Slaughter was about a murderous Manson Family-esque hippie biker gang led by a fellow who calls himself Satan.

When The Slaughter was completed, it sat on the shelf for five years, its theatrical release highly unlikely. Enter producer / distributor Allen Shackleton. Shackleton bought the rights to The Slaughter, removed the opening and closing credits, and added new scenes, introducing the character of a young wannabe actress trying to break into the movies.

After the ending of The Slaughter, we are treated to a special epilogue that shows our young actress on the set after a take. The director attacks her, kills her, and graphically disembowels her. The cameraman is worried that he'll run out of film. The director asks him "Did you get all that?" He says yes. End of movie.

Allen Shackleton renamed his new product Snuff, and in his marketing campaign, cleverly implied (but never stated directly) that Snuff was a bona fide snuff movie, featuring an actual on-camera murder. The campaign worked. Snuff played to packed houses, and created a huge storm of controversy.

In 1976, the adult film industry was coming under heavy fire; formerly underground elements like rape scenes and S&M scenes were becoming commonplace in mainstream porn flicks. Women's groups protested adult films, claiming they promoted violence toward women. These groups were even more horrified and repulsed by Snuff, a non-pornographic horror movie. They believed that the snuff sequence was real, and feared that more young women would be murdered by perverted filmmakers for profit.

The FBI launched an investigation, questioning Allen Shackleton, the Findlays, and others involved with the film. But they soon realized that the snuff footage was faked. They were also able to locate and interview the actress who was supposedly murdered on camera. When you see the snuff sequence, you'll wonder if the FBI guys were smoking some of that stuff they confiscated from the hippies. :o) It is obviously simulated.

Fake or not, the women's groups were still pissed off. Meanwhile, Allen Shackleton laughed all the way to the bank. As a result of the controversy, Snuff probably made about 1000 times what it cost to film. The media went wild over the concept of the snuff film, putting out all kinds of lurid stories. It was because of this movie that the snuff film continues to be one of America's favorite urban legends.

This DVD version was released by Blue Underground. After their other excellent releases, (like the Mondo Cane Collection, which you can rent here at Greencine) Blue Underground decided to release Snuff in a keep case that looks like a parcel wrapped in plain brown wrapping. The disc is bare bones - there are no extras, not even a menu. You load the disc, and the movie starts. This was done as a joke, but the only joke will be on the poor schmucks who paid the steep $29.95 list price for this title.

Don't be surprised if Blue Underground comes out with a Snuff Special Edition in the next 12 months.

The print is in full-frame, but the movie was shot with 16mm cameras, which don't have panoramic lenses. 1:33:1 is the original aspect ratio. The print is not in the best shape, but it's much better than the bootleg 3rd generation VHS dubs that have been sold for years. The best part is that it's the complete uncut, uncensored version of Snuff, which runs about 4 minutes longer than previous versions.

This is the kind of DVD you joined Greencine to rent, so what are you waiting for?

- Eric Petersen

GreenCine Member Rating

(Average 3.73)
44 Votes
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