Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Snuff (1976, Michael Findlay)

If you know anything about the horror/exploitation genre, you may have heard of the term "snuff film". For those of you who haven’t, a snuff film is a film which shows a real killing caught on tape. One of the most famous supposed snuff films is Flowers of Flesh and Blood, part of the Japanese Guinea Pig series. This film became so well known when it was viewed by Charlie Sheen who thought he was witnessing a real snuff film and in turn contacted the Feds. Of course the film was not real, but the film’s special makeup effects were so well done the filmmakers had to prove it was fake in court. Long before this though was a film which purposely tried to trick the public into thinking it was a real snuff film, 1976’s Snuff. What it actually was though was a film called Slaughter made five years earlier but was so bad the filmmakers couldn’t get it distributed. The producer then tacked on a new ending with realistic effects to make it look like it was a real snuff film. Thus began the legend of Snuff!

Snuff (or Slaughter – whatever you want to call it) is the story of an actress named Terry London who goes to South America to work on a low budget exploitation film for filmmaker Max Marsh. She meets up with Horst, her husband or boyfriend or something, even though he is living with another girl (who he gives the boot to). Anyway, there is a cult of drug addicted women run by a Charles Manson-esque leader named Satan (pronounced Suh-tan, naturally) who take joy in torturing and killing people. Satan wants one of his girls to bear a child with Horst (I’m not sure why him or why at all, they probably didn’t say). And then other stuff happens too.

As you can tell this film is a muddled mess. I’m not really sure what was supposed to be going on half the time but I'm sure a great script wasn't the filmmakers first priority. What started off as a film to cash in on the Charles Manson hysteria, became famous for it’s tacked on ending, which was publicized to be a real killing. A clever idea but as a film itself, it’s pretty bad. Just the main title sequence (which is missing the main titles) shows two girls riding motorcycles to an instrumental rip-off of Steppenwolf's Born to be Wild (seriously, I’m surprised they weren’t sued), When the characters begin speaking you can instantly tell that this film was dubbed (very poorly of course). The person who dubbed the voice for Max Marsh, the movie producer, sounds exactly like Charles Nelson Reilly, which made his character unintentionally hilarious to watch. Also, there is a scene where one of the characters is having a flashback to when she was a child and I swear to God her voice sounds like a man imitating a little girl’s voice. Cinematic gold, I tell ya. Other than that the movie pretty much sucks. There are lots of pointless scenes that go on forever. The movie got some more unintentional laughs from yours truly when every time the cult went into their secret hiding place, the movie became black and white. I don’t know if it was supposed to make it look dark or what, but it was hilarious. Then there is the faux-snuff ending, which shows (SPOILER!!!) a girl getting a finger cut off by a pair of wire cutters (I think that's what they were). She is then disemboweled and…wait a second…how come she has all of her fingers again? What the fuck? People actually believed this shit was real? Stupid asses. Where was I? Oh yeah, I’d say give this film a shot if you are a fan of the exploitation genre or if you just want to say you saw it. I’m sure you won’t want to watch it again though.


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