‘The film that could only be made in South America… where life is CHEAP!’
Snuff is a 1976 American horror feature film, and is most notorious for being marketed as if it were an actual snuff film. Its release contributed to the urban legend of snuff films, although the concept did not originate with it.
The film started out as a low-budget gore film titled Slaughter – although Daughters of De Sade was also considered – which was written and directed by the husband-and-wife grindhouse filmmaking team of Michael Findlay and Roberta Findlay.
Filmed in Argentina in 1971 on a budget of roughly $30,000, it depicted the actions of a Manson-esque murder cult, filmed mainly in silence due to the actors understanding very little English. Film financier Jack Bravman (Zombie Nightmare) received an out-of-court settlement from American International Pictures (AIP) so the latter could use the title for the 1972 Jim Brown action movie of the same name.
Independent low-budget distributor and sometime producer Allan Shackleton took the film and shelved it for four years—but was inspired to release it with a new ending, unbeknownst to the original filmmakers, after reading a newspaper article in 1975 on the rumor of snuff films produced in South America and decided to cash in on the urban legend. He removed the credits and added a new ending, filmed in a vérité style by Simon Nuchtern (not director Carter Stevens as is often cited), in which a woman is brutally murdered by a film crew, supposedly the crew of Slaughter. The new footage purportedly showed an actual murder, and was spliced onto the end of Slaughter with an abrupt edit…
On October 22nd 2013, Snuff was released on Blu-ray by Blue Underground as an extras packed disc, starting out in a limited-edition “blood-red” case available only with the first pressing.
Snuff is a very dull film that will frustrate the handful of people who actually find the story interesting by finishing before the end. For all its notoriety, it has scant sex and violence – even the tacked on ending is pretty tame – and as these are the only possible elements that would make it interesting, the movie stands as a real test of stamina for viewers.
Perhaps if you do watch it, skip straight to the last five minutes, check out what all the fuss is about and then find something better to do.
David Flint, HORRORPEDIA
“Clever promotion turned this incompetent gore quickie into one of the most controversial movies ever … With virtually no nudity, the incoherent effort works strictly as a spectacle of amateurishly staged violence using animal entrails and crude effects in the style of Herschell Gordon Lewis’ films.” The Aurum Film Encyclopedia: Horror
“Now, by today’s standards the gore effects aren’t THAT impressive. However, if I was watching this on a grainy or badly copied VHS I would have shit my pants as throughout the entire sequence both the male and female actors performances make it seem so plausible. See this movie for the history, nothing more.” James Wikes, 42nd Street Cinema
“It is pure garbage, but quite hilarious garbage. There’s quite a few boobs, toe-cutting, multiple stabbings, finger-cutting, evisceration and a stabbing cross-cut with a woman having an orgasm. If that’s not enough to tempt you consider a scene where “Sutawn” hilariously jumps up on a picnic table and tells a girl to “submit to me and pain” and then two other girls kiss. That oughta do it.” Tucker Battrell, This Coleslaw Makes Me Sick
“Sure, there are sleazy elements that may be enjoyed by some, but in truth, they’re never expounded upon enough to be shocking. The women are beautiful, but even the pervos among us will be sorely disappointed: there are sex scenes, but the camera spends the entire time zoomed in on the actresses’ face like the excised footage of a Warholian stag film.” Midnite Media
“Were it not for that ending and the furore surrounding it, Snuff would surely have been forgotten a long time ago. Beyond the infamy, it’s a stultifyingly average film.”Joel Harley, Horror News
” … the original movie Slaughter would have been a vaguely passable but extremely forgettable time-waster, with enough blood and boobs to keep you awake even as the film-making left you cold. With the footage added, it becomes something else, and it ain’t pretty.” 80s Fear
” …a trailblazer, a very awful, boring, tasteless and deceitful, trailblazer.” Kindertrauma
Read newspaper clippings about Snuff from 1976 at Temple of Schlock
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