Snuff (1976)

A film that could only be made in South America, where life is CHEAP!
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Snuff - The picture they said could NEVER be shown

A common tactic in the horror movie industry in the seventies and eighties was to take a crappy movie and hype it with deceptive marketing slogans, covers and staged outrage. Numerous films were branded Video Nasties in the mid-eighties and removed from the shelves simply due to graphic cover art or the reputation they had gained through media hysteria. In 1976, producer Allan Shackleton took the concept of horror movie remarketing to new extremes with his release of Snuff. He managed to convince the public that they were going to witness a genuine snuff movie, but instead just re-released a failed movie project with a new ending shackled on by Shackleton as the finale and an aid to marketing.

Originally filmed in 1971 in Argentina as a movie called Slaughter, this was a low-budget gore movie about smelly, drug addled hippies and their sadistic Manson-inspired cult leader. As a movie, Slaughter provides boobs, torture, death and more boobs but not much else to stimulate the senses. Coming off like a 70s rock documentary with the authenticity of retro pornography, infused with trippy interpretive jazz music, an over abundance of bongos and a meaningless (and confusing) plot; it is no surprise that Slaughter received a brief and limited theatrical release.

In 1976, amid the plethora of cheap and sleazy exploitation movies being over-marketed to the shock-thirsty public, Mr. Shackleton had a light bulb moment and decided to unleash the movie again but with supposedly backstage footage of a snuff at the end. Dressed up with contentious art work and taglines about life being cheap in Argentina, Slaughter was re-advertised as a snuff movie and media hysteria did the promotion for free... with a little help from fake protesters to get the ball rolling. It should also be noted that all of this was done without the original filmmaker's knowledge although as the movie became newsworthy they soon found out.

The Slaughter "footage" was fairly nonsensical and despite trying to create a valid movie about tweaked out biker chicks and their cult leader, aptly named "Satan" (sat-taan), it ended up a trippy mess with no real direction. The addition of the extra scene and the deceptive advertising completely ruined any point the original filmmakers were trying to convey. Like a single mother explaining the difficulty of bringing up a child to bulimic cannibal the original gist was given a completely new significance when communicated to a new audience. To further confuse the public the movie was also known as American Cannibale which once again bore no relevance to that contained within and was obviously an attempt to wring a few more bucks out of the project by piggy backing off of the cannibal exploitation popular through controversy at the time.

The majority of Snuff has the pacing of an overweight stoner in a marathon and is an attempt to shock wrapped up in another attempt to shock, with an inadequate amount of shocks to genuinely make an impact on the horror genre. Despite being a waste of a movie experience, kudos must be awarded for the fact that a failed movie was stolen from its original makers and given a new lease of life much greater than before it's reincarnation. Plus give extra kudos points for having what would have been an unknown splatter movie banished to the Video Nasty List therefore propelling it to cult and collectible status.

Don't make an effort to see this movie but do revel in its history as not only was it a success when it really shouldn't have been, but it also put the phrase "snuff movie" into everyday conversations and therefore deserves a certain amount of glory and its place on the DPP list of movies "too violent or obscene to be viewed by anyone".
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Categories: Video Nasties
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