What are snuff movies? The bloodiest myth of horror movies

Snuff movies are perhaps the most controversial product and myth of the horror film industry. This is his bloody story.

talk about the snuff movies is to refer to one of the great myths of cinema.

In a text written for the magazine fangoriaabsolute reference in horror cinema, Alyse Wax says: “there is a very specific definition for movies snuff. They are considered films in which kills a person on camera. Death is premeditatedwith the purpose of being filmed to earn money. Often there is a sexual aspect in the murder, either in the movie (as in a horribly ending porn scene) or that the final project is used for the sexual gratification”.

What is and what is not snuff cinema

The videos of terrorists killing someone is not snuff cinema, since we are talking about a crime that was committed due to an ideology or with the purpose of threatening someone. Its purpose is not to entertain.

Likewise, videos of actual deaths caused by accidentssince this obviously does not happen in a premeditated way.

Likewise, the serial killers who record their victims to record and relive their crimes, are not really making snuff movies (although these recordings have all the characteristics), since they do it for a own consumption without the desire to entertain other people let alone profit from their recordings.

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Although what we see on the screen seems very real, snuff cinema for the most part is fiction and is filmed to market itself and entertain viewers. Of course we must not rule out that there are snuff movies with actual deathsalthough this material is mostly inaccessible through traditional means.

Snuff movies almost always involve sexualized torture and the victims are often female, although there are also legends about gay snuff movies involving the sacrifice of naive young males.

Birth of snuff cinema

It is believed that the origin of the word snuff comes from the author Ed Sandersin his 1971 book The Family: The Story of Charles Manson’s Dune Buggy Attack Battalion. The term was used in reference to some films that were supposedly shot by the manson family and buried in the California desert.

In the summer of 1969, Manson and his followers they stole an NBC truck loaded with film equipment. An anonymous member of the Family claimed to have heard of a snuff film that the group had shot; however, this person never saw the movie. Also those films were never found, nor was there evidence that they existed, but the term snuff stuck.

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The first snuff tape in history

In 1971, filmmakers Michael and Roberta Findley they traveled to South America to shoot Slaughter, a Manson-themed horror film. The tape lay forgotten on the shelf for years before it was released. Allan Shackletonexploitation film producer and head of Monarch Releasing Corporation, had an idea.

In the early 1970s, there were rumors of snuff movies coming to the United States from South America. Although no one discovered a single one of these supposed imports, Shackleton tapped into that sort of urban legend. He hired a filmmaker named Carter Stevens to film another five minutes of material to paste at the end of Slaughter.

The additional five minutes are as follows: At the end of the film, the camera angle changes to a long shot showing the crew wrapping up filming. Suddenly, a stagehand admits to the director that she last bloody scene turned her on.

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The couple begins to play around and become sexual innuendos while a camera continues recording them. She tries to stop what’s happening, but that only ignites the director’s desires. One of the team members hands the director tools, which she uses to tear apart his victim.

This tape is now known as snuff and is considered the first snuff tape ever. Shackleton created outrageous lines to make the product more profitable: “The bloodiest thing that ever happened in front of a camera!” “The movie they said could NEVER be shown….”, “Filmed in South America… Where life is cheap!”.

snuff movies
Still from “Snuff”, where one of the actresses in the film is killed.

The complaint

It was perhaps in the decade of the 80s when snuff movies became more famous. The actor was largely to blame for this. charlie sheen when he reported to the FBI a party where he saw a video in which a man dressed as a samurai drugged, attacked, and dismembered a woman. The video in question was part of the Japanese series gineapig, a collection of gore films of the 80s with graphically explicit violence.

At present, the snuff cinema navigates between myth and reality. There are people who toy with the possibility that real movies of this type exist on the black market or on the dark web, while other parties maintain that no one has been able to verify its true existence. Alyse Wax tells us:

“In the fifty years since the term snuff was coined, there have been plenty of hoaxes, hoaxes, and investigations that have led nowhere. Two of the most cited snuff movies come from South America.

“One is called Snake Feast and shows young girls being eaten by a giant snake; the other is Gator Bait Ten, in which ten girls (or young women, depending on who you ask) are torn apart by a pack of alligators. No proof of any of these films exists; its existence is based on word of mouth and rumors.

The best movies about snuff cinema

Snuff movies about snuff movies make up almost a horror film subgenre. An example of this is the famous film 8MMstarring Nicolas Cage, which explores the world of real snuff movies. Another film that addresses the issue is the excellent Spanish thriller Thesis (1996), by Alejandro Amenabar.

the 1978 film The Evolution of Snuffdirected by Andrzej Kostenkopretends to be a documentary film about making snuff movies. They are also worth noting end cut (1993) and Snuff Killer (2003).

All these tapes have a very similar plot: the protagonist stumbles upon a web of snuff films or, as in 8MMtries to determine if a snuff movie is really a snuff movie.

Ultimately, snuff movies terrify and disgust people, but no real evidence of their existence has been found. Documented death is real: news footage from war zones, propaganda videos, accidents and more. But the existence of an underground industry with people killed for the amusement of others to this day it remains a myth.


What are snuff movies? The bloodiest myth of horror movies