8/31/15

SNUFF: THE TRUTH BEHIND ITS MYTH

Written by Greigh Johanson

It's been almost 40 years ago since the myth of snuff films appeared, and it's incredible that such a metaphorical designation still continues today. The first recorded use of the term "snuff film" comes from the book "The Family: The Story of Charles Manson's Dune Buggy Attack Battalion." written in 1971 by Ed Sanders. He claimed that the Manson family was involved in making such a film in California.





Snuff is an urban legend that was started by christians and feminists during the mid-seventies in a awkward attempt to curb both the growing porno- and horror film industry. The myth was created by a christian gentleman named Raymond Gaver (Chairman of movement "Citizens for Decency Through Law"). He wrote a letter to FBI in which he said that the "new" in the porn industry contained "real murder" - something he completely took out of the air. This allegation was "confirmed" by actor Dennis Hopper a few years later who was confided to a journalist that he met in a pub - you can read about the subject on the first article in the New York Times, October 1975. None of the people who was involved could produce one piece of evidence when the FBI came to visit. But yes, the movement who was involved in this can be more penetrating than the Vatican Library.

Screw Magazine's executive editor Al Goldstein had a standing reward of one million dollars, cash in hand , to the person who could give him a physical copy of a snuff film from when the rumors arose, somewhere between 1970-75, until the magazine and he went in the grave. No payment was made and the FBI hasn't found a single specimen for forty years, and this case have a special section for just that (as a result of the hysterical eighties). If the phenomenon does exists, then the conspiracy to conceal this must lie on entirely magnificent levels.





There are dozens of statements about snuff films where people generally report about recorded scenes of war, killings and suicide in front of a camera lens. But the criteria is much higher than so; To qualify the real thing of snuff, it must appear a underlying script in which the product is based in commercial purposes. Like any motion picture at any time, regardless of budget, it must be a genuine and deliberate murder and the actor have to take place in front of the camera for the film's starting point and Its success has to be produced and reach out to consumers with an underlying profit to the company.

In 1976 the film "Snuff" was released and caused a huge stir when the word were hitting the street as an actual film that depicts the screen surrounding the murder of an actress who had been smuggled into the U.S. from South America. Snuff was a product made by Monarch Releasing Corporation, and was filmed in Argentina in 1971 under the title "Slaughter". The film was in such poor condition that it never was released. Five years later, the director of Monarch breathed new life into this horribly bad movie by cutting out five minutes and replace them with new extra footage - later they released the movie titled "Snuff" and spread the word about a genuine snuff film; An marketing trick of a movie that made people upset and disgusted. It went so far that the cinemas were allowed to increase the fares without any argumentation.



In the 80s, the Italian director Ruggero Deodato was sat in the supreme court for his film Cannibal Holocaust, where it was said contain genuine murdered people . Deodato was able to prove that the violence was orchestrated, and he contacted Luca Barbareschi and told him to gather the other actors from the team. After he canceled the agreement in order to avoid life in prison, Deodato and the four actors came on the set of an Italian television show, which satisfied the courts. The case was remaining as late as 1993, but was shut down again. In addition to the graphic portrayal, the film contains several scenes of sexual violence and execution of six animals - Later, they got fined and the team had to pay for all the damage they have wrought.


In the early 90's, a infamous Asian film became released. It was rumored that this film would contain real murder scenes. The film came at the hands of actor Charlie Sheen, who afterwards claimed that vhs copy had ended up in the mailbox by mistake and that it was addressed to the neighbor next door. He turned to the FBI, fully convinced that he had stumbled upon a genuine snuff film. In this case It was about the second part of Guinea Pig series: Flower of Flesh and Blood. Some of the other films in the series have been temporarily fooled the authorities as Devils Experiment, but Flower of Flesh and Blood is the section that has attracted the largest share of controversies. It contains a samurai who tortures and kills a kidnapped girl in a very credible way. The FBI confiscated the film for examination and the manga artist and director Hideshi Hino was detained under the circumstances. But then there was a recorded documentary behind the scenes, so all credibility was lost and Hideshi was released just as fast again.

A genre that's closest to snuff is Mondo. An Italian genre that took its momentum with the pioneer Mondo Cane documentary from 1962 by Paolo Cavara, Franco Prosperi and Gualtiero Jacopetti. The documents consist of a series of travel depicted vignettes that provide glimpses into cultural practices around the world with the intention to shock or surprise western film audiences. These scenes are presented with little continuity, since they are intended as a kaleidoscopic display of shocking content rather than presenting a structured argument. Despite claims of genuine documentation, some scenes contains either staged or creatively manipulated to enhance its effectiveness.



Thousands of Mondo titles has reached its publication, from the superannuated 60's until today - One destined to enchant, and the other intended to provoke. In one way or another, with today's internet technology (consciously or unconsciously) we have seen clips from the most notorious mondo documentaries, among others Faces of Death and Traces of Death, which reluctantly have tricked the viewer into thinking it's an plot for underlying snuff footage - which isn't the case. It's only documented (and sometimes staged) depictions taken from news reports around the world.


In the early millennium, the horror world became acquainted with the phenomenon of "faux-snuff", a genre that deliberately fooling the viewer to believe what they see behind the lens. The genre came to light with the French film "Man Bites Dog" from 1992, which made ​​satire of the subject. But in 2001, the gravity became jeopardized by the American film company Toetag Pictures that gave us the controversial August Underground series where a couple of young people documenting the execution of the murder with help of a handheld camera. The genre would quickly become popular and gave us titles as Long Pigs , Snuff 102 and Amatuer Porn Star Killer trilogy.



A handful of documentaries has reflected the topic through the years and it has turns out that snuff still's a myth. So remember folks; the snuff speculations has bypassed surveys for over 40 years and haven't managed to achieve a single recognition. When you sit on internet pages like Ogrish, Best Gore or Liveleak and finds published IS beheaded movies and titled as "One lunatic, one ice pick" or "Three men one hammer" it don't falls in context of "snuff film" because these clips are not intended for a commercial purpose.


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