Snuff films are something of an urban legend in the film industry. The concept of them is widely known, though quite controversial. This article looks at what exactly snuff films are and whether or not they’re real in any way.
What Is a Snuff Film?
A snuff film is defined as a film in which a real murder takes place. In other words, at least one actor or actress is killed while the camera is rolling, and death is included in the final edit. Viewers are led to believe that no one has actually died and that any deaths in the film are simply acted out as usual.
Some snuff films can be more pornographic in nature. There will be a porn scene with actual sex taking place, and at the end of the scene, one of the actors in that scene will end up getting killed. These films attract curiosity and attention in Australia, especially online. People seem to enjoy looking up weird things like this just as much as they enjoy playing games at Queensland online casinos. Though casinos are completely legal and moral, snuff films, if they are real, are most definitely illegal and immoral.
The History of Snuff Films
The idea of snuff films didn’t become common until the 1970s. During this decade, there were rumours about a secretive industry where films involving actual, real-life deaths were being produced, mainly for profits.
The term ‘snuff film’ was used in the 1971 book ‘The Family: The Story of Charles Manson’s Dune Buggy Attack Battalion’ by Ed Sanders. The Manson family was a gang and cult that was headed by Charles Manson and was responsible for over 100 deaths in California throughout the late 1960s and early 1970s. Most of the members were young females; they lived unconventional lifestyles and were known for doing drugs. It was rumoured that Manson and some of his followers killed someone and recorded the act, then driven out into the desert and buried the recording somewhere. To this day, it hasn’t been found, and there are doubts about whether it existed.
In 1976, the film Snuff came out. This capitalised on the rumours of the supposed snuff film industry by claiming to be one such film. It’s based on the murders committed by the Manson family in 1969. A lot of the marketing for the Snuff film claimed that the film showed an actual murder. There was a media frenzy because of this, which only helped the film attract attention and earn ticket sales.
One of the producers, Alan Shackleton, wouldn’t say whether there was an actual murder in the film, which only added fuel to the fire. A New York district attorney was prompted to carry out an investigation into the film. He concluded that the actress whose real death was supposedly shot on camera was, in fact, alive and kicking.
More Examples of Snuff Films
Cannibal Holocaust is a well-known example of a snuff film. Released in 1980, it’s a found footage Italian horror film about a rescue mission to find a film crew who went missing in the Amazon Rainforest while shooting a documentary about cannibal tribes. Because of the way Cannibal Holocaust is presented, many believed that a lot of the footage was indeed real. Investigations were carried out to confirm that the film’s scenes were properly acted out and that there was no real-life death or violence involved in the production.
There are also the Guinea Pig films. It’s a series of six Japanese horror films focusing on torture and mutilation. They were released from 1985 to 1990, and the second one, in particular, is quite well known. This is because actor Charlie Sheen watched it (six years after its release in 1991), and he was convinced that the death scenes were real. He, therefore, contacted the authorities, and an investigation was promptly carried out. This helped the Guinea Pig series attract more attention. However, the series has long been controversial not only for its graphic violence but also for supposedly inspiring real-life serial killers.
There’s also the August Underground trilogy. This is a series of horror films that are made to resemble amateur film footage shot by a murderer and his accomplices. The director and lead actor, Fred Vogel, was arrested by Canadian customs officers when trying to enter Canada for a horror film festival. He had copies of the first two films with him, and the authorities wanted to review them to make sure they weren’t recordings of actual deaths. He reportedly spent ten hours in custody while his films were reviewed, and all charges made against him were eventually dropped.
How Do Snuff Films Compare With Horror Films?
Horror is one of the biggest genres of film. It typically involves people being caught up in threatening, dangerous situations and coming up against such things as crazed killers, powerful ghosts, terrifying beasts and creepy people. Such films are meant to shock, scare and even freak people out.
Snuff films have quite a lot in common with horror ones. Both genres are meant to startle you and catch you unawares. Many snuff films contain elements of horror. The key difference between the two is, of course, that in a snuff film, at least one death is meant to be real; in horror, there doesn’t even need to be a death. Snuff films basically take a particular element of horror – the death of a character – and make this a focal point in the film’s marketing by claiming the actor/actress actually died.
Are Snuff Films Real?
The answer to this question is simple: no, snuff films aren’t real. Though they’ve been hyped up quite a lot, there have been no proper films that include footage of someone being killed. There are lots of false snuff films – these are simply films that claim to belong to the snuff category, even though they don’t. Over the years, some productions have been given the snuff label to help them generate publicity and encourage more people to go and see them. In other words, the concept of snuff films is nothing more than an ingenious marketing ploy.
No one would risk releasing a film where actual deaths are shown on screen. Major production companies wouldn’t dream of doing such a thing, and though independent companies tend to make riskier decisions, they, too, wouldn’t dare show real deaths in their productions. Though snuff films have generated controversy, there would be serious repercussions for those involved if a character’s death was, in fact, the real-life death of an actor or actress.
A film that’s considered snuff shows actual murders of actors and/or actresses. Even though they’re a popular urban legend, no real snuff films have ever been confirmed to exist. There’s been no evidence of an actor or actress being killed on set and the murder being included in a film.
Many people have died on camera; people shooting wartime scenes may record a killing, or someone could record a deadly accident, for example. But no one’s ever been deliberately killed on camera for a film.