Horror Movie Review: Snuff (1975)

Snuff. A 1975 horror movie that is infamous for the absurd publicity stunt done to promote it by the producer/distributor Alan Shackleton. Originally titled ‘The Slaughter’ and telling the story of a cult that goes on a murder spree, ala The Manson Family. Shackleton got hold of it and tacked on a new ending that suggested we were witnessing a real-life murder.

A real-life Snuff film. That was how it was portrayed and Shackleton even went as far as to hire protestors to attend screenings of the film. It worked. The film made a lot of money before it was pulled and investigated. Resulting in the truth being revealed in 1976. It’s not a snuff movie and anyone who watched it, knew it. So poor are the effects, acting and dubbing.

That didn’t stop it running headfirst into the DPP and ending up on the nasty list in the UK. Prosecuted and banned, it would eventually be released in 2003 completely uncut.

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Such a notoriety means quality hardly matters. If you want to see what all the fuss was about, you’re going to watch it regardless of if someone tells you it is terrible. Which it is, it really is.

Even ignoring the attached ending, Snuff is nonsensical and boring. We have a group of psychotic women who take their tops off at regular intervals, under the spell of a man who calls himself Satan (Enrique Larratelli – uncredited). They go around, causing trouble and occasionally being punished by Satan or their sisters for transgressions. Many of which we never see or hear about.

Elsewhere we have the aspiring actress Terry (Mirtha Massa – uncredited) who wants to be a star and make it on her own. Much to the chagrin of her beau Max (Aldo Mayo – uncredited) who just wants her to come and live with him as his family is so rich, he can look after her.

It is them that will eventually suffer the ire of the cult.

This brief synopsis might sound coherent but it is in no way doing the irrational way this story is told any justice. There are so many times where you’ll just be saying ‘what?’ because the film has changed direction or skipped an important step in the story. It would almost be funny if it wasn’t such a drag. Scenes like Madi-Gras, made up of the same stock footage being repeated for a couple of minutes, or one character agreeing to let the other have sex with his wife as long as he can watch, are just baffling weird and unendingly boring.

All of this wrapped up in ugly visuals, horrible effects and some of the worst dubbing seen in a very long time, if not ever before.

…and then we get to that ending. Utterly head-scratching if you don’t know before what it is supposed to be. The people making this film finishing and then deciding to slaughter one of the crew in gory fashion. Does it look real? Not in the slightest. The effects are so poor and the reactions of the cast so laughably bad that no-one could ever have been convinced this was real.

So, there it is. Snuff. A notorious mid-70’s horror that certainly took a risk when it came to marketing but is inevitably one of the worst movies on the nasty list.




Snuff (1975)
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