Snuff (1976)
Directed by Michael and Roberta Findlay

Artistic Value: *
Entertainment Value: * ½

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Terry London (Mirtha Massa), an aspiring actress, travels to Chile with a movie mogul, Max Marsh (Aldo Mayo), and joins a wealthy playboy, Horst Frank (Clao Villanueva), to have some fun. Unfortunately, Satan (Enrique Larratelli), the leader of a group of attractive young female devotees, has simultaneously decided to send his followers out on various missions to kill people.

Michael and Roberta Findlay's Snuff really is among the worst films I have ever encountered. It is truly awful.

For one thing, the directors seem to have no idea how to tell a story. Snuff's narrative ranges from jumpy to incoherent. The movie begins by showing several of the members of Satan's religious group torturing another of their number for not sharing her cocaine, but the incident is promptly forgotten. The Findlays instead turn to revealing one of Satan's devotees stabbing some random man in an airport, Terry and Max arriving in Chile, the former's relationship with Horst, the foreigners' watching a South American Carnival, Terry and Horst's father discussing the morality of a German selling Arabs arms that might be used to kill Jews, Satan's sexual initiation of a young woman, the robbery of a country store by Satan's deadly girl followers, a flashback to the past of one of these women (which reveals how, as a teenager, she was repeatedly abused sexually by her father's employer), a killing spree the girls go on, and more. Hardly a single incident has any bearing on any other. The movie just leaps from one to the next. The result is a rambling jumble of disconnected scenes.

What is more, the story is not the movie's only ineptly realized element. The acting is consistently atrocious, the special effects are ludicrously cheesy, the cinematography and editing are amateurish, and the pacing is often tiresome. As bad as the movie is, it is not, however, amusing for its badness. It is, more often than not, just boring.

Finally, I should note that Snuff's concluding scene, which purports to show the members of the film crew murdering an actress in real life, and which so justifies its title, is tacked on, unrelated to anything that comes before it, and ridiculously shoddy. The scene was clearly intended to generate publicity for the movie, and it did so (Snuff was protested in the 1970s and inspired a certain amount of feminist literate, such as Take Back the Night: Women on Pornography), but it does not enhance the movie's quality a bit. Being irrelevant to everything that comes before, it adds nothing to the narrative, and, being ineptly realized, it is entirely unconvincing as a fake snuff movie. This sequence is just so silly and superfluous that it actually weakens an already dreadful movie.

There really is nothing in Snuff for which the film can be recommended. Although those curious about it as a result of its unique history may still want to see it (and lend their support to a work that certain people have tried to ban), they are sure to be bored and annoyed by this rubbish.

Review by Keith Allen

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