The film that could only be made in South America... where Life is CHEAP!


Snuff is one of the infamous “Video Nasties” that was banned in the U.K. during a bizarre moral panic in the 1980s. Its reputation is extreme and for years it was nearly impossible to track down a copy. That is no longer the case. It has been released on Bluray by Blue Underground and is available at major retailers.

            The movie started life as a sleazy little grindhouse affair called Slaughter. It was directed on the cheap by husband and wife team Michael and Roberta Findlay (known for such outings as (The Curse of Her Flesh). It was an attempt to cash in on the hysteria surrounding the Manson Family murders of Sharon Tate and others.

            The plot involves an Actress named Terry London who has travelled to South America (“where life is cheap”, as the tag line informs us) along with her producer, Max. They are in an unnamed country to make a film. There is a bit of a subplot about Terry’s boyfriend wanting her to shift to more mainstream roles, rather than the nudity and sex scenes she is known for.

            The audience is introduced to an all-girl biker gang reminiscent of the Manson girls (naturally) and their charismatic leader Satán. You can guess upon whom he is modelled.

            We see the gang get up to some sex and murder, but mostly they stalk Terry. Terry, by the way is pregnant, just like Sharon Tate at the time of her murder. The film culminates with the slaughter of the pretty, young, pregnant movie star. And that should be the end of it. Slaughter was just a cynical cash grab in a sea of cynical cash grabs. It should have spent a brief time on the grindhouse / drive-in circuit and then fallen into the memory hole never to be seen again. And it would have, were it not for Allan Shackleton.

            Shackleton shelved the movie rather than releasing it. However, four years later he read an article about the rumors of snuff films. This gave him an idea.

            Working in a porn studio, he shot a new ending. After the muder of Terry London, there is a rough cut and we see the film crew (presumably the crew that shot the film we have been watching) wrapping up the final shot. We get a little banter, then an unnamed crew member suggests that he has an idea for a great scene. He escorts a young lady to the bed in the room in what seems like an overture to sex. He then attacks her. Several members of the crew join in and slaying the young woman gruesomely. This final scene is shot cinema verite style, giving it a truthful feel that the rest of the movie lacks.

            Shackleton changed the title to Snuff and removed the credits to give a greater air of mystery. The real genius came in marketing that hinted that this was in fact a real snuff film with a real murder on screen.


               The grimy nature of the movie actually helps to sell this. The film was shot without sound, and dubbed, poorly, in post. The lighting is amateurish. The staging is bad. The acting, such as it is, is baroque at best. All of this lends to the feeling that what happens in the final scene could be real. And that is what created the legend that this movie became.

            Is Snuff a good film? No. Not by any measure. Is it one that you should see? Oh hell yeas!