A stilted and amateurish exploitation quickie purported to be an
actual snuff film. It’s not!
The real facts of this film are well known, yet many
people still persist in believing it an actual snuff film. In truth it
was a trashy no budget Charles Manson cash-in called SLAUGHTER, filmed
in Argentina by the notorious exploitation filmmaking team of Michael
and Roberta Findley (then known for sleazers like TAKE ME NAKED, THE
TOUCH OF HER FLESH and A THOUSAND PLEASURES). The film was completed in
1971 and given (very) scattered theatrical distribution.
SLAUGHTER was then purchased by Allan Shackleton of
Monarch Releasing Corporation. In a desperate bid to recoup his
investment, Shackleton tacked on a poorly shot final scene alleging that
the makers of the film actually killed one of its actresses, and
re-released it (sans credits) in 1976 under the title SNUFF. The snuff
film ruse included fake Shackleton-penned newspaper clippings about a
fictional attorney’s crusade to keep the film from release, which
inspired a nationwide uproar. In this way SNUFF became one of the
signature films of the grindhouse era, and kicked off the myth of the
snuff film, which continues to intrigue and upset people today.
A young woman has ripped off several violent women, who
chase the thief down in a field and torture her by cutting up her feet.
Around the same time a man disembarking from a plane in South America is
knifed in an airport restroom by one of the chicks from the previous
scene, who’s dressed as a man. It turns out that the gals are under the
control of a seductive Charles Manson-like freak named Satan.
Satan’s victims come to include a man stabbed to death
at an outdoor soirée, which attracts police attention. More killings
occur during a convenience store holdup, in which the elderly clerk is
shot, along with an old woman and a young girl who had the misfortune to
stop off at the store. Eventually Satan’s followers force their way onto
the grounds of a luxurious estate, where they slaughter everyone in
From there the action unconvincingly shifts to show
what’s apparently happening behind the scenes. We see the director
seduce one of the lead actresses, who becomes upset that they’re being
filmed in the act. He responds by stabbing her in the shoulder, cutting
off several fingers and then an entire hand, and finally scooping out
her innards, at which point the film cuts to black.
SNUFF is for the most part fairly typical of the type
of films made by director Mike Findlay and cinematographer Roberta
Findlay in the late sixties-early seventies: it’s trashy and amateurish
in the extreme, filled with outrageously stilted acting and unconvincing
gore effects, and has a severely choppy, difficult-to-follow narrative.
There’s much noticeable padding (such as documentary footage of an
outdoor siesta that drags on forever) and gratuitous psychedelic
interludes, and at one point the photography shifts to black-and-white
for no apparent reason. There’s also an unintentionally hilarious
flashback by one of the female leads, in which a man’s hands are chopped
off and hung up as a keepsake and a little girl’s voice is
unconvincingly dubbed by Ms. Findlay. In short, the film is total crap!
The notorious end sequence, shot several years after
initial filming was completed, isn’t much better. It was lensed in a
Manhattan loft with an actress who looks nothing like the woman she’s
supposed to be portraying, and shot with distracting handheld
camerawork. Featured are a plethora of gore effects that go beyond
anything in the rest of the film in explicitness and extremity, yet are
so unconvincing it’s hard to believe anyone was fooled into thinking
they might actually be real. Yet fooled many people were, and apparently
Monarch Releasing Corporation
Director: Michael Findlay
Producers: Jack Bravman, Allan Shackleton
Screenplay: Michael Findlay
Cinematography: Roberta Findlay
Cast: Margarita Amuchastegui, Ana Carro, Liliana Fernandez Blanco,
Michael Findlay, Roberta Findlay, Alfredo Iglesias, Enrique Larratelli,
Mirtha Massa, Aldo Mayo, Clao Villanueva