Finally, we have 'Snuff' on Blu-ray. I remember hearing about this film when I was a teenager and always wanted to see it. I know, I'm a sick and twisted individual, and I'm okay with that. It wasn't until college that a studio released it on DVD. The packaging was supposed to resemble a paper bag and only had the title 'Snuff' on it. There were no other markings, words, or even the studio's logos on it. It was truly the closest thing to a bootleg I could find. And upon putting the disc into my DVD player, there were no menus, scene selections, opening or ending credits. Just a movie where supposedly the camera crew brutally murdered the lead actress on camera. The legend and folklore surrounding this movie for the past 40 years is still alive today, and it works, even if the film itself is a completely boring mess from top to bottom.
Originally, the film was titled 'Slaughter', and followed the exploits, murders, and sexual escapades of a vicious cult, very reminiscent of the Manson Family. This is what married filmmakers Michael and Roberta Findlay set out to do in South America. With this super cheap budget, and filming in South America, they couldn't get actors who spoke very good English, so everything is mostly dubbed - and dubbed badly. In between the quick murders, we see a bunch of softcore sex scenes, long drawn out conversations that go nowhere, and scenes of virtually nothing.
Subtle isn't the name of this film's game either as the head cult leader, who brainwashes a bunch of chicks on motorcycles to kill for him, is named Satan. However, when a famous American actress shows up down in South America to film a movie, the cult sets their sights on her and believe that she has the perfect unborn child to sacrifice. Needless to say, it sounds like a winning film. But, there is no flow, reason, or pace to this wretched film, other than the mystery and controversy that surrounds it.
The only real reason to watch this is for the end scene. That famous scene where the film crew savagely murders the actress on set while the cameras are rolling. As the original film was a terrible mess, the producer of the movie decided to shelve it for years, but when news reports started trickling through the press of actual Snuff films being made, the producer shot an extra scene, which is the scene we now see at the end of the film, and he marketed it in such a way that sparked protests and made national news. This was basically "found footage" before the "found footage" became popular. And it worked.
Don't get me wrong, this is an awful film. It's not good in any way shape or form, as far as the content itself. But there is something about this little flick that makes me happy. Something that puts a smile on my face that I know I own this and that I've shown this film to friends late at night who are unsuspecting movie watchers, and literally think they witnessed an actual murder on film, even though the effects are simple and cheesy. I for one, am glad that 'Snuff' exists.
'Snuff' comes with an impressive all-new 1080p HD transfer which is finally presented in wide screen in an aspect ratio of 1.66:1. I couldn't be happier with this video presentation. Blue Underground really outdid themselves with this. This is a very clean, yet filmic transfer and is an amazing mix of a grindhouse-looking film that has been upgraded to HD quality. If you've seen the original DVD release, you know how bad it was. But with this Blu-ray, you'd thing Criterion had something to do with it.
The detail on this newly remastered transfer is great. Closeups reveal fine textures, and even wide shots look better than ever. That said, the image is still soft, with some dirt and scratches, but hey, that's grindhouse filmmaking. But all of those issues are minor. The colors have been well balanced and saturated this time around. The colors seem to pop off screen, whereas on previous releases they didn't. The skin tones look natural here with some decent looking black levels. While 'Snuff' still looks like it was filmed with the cheapest camera from the 70s, the image looks pristine.
Unfortunately, the audio mix isn't as good as the video. This release comes with a DTS-HD mono 1.0 audio track. Don't expect much from this, as everything sounds fairly muted and vague with no range whatsoever. Dialogue is clunky and not always clear, as the dubbed voices and audio has seen better days. Just nothing seems to synch. The music score and sound effects sound better than the audio here, but not by much. There aren't any pops, cracks, or hissing that I noticed, but judging by the video presentation, this audio mix should have been better. That being said, it does its job - barely.
'Snuff' is not for everyone. In fact most people would turn it off or get up and leave. But for the right crowd, this movie works and is a great addition into a collection of weird and bizarre films. I love owning highly controversial films like this, and with its amazing video presentation and decent extras, I'm going to have to recommend this Blu-ray to fans of the film. It's the best version to have.