Snuff: Real Death and Screen Media
Format: PDF / Kindle (mobi) / ePub
The phenomenon of so-called 'snuff movies' (films that allegedly document real acts of murder, specifically designed to 'entertain' and sexually arouse the spectator) represents a fascinating socio-cultural paradox. At once unproven, yet accepted by many, as emblematic of the very worst extremes of pornography and horror, moral detractors have argued that the mere idea of snuff constitutes the logical (and terminal) extension of generic forms that are dependent primarily upon the excitement, stimulation and, ultimately, corruption of the senses. Snuff: Real Death and Screen Media brings together scholars from film and media studies to assess the longevity of one of screen media's most enduring cultural myths. Thorough, provocative, and well argued, the contributions to this volume address areas ranging from exploitation movies, the video industry, trends in contemporary horror cinema, pornography and Web 2.0.
combines with the elements of melodrama in the original “damsel in distress” narrative, to effectively parody both genres; if the “victim” is supposed to be sweet and innocent, why is she wearing such overtly sexualized clothing?43 The scene also To avoid any confusion, I am referencing the generic conventions of damsel in distress narratives, not victim blaming. 43 92 SNUFF plays with the conventions of the horror film, with the male model dressed as the serial killer Michael Myers from the
back onto the furniture, slumps down the wardrobe, slides to the floor. Her wide-eyed expressions and grimaces convey none of the realistic pain and terror one might expect from a professional actress but that seems to be precisely the appeal: there is exaggeration and excessive demonstration of the same horrible moment over and over again. At the same time I think it is important to recognize that these images have none of the stylizing of “cruelty” others have explored in torture porn or
Consequently, the closer realist horror comes to its social referent, the more dangerous it is seen to become. This is particularly relevant in relation to early assumptions around snuff, wherein the murderous acts onscreen were seen to sate perverted or homicidal proclivities. The sexual dimension of the realist horror film found a natural imaginary space within an emergent fictional snuff subgenre, its embodiment of deviant desire dislocating it from the notion of “art horror” (with its
reportage opening to Cannibal Holocaust immediately establishes a realist frame for the initial jungle expedition that follows, while also confirming this locale as the basis of both primitive sexual relations and random acts of savagery. Here, Monroe’s journey takes him into the heart of the infamous “Green Inferno,” the Amazonian wilderness dominated by three warring tribes that have previously encountered Yates and the film crew with fatal results. During this expedition, he functions as a
Holocaust’s wider narrative frame but functions to further confuse the boundaries of fact and fiction, when it is revealed to Monroe that the whole excerpt was staged by Yates and his crew for dramatic impact. However, as Jackson notes, The Last Road to Hell footage is derived from actual atrocity news reporting, which Deodato assembled for Cannibal Holocaust, and, therefore, “The implications of this are crucial—a series of real documentary fragments are presented as manipulated, orchestrated,