Snuff (1974)

USA, 1971
mono, English

An American horror film director – uncredited – by Michael and Roberta Findlay. Filmed five years before its eventual release, the film was marketed as a “genuine” snuff movie and featured a final sequence, supposedly showing the murder of one of the actresses in the film, directed by Simon Nuchtern. It's UK video release – allegedly a bootleg – landed the film on the “” list.

Plot Summary

A film crew working in South America is targeted by a Satanic cult. Under the malignant leadership of their guru, Satan, the cult members begin planning a slaughter of the film-makers…


NOTE: There are no credits on any print of Snuff.

Directors: Michael Findlay, Roberta Findlay
Final Sequence Director: Simon Nuchtern
Michael Findlay Productions
Producer: Michael Findlay, Jack Bravman
Script: Michael Findlay
Directors of Photography: Robert Findlay, Roberto Herz Kowicz
Music: Rick Howard

Margarita Amuchástegui [Angelica]
Ana Carro [Ana]
Liliana Fernández Blanco [Susanna]
Roberta Findlay [Carmela]
Alfredo Iglesias [Horst's father]
Enrique Larratelli [Satan]
Mirtha Massa [Terry London]
Aldo Mayo [Max Marsh]
Clao Villanueva [Horst Frank]
Michael Findlay [detective]

Alternative Titles

American Cannibale – German title
Big Snuff – alternative German title
Slaughter – shooting title

See also
Olga's Dungeon of Torture Volume I (no date)
Olga's Dungeon of Torture Volume II (no date)

Production Notes

Snuff began life in Argentina, 1971, when Michael and Roberta Findlay set out to create a Manson-inspired slasher aptly named Slaughter. Shot without synchronised sound and with a miniscule budget, Slaughter was deemed unreleasable by every company the Findlays took it to. Eventually, they were able to pass it on to Allan Shackleton's New York-based Monarch Releasing Corporation, hitherto a supplier of low budget softcore porn. Shackleton was notorious for his cavalier attitude towards the he obtained, frequently recutting and compiling footage designed to jump on whatever sexploitation bandwagon happened to be rolling past at the time. Such was the fate awaiting the tawdry Slaughter.

As it stood in 1971, Slaughter was unreleasable even by Shackleton's low standards – a poorly edited, acted and directed mess. In however, the first of a new breed of mondo ‘shockumentaries' was loose in America's grindhouses and Shackleton suddenly saw an opening. Slashing the credits from Findlay's movie, financing a newly shot ending and giving it a new title allegedly taken from a passage in Ed Sanders' Manson biography The Family The Story of Charles Manson's Dune Buggy Attack Battalion, Shackleton launched Snuff with a provocative and well orchestrated publicity campaign.

The Findlays' never released Slaughter had ended with a Manson-like cult leader orchestrating the mass murder of a Hollywood film crew. And it was also where the controversy began. Shackleton hired his own director, Simon Nuchtern, and shot an extra couple of minutes (at Carter Stevens' studio on 29th Street, New York) supposedly showing the torture and murder of one of the set crew shooting the film.

Shackleton now moved up a gear, anonymously leaking fake stories about the supposed smuggling into the States of a genuine ‘snuff' movie from South America. Bogus letters of outrage were distributed and soon protest groups were gathering outside the few cinemas that were willing to show Snuff. Moral indignation, encouraged by Shackleton, soon did the job and the movie became a minor cause celebre. Although the idea of “snuff” movies had been around for a few years prior to the release of the film, it was the release of Snuff that brought that idea into wider circulation.

A number of prominent feminist groups were convinced that the advertising was for real and vociferously attacked the film on every possible occasion (this despite the fact that it was Shackleton himself who allegedly tipped them off in the first place). The groundswell of public opinion resulted in the movie being banned in a number of American cities. Even the law enforcement agencies fell for it, the FBI opening an investigation that led them to track down the actress who appeared in the newly-shot finale and confirm that she was alive and well.

In the UK, the same tactics were used by Michael Behr, head of Astra Video when he released the film (briefly) to the UK market in the early 1980s. Behr contacted moral campaigner Mary Whitehouse to complain about this awful film. Whitehouse's notorious unwillingness to corroborate the facts did the rest. The national press were up in arms and, almost inevitably, the film was banned. The Astra Video is now widely believed to have been a bootleg release and it's even doubtful whether or not Astra actually released it. Certainly copies of the film made it into some British video shops, but who was actually behind it isn't clear.

[With thanks to Carter Stevens]



  • Empire no.4 (June 1993) p.34 – illustrated letter
  • Film Comment vol.12 no.3 (May/June 1976) pp.35, 63 – article
  • Film-Echo/Filmwoche no.29 (26 May 1979) p.9 (Germany) – article
  • Journal of Film and Video v45 n2/3 (Summer/Autumn 1993) pp.40-59 – illustrated article (Soft Core/Hard Gore Snuff As a Crisis in Meaning by Eithne Johnson and Eric Schaefer)
  • Screen International no.28 (20 March 1976) p.17 – article
  • Take One v6 n10 (September 1978) pp.28-32 – illustrated interview with Roberta Findley (Woman In Porn by Gerald Peary)
  • Variety 25 February 1976 p.22 – review by Jac


  • Aurum Film Encyclopedia: Horror (2nd Edition) p.297 – credits, review
  • Killing for Culture pp.7-28, 38, 61, 220, 302-305, 313, 314 – illustrated articles