Tuesday, 23 June 2015

Do Snuff Films exist?: Beginner's Research

Do snuff films exist? Or are we being duped by an urban legend told by your weird neighbour who live's in his mum's basement until he's 40? For the past year I have been slowly working on an article on whether these films exist or not. While I know I may never get a conclusive answer the subject matter alone intrigues me. Do I want snuff films to exist? NO! But would I be surprised if they did? Not at all. Why? Because I don't trust human nature. As time passes we are becoming more evolved and with time we learn from our mistakes. And I partially believe that if snuff films do exist these people making them and distributing them definitely do not want to make any mistakes in being caught. The subject matter alone is alluring. Part of me wants to know if this is more than just an Urban Legend but at the same time, I feel if there was conclusive evidence that they do exist then knowing the answer will obviously take away that 'mysticism'.

As a horror buff, I am a huge fan of practical FX in films, and respect how authentic they look, but what if you watched something that looked just a little too real? That happened when actor Charlie Sheen saw the film Guinea Pig 2: The Flower of Flesh and Blood and contacted the FBI. If you love gore and practical FX, I definitely recommend it. Sure the film is very full on however, it definitely paved the way for the next generation of gore. I have been desensitized to violence from a young age, but as I got into my late teens I needed something with a bit more of an edge to it. I discovered the August Underground series; again this was something that at one point was considered 'real'. It wasn't. But even still the violence was definitely amped up, and the low budget slapped with a grimy texture,gave me something that I was looking for at the time. I really enjoyed these films, but I found I was enjoying them just that little too much, and from then on I started to think about how far some people would go to not just entertain but also getting their own gratification from this. As soon as those thoughts started circulating in my mind constantly, that allowed me to step back from these kinda of films and I could cut myself off emotionally and just see them as visuals and that's it. I believe that was probably the safest option for me, because who know's what else I could be into by now?

You can view all different levels and kinds of violence, but I think you have a reason to watch those different levels too. Sometimes it's just to shut your mind off, sometimes you love nothing better than seeing a villain getting their karma, or further up on the scale, it gets you off. Yes that's exactly what I mean. I don't just mean degrading sexual acts against another person, I literally mean seeing someone being flayed can turn you on. I know that is an extreme example, but hey I am not exactly subtle. Some people will agree with me, and people won't. And for the people who don't let me try to explain my point. We live in a world of serial killers, prolific ones at that, who can also be narcissists. I believe in their eyes the crime isn't about the victim, it's about them and their needs; What can they get from hurting someone so violently? Gratification. It's a thrill, a buzz, a need. And believe it or not, we ALL have needs, we all crave that thrill, however majority of folks tend to channel that idea into something a lot more positive; and we never cross THAT line. But the minority do cross that line, and if people can hurt someone violently, then who's to say it's not caught on camera, and then distributed to the rest of the minority out there?

After writing a couple of articles on Cannibal Holocaust, Video Nasties and I Spit on Your Grave, I became fascinated with the notion that the general public actually thought cinematic distributed films were snuff films. That actually makes me laugh a little. If you really think about it, it even sounds somewhat backwards. You have a film being distributed to mainstream cinemas, as well as independents, which have credits to everyone who worked on the film. These people who have created a piece of cinema are not going to kill people on screen and put their careers in jeopardy, and likely be jailed for life for one movie. The idea is absurd, but the world was in a state of moral panic in the 70s and 80s. Exploitation and Mondo cinema were on the rise, you had films which depicted very graphic and at times very realistic looking acts of depravity and the term serial killer was used at an all time high, especially in the US. It was some of these elements which had already drilled into people's minds that everyone that watches a horror film is going to be a serial killer or rapist. The general public had definitely made their mind up about that. In the UK the film classification board were banning films as fast as they could catch actual criminals. I guess they had to look like they doing something, right? Films were being banned purely on the basis of the cover, and video stores were seized. It makes you wonder why films were being smuggled from other places in Europe and brought into the UK, and then an underground movement was being started. Fanzine's were started for VHS collectors, which specialised in swapping films with other collectors, which were banned. Sure some people were caught doing this, and their homes were raided, and VHS were confiscated and usually destroyed in an incinerator.

It's established that more violent and obscene films were being brought in from Europe; that has been proven. Now this where we level up. A film which depicted bestiality was smuggled from Europe into the UK, that film was called Animal Farm. In case you are wondering bestiality is a form of pornographic material which includes sexual acts performed with animals. Porn has always been smuggled into different corners of the globe, but the fact that something on a much perverted level found an audience which probably sickened most, you can guarantee a small portion found it arousing. They say different strokes for different folks, but you have to wonder where do you draw that line?

Love and Film

Could you be in a serious relationship with someone who isn't passionate about film the way you are? Okay film buffs, we have all been there right? We have dated someone who may not be into films as much as ourselves, and deep down we have thought we could change them...Or is it just me?

I remember there was a time where I just had met the best people of my life...and yes they are still in my life, they are my best friends and my god they have the most amazing and eclectic taste of films I have ever seen. With these friends we participated in movie nights together, which is something I had never done with a group of friends before. We relished sitting there for about 8 hours, drinking cherry coke, eating pizza and watching terrible films...okay terrible isn't the best word...SHIT,..yep beyond SHIT, that it so painful to watch. You know the kind where at first you are laughing at how bad it is, but soon the bad acting and shoddy dialogue starts to wear thin pretty damn quickly. Anyways I was so happy that I could finally share my love from craptacular films with my best friends, but I won't lie I felt like I was being held back just a little...by my boyfriend at the time. To this day I am still not sure why I stayed with him for two years especially after he broke many cardinal rules.

Cardinal Rule #1 - Do NOT fall asleep in the opening credits to Rocky II
Cardinal Rule #2 - Do NOT badmouth Kickboxer...EVER
Cardinal Rule #3 - Do NOT sit on your phone playing games all night when invited to a friends house
Cardinal Rule #4 - Do NOT badmouth my taste in film when you haven't even seen ANYTHING
Cardinal Rule #5 - Do NOT call my friends weird for liking the films that they do

These were just a few of the rules that were broken by my ex-boyfriend. Okay, they weren't really rules, more just things he did which pissed me off. Anyways you get the idea. Have you ever wanted to share a film that was really important to you, something that influenced who you are, to someone you thought could appreciate it too? But then they would just piss on it and make you feel like a complete idiot for loving it? Yeah that happened to me. It's definitely my fault for choosing this person, because hey we have all been with dip-shits because we were young and didn't know any better. But once I had gone through that I made sure that the next man in my life is as passionate about film as I am...and guess what, he is!

The man I am currently with is in love with films, just as much as me. Sure we both have very different tastes in some ways, but in other ways we love the same things too. He respects my love for Shaw Bros, Exploitation and just B-Grade kick-assery, and I respect his love for bigger blockbusters and Science Fiction. We make compromises and it works. There are many reasons I fell in love with this fine specimen, most of which are between he and I, however I will share a story which I think film buffs may find somewhat endearing.

About a year ago, he stayed over for the very first time - Get your mind out of the gutter, it wasn't like that. Anyways the next morning we were laying in bed just talking about movies, and just overall talking crap and then he said these words; "What's your malfunction Rico?" And the thoughts in my brain went a little something like this; "Holy shit, he just quoted Starship Troopers, I heard that correctly yes? Okay Jade play it cool, do not let him know you find it a turn on when a man quotes movies". Needless to say I eventually fell in love with this wonderful man, but it was that quote that got the ball rolling.  As time went on I found out he had seen some of the same documentaries as me, and no one I knew had seen them, which were awesome for conversation starters which would lead into deeper discussions. Film has been a big part of our relationship, and definitely opened up a part of us to one another. I know people say that you don't have to have the same interests for a relationship to work, but I am not sure if i believe that. I think whatever the interest is, you can definitely grow a big portion of your love around that and the most amazing thing is you can both feed off that passion that you have.

The main point of this little entry is that I hope all you film buffs out there find someone who will watch your favourite film with you and try to love it as much as you. I also hope you can experience films together which make you laugh, make you cry, or even fire you up. You all deserve that, and no partner should ever make you feel weird or abnormal for loving what you do. Watching films could be compared to being in a relationship. We all go through a lot of things, both good and bad, and we also watch films,  again both good and bad, and a special kind of person will get you through those bad times just like they will sit with you until the end of a bad film. I am not the best at expressing love, so this is as romantic as I can get while explaining what I think it is...Love and film go together, you just need that person who also understands that.

The way I look at it my partner is my idea of the perfect film. My perfect film contains passion, humour, depth, charisma, action and love; and the best part is, I get to watch it every damn day!