Although Hollywood filmmakers afford their adoring public the gratification of every taste served…to the extent the law allows, the excessive does sometimes raise its head (or behind, again a taste thing.) Technology has, in the last twenty years progressed graphics, camera technique, make-up, and adept film editing to a point where the resemblance to reality is convincing to even the most trained eye. This is very good in the sense that the result lessens the appeal of the actual “snuff” film and a requisite for the monsters that might make one.
This film is an expose’ in the very best sense that any expose’ can be made. For it is made within the industry by professionals that range throughout all film genre. Even one, Mark L. Rosen, an Academy Award winning producer, this film’s executive producer and one of it’s most compelling actor/witnesses comes forth boldly challenging the avowel that snuff films are an urban myth. His own unsettling testimony regarding both a South American film he was once offered and the history to which he refers of the Dmitri Kusnetsof Case lends the lie to FBI findings, “no such thing occurs”.
In its own unique and thorough way this documentary examines every form of exploitation separate opportunities might permit for “killing on camera”, war, serial killing, torture/interrogation, even the slaughter of animals like found in the movie, Face of Death. This is an important adjunct to discerning exactly what is “snuff” and what is not. A snuff film, we come to find out is very explicit in satisfying two requirements, 1) a human subject is murdered on camera, 2) the murder is solely done to sell the film.
Vivid scenes are shown from both the porn industry and the horror film industry that simulate, almost satisfy these criteria exceedingly well. Some very revolting. However, the viewer had entered the abyss knowing already it is an illusion. Great difference to having the slightest expectation of the real thing. Either intending or not, this exceptional film takes its viewer to this point of self-examination. Like Joseph Conrad’s exquisite novel we are plunged into our own Heart of Darkness. Yet not left entirely alone. Mr. Rosen’s own humanity and revulsion of the stories he has to tell and what we learn of how even the defamed pornography industry polices itself of this evil, helps gather our footing on this precipitous passage.
Mark Rosen deserves credit for this film’s significance, but more than that, its value, a moral one. And when the viewer learns of how lightly the criminal justice system has treated those involved in the Dmitri Kusnetsof Case, where “special orders” for films of the actual torture, mutilation and murder of children was determined to the extent convictions were handed down, we begin to appreciate more and more the motoring force behind all those coming forth to hold our hands while we face those demons among us.
These listed are on the front line of bravery, what it took to make this movie:
Paul von Stoetzel, producer; Raymond P. Whalen, himself ; Mark L. Rosen, executive producer and himself; Julie Wilson, herself; Larry C. Brubaker, himself; Todd Cobery, himself; Linda Flanders, herself; Michelle Lekas, herself; Nathan Paulson, himself; Ryan Schaddelee, himself
As far as warnings, NR, leaving parents alone to struggle over how far they should go to warn their children off what could possibly be in lurking for them.