Snuff: 1. v.t. to extinguish; to de-light; to kill. 2. A genre of film depicting the ( torture? ) death of a person, often pornographic, violent, delirious, genuine.

I wish to clear it of its stigma, its exoticism. Snuff is already among us. From the televised electrocution of criminals, to war reports and accounts of mass murderers, we do not shirk the reportage of actual death, its attendant violence. We flock to slasher films, action films, horror. So it is not from squeamishness that the majority condemns snuff.
Then why is snuff shunned? Even animal snuff is done discreetly, frowned upon, avoided entirely.

I think it is intimately connected with the concept of film. The film, traditionally, is the realm of the passive, the acceptance of the passive. We can condone and enjoy the atrocities on film because the cause and effect are encased within the film narrative; there is no interaction; we are only pleasurably helpless, sealed off by our eyes, and, therefore blameless.

Pornography disturbs us more because it elicits an involuntary sexual response from us and sex has always been the pervasive metaphor we use for interaction. Snuff is relentlessly interactive in this sense, pushing la petite mort into le grand guignol.

Snuff, by definition, establishes its very existence upon interaction with the viewer; it is the most blatant form of collusion: the death within the film is caused by you, the viewer, because you have created the market, the desire for this product.

Why do we deny it? It is typical. We have neutrality, quarantine, madhouses, leper colonies, jails, schools, electric fences. We define ourselves not by our connections but by our boundaries. We become confused when these boundaries crack and seep, when our distinctions swallow themselves whole. Without the zoo, we are all animals.

Film, as a concept is the most unblemished example of this ethic, packaged as an actual and complete enclosure, providing the convenient delivery of fantasy without repercussions. Film is one of the most convenient of these packages, a means by which we escape reality simply to return and reconfirm it. It is the delivery of fantasy without guilt. So we are stunned by this intrusion of film on death, the blatancy by which the monster reveals its true nature to be that of child: societal responsibility.

Our problem with snuff is this: We want to see death; we don't want to be responsible for it.
Snuff states that we are, in a subtle and indirect way, responsible for all deaths and, explicitly, for the death that is placed immediately before our eyes. It also states that death is entertaining, particularly when it is brutal, mutilating, cruel, when it is real.
Neither of these are things we would like to acknowledge about ourselves. We want to be the angels floating up above, engrossed in the destruction beneath, superior, airborne, guiltless.

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