Two killers are employed to do what they do best, to make a snuff tape. Brokering the deal is Brand, a middleman serving on the behalf of a unknown client and relaying the job’s details to his contracted filmmakers. The casted stars of their next production is a young pregnant woman who works at the home for the disabled and one of the residents, a 15-year-old deaf-mute girl who can’t utter a single sound due to her extreme incapacitated condition. Pretending to be making a documentary about the disabled, the two killers were able to gain the women’s trust, easily drug them, and move them to a secluded location where the sadistic torture and affectionless murder show begins.
Straight torture and gore with no cinematic style or undertone depth is not every moviegoers preferred cup of tea. For this gore hound, I can take it or leave it but would enjoy the darkest recesses of human sadisms and fantasies more if something was more germane to the reason for gore, but as far as Juval Marlon’s “Snuff Tape Massacre” is concerned, what you receive is a single perspective propelled by unsympathetic maliciousness, nihilism, and a taste for that metallic sweetness of blood. The Germans are fairly well known for their insensitive, uncouth, and extreme films from the likes of directors Olaf Ittanbach and Jörg Buttgereit. Does Juval Marlon have the blood and guts to be on the same level? His written and directed 60-minute independent feature, also known as “Stermgewehr,” (“rifle” in German), aims to be a gruesome shocker under Marlon’s own befitting Beheading Films banner.
Obviously, none of the following names will be a part of a familiar, household cast fixture. These types of gorging gore films usually have a small and conversant with each other cast of at approximately a hand full of willing actors and actresses to possibly mar, or better yet castrate, their acting aspirations with needless disturbing content that’s ironically overstated as well as understated. “Snuff Tape Massacre” has a total of five members in the cast and out of the five members, only one uses a first and last name. The others go essentially dark with their real or full names anonymous to the world because who would ever in their right mind want to be associated with a movie about a snuff film? Thomas Goersch is the only full name credited and the only actor who a respectable credit list. However, Goersch has had many publicly and critically panned low-rent features with “The Curse of the White Woman,” “Bloody Shadows,” and “Poltergeister Experiment” being just some of his most recent samples that fallen into the depths of unsalvageable dumpster fires (and this has perked my darkly morbid and unusual curiosity in bad, bad movies!). As businessman Brand, Goersch never gets his hands dirty, leaving the role and his name unscathed and to leave all death-dealings to his hired hands in a pair of automaton teenage terminators including the head Snuff Filmer (Navarro) and his unnamed companion on the trail of blood. At least Goersch has a bit of Bill Zebub underground star power in Germany, Navarro exists only in this film as the one of the two mostly shaded and masked killers who kidnap actresses Tanja and Maria V. to exploit. The ruse surrounding the kidnapping leaves what ever little effort there was to be, to make the ordeal more engaging and exciting, was left back on Brand’s phone call as the Snuff Filmer’s plan to be pseudo-interviewers for a documentary goes off without a hitch. Maria V. does find as an interviewee of a second-year social worker enthusiastic about helping but her fellow co-kidnappee in binds Tanja literally serves as a second body to humiliate, torture, and execute by two desensitized individuals that isn’t a far stretch from their rigid performances as high and tight killers.
The crux of the problem with “Snuff Tape Massacre” is that the movie is just too long. Right now, you’re sitting there, reading this, cross-eyed by confusion, and thinking to yourself, “Steven, didn’t you say this was a 60-minute movie?” The answer is, yes, I did say that, but Marlon’s previous work, of similar extreme fetishisms, have been short films and “Snuff Tape Massacre” feels very much like a short film that’s been mishappened by a rack, stretched beyond its limits to where the possibility of being recognized for what it is, an orthodox gore and shocker, no longer factors into the equation. Scenes run too long and are over kneaded to the point of losing its impactful rise. For instance, when the young 15-year-old mute-deaf girl is being threatened by the Snuff Filmer’s automatic rifle barrel as he stuffs it into her mouth in an unspoken, simulated act of fellatio, the scene drags on for minutes upon minutes. As aforementioned, “Stermgewehr” in Germain is rifle and so these scenes should have some significance importance but overall feels juvenile and executed with poor time management. Marlon obviously doesn’t have two Nickels to rub together to fund this film, using old compact, pocket-sized digital cameras to record the varying levels of video and audio quality, but the one thing us gore hunds can appreciate is the gore. We can certainly tell a fake leg, arm, and even penis when one comes on screen and “Snuff Tape Massacre” is not exempt from using more-so than obvious inner details with no arterial or vascular details whenever a leg or arm is chopped (or even sawed) off with a dull hatchet, but what can be admired is the seamless look of the leg and the arm to the actresses. We’re not talking about a mannequin’s appendages or a plastique digits here when the dragged-on interview has finally wrapped, and the real raw material begins with decent prosthetics and blood pumping mechanisms that squirt blood longer and for the duration. The most effective effect is dick-hole jab stuck on repeat until the snuffer hits what we all presume is the back off the prosthetic piece but in the back of our mind, we’re really thinking bone. It’s a crotch-grabbing, leg-crossing, dick mangling moment no guy will ever forget.
SRS Cinema is well-known for bringing schlocky shockers to the table under the guise of really fantastic and detailed artwork for the banner’s DVD covers. “Snuff Tape Massacre” is no exception here as Juval Marlon’s film is juicy enough to make the company’s Nightmare Fuel line with an unrated and extreme release presented in widescreen 1.85:1 (16:9) aspect ratio in a lower resolution of 720 pixels (due to the compact digital cameras). Though unable to tell what cameras are being utilized, there are two different cameras are being used based on the vast difference in picture compressions with one looking stronger and more detailed than the other. The onboard microphone for the English language dual channel stereo mix is a lossy MPEG audio format that really takes a hit with the inconsistent background noise and electronic interference with a straight hum throughout when Marlon’s industrial sampler score is not substituted for sole audio dominance. Like many other SRS titles, the only special features included are SRS trailers for their catalogue unless you count the aforesaid artwork design of an illustrated half-naked bathtub victim with eyes of kitchen knife-stricken terror as part of the special features package – see below. “Snuff Take Massacre” is considerably low for a repeat viewing, but there are enough scenes that will undoubtedly make you recoil and squirm and that, my gory compadres, is worth the sole price of admission.