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View Full Version : Snuff movies: are they out there?



parallaxicality
2007-Jun-21, 02:46 PM
In certain people (call them the Bad Astronomers of movie fandom), even mentioning the idea that snuff movies might be real will activate an automatic *I'm with woo* response. I'm all for skepticism; we do live in the information age after all. If child porn, which let's face it, isn't much better, can be found on any perv's hard drive these days, that, despite all the hoaxes, pseudo-realist marketing drivel, and current torture-porn vogue, no snuff movie has ever been found seems extraordinary. If they do exist, they're protected by a conspiracy greater than the aliens who abduct middle-aged housewives.

One of the problems in discussing snuff is definitions. So, when I say a snuff movie I am referring to a murder, committed specifically for the purposes of filming it for sale and profit.

There are a number of givens.

First, it would be relatively easy to make one

Second, with the number of people who go missing without a trace every year, a little careful planning could probably ensure a good chance of never being caught.

Third, let's not kid ourselves- there's a market for them. Probably a big one.

So why haven't they been found? The weak link in the chain appears to be distribution- even being in possession of a snuff film could be grounds for prosecution as an accessory. However, the internet, which has been so kind to paedophiles, could provide a secure means for people to distribute a snuff movie without leaving any physical traces, such as DVDs.

Given these factors, it seems odd to me that they haven't been found yet. So are they out there or not?

Noclevername
2007-Jun-21, 03:00 PM
If "bum fights" are real, I have no doubt someone has made and distributed real snuff films.

captain swoop
2007-Jun-21, 03:01 PM
What has this got to do with Space or astronomy?

Jason Thompson
2007-Jun-21, 03:27 PM
I thought that the rules for this section restricted it to conspiracies related to space and astronomy now, becuase it was getting buried under a load of 9/11 rubbish? How does this relate?

parallaxicality
2007-Jun-21, 04:00 PM
Oh, I wasn't aware of recent changes. Sorry. Just wanted some skeptical input on the subject.

Tucson_Tim
2007-Jun-21, 04:40 PM
If "bum fights" are real, I have no doubt someone has made and distributed real snuff films.

I had to look that one up in wiki. Wow. :hand:

Gillianren
2007-Jun-21, 07:26 PM
It is possible that they exist. However, I find it improbable that they're a widespread phenomenon, simply because they haven't been discovered. They've made some interesting crime drama TV, but without documentation, I don't buy it.

Noclevername
2007-Jun-21, 08:20 PM
They probably aren't widespread, because if someone is stupid enough to announce "Hey, this is a real snuff film!", they'd immediately be pounced on by the FBI (state lines, and all).

Tinaa
2007-Jun-21, 09:30 PM
Not a space/astronomy conspiracy. Moved to OTB.

Doodler
2007-Jun-21, 09:52 PM
In certain people (call them the Bad Astronomers of movie fandom), even mentioning the idea that snuff movies might be real will activate an automatic *I'm with woo* response. I'm all for skepticism; we do live in the information age after all. If child porn, which let's face it, isn't much better, can be found on any perv's hard drive these days, that, despite all the hoaxes, pseudo-realist marketing drivel, and current torture-porn vogue, no snuff movie has ever been found seems extraordinary. If they do exist, they're protected by a conspiracy greater than the aliens who abduct middle-aged housewives.

One of the problems in discussing snuff is definitions. So, when I say a snuff movie I am referring to a murder, committed specifically for the purposes of filming it for sale and profit.

There are a number of givens.

First, it would be relatively easy to make one

Second, with the number of people who go missing without a trace every year, a little careful planning could probably ensure a good chance of never being caught.

Third, let's not kid ourselves- there's a market for them. Probably a big one.

So why haven't they been found? The weak link in the chain appears to be distribution- even being in possession of a snuff film could be grounds for prosecution as an accessory. However, the internet, which has been so kind to paedophiles, could provide a secure means for people to distribute a snuff movie without leaving any physical traces, such as DVDs.

Given these factors, it seems odd to me that they haven't been found yet. So are they out there or not?

Probably no more than a handful of them actually exist. Hundreds at the most. Consider the logistical issues of the act. Thankfully, I haven't eaten in a while, so allow me to delve a bit.

You can only kill someone once. You can abuse someone for decades. The hardest part of any kind of filming is securing "stars". A child abuse ring can center on a small group of isolated kids for I don't even want to think about how many hours of footage, where you've really got a limited timeline to get the most out of someone being beaten to death. Keeping a snuff operation steadily fueled with new material is going to be rather perversely "manpower intensive" and very hard to keep under the radar in any given area. Its one thing to have a few kids that become suddenly sullen and withdrawn, when someone goes permanently missing, a lot more red flags go up.

Example: A Crossing Guard was recently charged with, I kid you not, 1000 cases of child abuse. Small group of kids, day in and day out for years. Your average serial killer gets to four or five counts before the government throws enough manpower at him that capture is inevitable. The number of murderers who go on for years without getting caught only do so mostly because they stop committing the crime in question and go to ground.

I'm absolutely certain someone somewhere has footage of someone being killed as a result of sexual torture. Nothing I've seen in human behavior lets me think that there are lines no one will cross, but with the above consideration, the occurrance of such is probably extremely rare.

Paracelsus
2007-Jun-21, 10:08 PM
My best guess as to why 'snuff' films have not been found: the fake gore has become so realistic and 'better' (from a potential snuff-film fan's POV) than real violence. Why risk being charged as an accessory to murder when one can watch stabbings, shootings, stranglings, disembowellings, beheadings, dismemberings, and extended torture scenes without any potential trouble from the cops? :sick:

I have a suspicion that someone who would eschew safe fake violence for risky snuff films would probably want to experience the 'thrill' first hand, so to speak.

Might as well hang for a sheep as for a goat, as they say!

Lianachan
2007-Jun-21, 11:09 PM
Argh! There's a really good film about a woman who accidently sees one of these films being made, and is trapped in a warehouse with the fillm-makers (who, inevitably, come looking for the witness). I can't for the life of me remember what it's called. I think it might be Russian, or at least about a Russian production of such a film. Gillianren's comment about crime drama TV reminded me of it.

EDITED AFTERTOUGHT - Tricky to identify, too. Probably can't search the web for "Russian snuff" without ending up with MI5 kicking my door in at 3 in the morning.

01101001
2007-Jun-21, 11:59 PM
Probably can't search the web for "Russian snuff" without ending up with MI5 kicking my door in at 3 in the morning.

Swedish snuff (http://www.swedsnus.com/) (demonstrating there is more than one meaning for the word "snuff" -- should your case go to trial)

AGN Fuel
2007-Jun-22, 02:17 AM
Argh! There's a really good film about a woman who accidently sees one of these films being made, and is trapped in a warehouse with the fillm-makers (who, inevitably, come looking for the witness). I can't for the life of me remember what it's called. I think it might be Russian, or at least about a Russian production of such a film. Gillianren's comment about crime drama TV reminded me of it.

This sounds like it might be the movie, Mute Witness (http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0110604/)

Josh
2007-Jun-22, 02:26 AM
Well, there's the film of Sadaam being hanged ... and there was the guy who was beheaded in iraq prior to that. The first was just "news" sure. The second, whilst not for sale, was definitely for profit.

Lurker
2007-Jun-22, 02:35 AM
The movie industry suppresses them because most of them are films of people in movie theaters dying from very bad hollywood efforts!!!

Don't let anyone know that I let the cat out of the bag!! :shifty:

Daffy
2007-Jun-22, 02:41 AM
I have friends in law enforcement who tell me this is little more than an urban myth.

And the truth is, it is very hard for me to imagine that any criminal---however greedy---would be stupid enough to actually distribute evidence of such a heinous crime.

Noclevername
2007-Jun-22, 02:53 AM
I have friends in law enforcement who tell me this is little more than an urban myth.

And the truth is, it is very hard for me to imagine that any criminal---however greedy---would be stupid enough to actually distribute evidence of such a heinous crime.


I don't doubt there are criminals that stupid or more so, but I think they would usually tend to self-select for failure because the ones who'd do so would be too stupid to successfully make and distribute a film.

Gillianren
2007-Jun-22, 07:30 AM
I'm absolutely certain someone somewhere has footage of someone being killed as a result of sexual torture. Nothing I've seen in human behavior lets me think that there are lines no one will cross, but with the above consideration, the occurrance of such is probably extremely rare.

Well, yes--there's at least one serial killer who had his own tapes used against him in court.

Tog
2007-Jun-22, 09:02 AM
Well, yes--there's at least one serial killer who had his own tapes used against him in court.

Charles Ng? He was one of a small team that kidnapped, tortured and killed a few women in the San Fransisco area in the mid to late 80s. He had a small room set up with a second observation room adjacent to it. I know they found films of his acts, but I don't know if any of those actually showed the killings.

I don't think a serial killer would part with any picture or film/video of their acts. They tend to keep things for themselves. There are probably many killers that have recorded their acts, but the film is never made public by the investigators. If I had any say it, it certainly would never even be mentioned to the press or anyone outside the prosecution, unless it had to be used for the trial. The more people that know the greater the odds that someone will steal it and distribute it.

I think that if you're talking about the classic definition of a "snuf film", where a person is killed on camera with the intention of selling the film on an open market, then the odds of it being known should be really high. Even if the film makers are very smart and careful, someone somewhere will talk.

Now, if the film maker makes one copy of one film for one customer, then I think there could very well be many out there. People disappear all the time. Even if the body is found, if it was dumped there after being killed in another location, there is no way to know that the killer didn't film the act. In a case like this, I think it would be a twisted version of a commissioned painting. Since only the film crew and the customer know about it, and it is their best interest to not talk about it, I think it could be kept very quiet.

The only question then (assuming the above is correct), is what happens to these films when the customer dies? Is there a provision in the will to burn the cedar box in the wall safe, unopened? And if one is found, would it actually be made public? At best it might start a cold case investigation, and if it leads somewhere, then it might be newsworthy. I think the normal case would be that if found, the family just figures that grandpa was into some really odd porn and throw it out, thinking it was fake. Besides, would a real killing on film look how the average person would expect? As was mentioned above, we have so much better effects now, a real killing would probably just look like a bad B movie.

Delvo
2007-Jun-22, 01:10 PM
This would require two completely unrelated and potentially even impossibly conflicting motivations. Those who are motivated to kill wouldn't be motivated to record & distribute videos, and those who are motivated to make videos wouldn't be motivated to kill.

SeanF
2007-Jun-22, 03:24 PM
The only question then (assuming the above is correct), is what happens to these films when the customer dies? Is there a provision in the will to burn the cedar box in the wall safe, unopened? And if one is found, would it actually be made public? At best it might start a cold case investigation, and if it leads somewhere, then it might be newsworthy. I think the normal case would be that if found, the family just figures that grandpa was into some really odd porn and throw it out, thinking it was fake. Besides, would a real killing on film look how the average person would expect? As was mentioned above, we have so much better effects now, a real killing would probably just look like a bad B movie.
8MM (http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0134273/). I haven't seen it, so I don't know all the details, but you've described the basic plot.

Tog
2007-Jun-22, 03:34 PM
Yes. A movie was found and Nick Cage was hired to find out if it was real or not. That falls into the third category I had up there. As I recall, the film was found by the wife or widow of the person that owned it. One copy for one person to be kept away from everyone else.

Daffy
2007-Jun-22, 03:51 PM
I don't doubt there are criminals that stupid or more so, but I think they would usually tend to self-select for failure because the ones who'd do so would be too stupid to successfully make and distribute a film.

I suppose with video cameras and editing so cheap now it's possible, but, yeah, I have to agree someone stupid enough to distribute something that could get them jailed for life and (possibly) executed, would be too stupid to mass market anything at all.

from Snopes: http://www.snopes.com/horrors/madmen/snuff.asp (LANGUAGE WARNING!)

Doodler
2007-Jun-22, 05:34 PM
I suppose with video cameras and editing so cheap now it's possible, but, yeah, I have to agree someone stupid enough to distribute something that could get them jailed for life and (possibly) executed, would be too stupid to mass market anything at all.

from Snopes: http://www.snopes.com/horrors/madmen/snuff.asp (LANGUAGE WARNING!)

Interesting reading.

Delvo
2007-Jun-22, 06:45 PM
Snopes's preachiness takes away more of its credibility every time I read anything there.

zenbudda
2007-Jun-22, 07:33 PM
it's very easy to find the 2nd and 3rd world country distributions of killings. only because there is no arm of the law to prevent these things from being distributed/investigated. i hope that i never come across a true snuff film, but the fact that you can download uncesnored beheading videos leaves me to conclude that this event happens in 1st world countries.

Gillianren
2007-Jun-22, 07:38 PM
Charles Ng? He was one of a small team that kidnapped, tortured and killed a few women in the San Fransisco area in the mid to late 80s. He had a small room set up with a second observation room adjacent to it. I know they found films of his acts, but I don't know if any of those actually showed the killings.

And unfortunately, I cannot now remember the name of the person I'm thinking of, or even his location. WHoever he was, he's not one of the ones I've read about. (I say "he," incidentally, because very few serial killers are women, and I'd remember more about the case if it had been one, simply because it would have been so unusual.)

Doodler
2007-Jun-22, 07:41 PM
And unfortunately, I cannot now remember the name of the person I'm thinking of, or even his location. WHoever he was, he's not one of the ones I've read about. (I say "he," incidentally, because very few serial killers are women, and I'd remember more about the case if it had been one, simply because it would have been so unusual.)

Only been one confirmed female serial killer to my knowledge. Eileen Wournos.

SeanF
2007-Jun-22, 07:49 PM
Only been one confirmed female serial killer to my knowledge. Eileen Wournos.
Wikipedia's list of American serial killers (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_serial_killers_by_country#USA) includes a handful of women.

Tog
2007-Jun-22, 08:14 PM
Only been one confirmed female serial killer to my knowledge. Eileen Wournos.

There was a woman associated with Ng, but I don't think she was a participant in the killings.

From the book "Malicious Intent: A Writer's Guide to How Murders, Robbers, Rapists, and Other Criminals Think" by Sean Mactire Writer's Digest books, 1995. Page 74 (with some bits omitted)

Eighty-seven percent of American serial killers are loners, as in the cases of Ted Bundy and Son of Sam. Ten percent hunt in pairs or packs, earning them the label "social killers". Three percent are unknown and may vary in their pattern, killing sometimes as a loner and other times with an other person or as a member of a group.

Of the social killers, 59 percent are composed of men acting in groups ranging from two-man pairs to gangs of a dozen or more. (snip)

Twenty three percent are male/female couples, and and 18 percent are mixed groupings of various sizes. The couples include Douglas Clark and Carol Bundy, who killed several prostitutes, and Alton Coleman and Debra Brown, who murdered, raped and robbed, over a five-state area in 1984.

Two percent of the loners are female. Aileen Wuornos, who killed seven or more men in Florida, is not as rare as people think. It's just that these female predators are harder to apprehend than their male counterparts because of a sexual bias that blinds most law enforcement professionals to the idea that woman are capable of crimes like serial killing.

I can't help but notice he doesn't name any of the others though.

Tog
2007-Jun-22, 08:18 PM
i hope that i never come across a true snuff film, but the fact that you can download uncesnored beheading videos leaves me to conclude that this event happens in 1st world countries. By one definition the Zapruder film could be the most famous one of all.

Noclevername
2007-Jun-23, 02:36 AM
Wikipedia's list of American serial killers (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_serial_killers_by_country#USA) includes a handful of women.

I seem to remember vaguely a report that most female murderers killed people they knew, and mainly used either poison or slitting the throat or otherwise attacking in the victim's sleep.

Gillianren
2007-Jun-23, 09:27 PM
Mmm. There is a fair percentage of "angels of mercy" when you get into female serial killers--nurses who kill patients they think will just suffer if they stay alive. (Often, this is true, but it isn't always, and it certainly isn't the nurse's decision if they live or die!) Does that count as "killing people they know"?

Actually, Eileen Wuornos wasn't even the first female serial killer I knew of; Nurse Jane Toppan was. She killed no-one-knows-how-many people with poison a hundred years or so before Eileen Wuornos killed anyone.

The Backroad Astronomer
2007-Jun-23, 10:41 PM
Heres a link to one one of Canadas serial killing husband and wife teams whose videotapes were used against him.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Paul_Bernardo

Moose
2007-Jun-25, 02:55 PM
Heres a link to one one of Canadas serial killing husband and wife teams whose videotapes were used against him.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Paul_Bernardo

Yeah, that's the closest thing to a snuff film that has ever been documented to have existed.

Thing is, for it to be a snuff film, the film itself has to have been the motive for the murder. In Bernardo's case, the film was not the point of the crime. Not even the murder was (as I understood the case). It was all about the sexual assault (gone wrong, at least the first one).

The Backroad Astronomer
2007-Jun-25, 11:03 PM
Yeah, that's the closest thing to a snuff film that has ever been documented to have existed.

Thing is, for it to be a snuff film, the film itself has to have been the motive for the murder. In Bernardo's case, the film was not the point of the crime. Not even the murder was (as I understood the case). It was all about the sexual assault (gone wrong, at least the first one).
It was the only case I could think of were they video taped the victims.