A Snuff Film is a film or video featuring the death of a person or persons for the purposes of entertainment, shock, or as a warning to others.
In the past, snuff films were simply Urban Legend, and typically featured the simulated rape and usually murder of a female victim. These types of films were distributed as entertainment and were largely ignored. However, in recent years, genuine murder films have been released through various channels (namely the Internet) by a number of various individuals or groups.
A genre of exploitation film which often showcases actual deaths that happened to be recorded, filmed, or photographed. A few of the most "extreme" entries in this genre include Traces of Death, Banned! In America, and Facing Reality.
A type of extreme and often illegal pornography in which provocatively dressed performers slowly crush live animals, usually invertebrates, though videos depicting the deaths of vertebrates (such as kittens or mice) do exist. This type of film is often cited as being the closest to the classic definition of snuff films: death being intentionally filmed in an erotic manner for the purpose of financial gain.
Islamic terrorist groups such as Al-Qaeda and the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant have released several videos in the past years featuring the brutal beheadings of those they consider enemies of Islam. These videos often begin with the victim kneeling in front of a group of armed terrorists while the leader reads a statement condemning the victim's country. The victim is then beheaded with a knife or similar blade, with no regard for "quickness". Such victims include:
Mexican drug cartels have released several videos very similar to those of Islamic terrorists. In the past, cartel videos simply featured the aftermath of the beheading and/or dismemberment of their victims; typically Mexican Federales, rival drug lords, or the families of failed assassins.
In 2008, two out of three Ukrainian teenagers, known as the Dnepropetrovsk maniacs, were charged with the violent murder of Sergei Yatsenko. In the cell phone-recorded video, Igor Suprunyuck brutally kills Yatsenko with a hammer, while another holds the cellphone and assists the murder with a screwdriver. Throughout the video, the two joke about the man's seemingly impossible will to live. Other videos were found involving the murders of at least 10 other people. In actuality, the group had killed 21 people. The three young men, two of whom were sentenced to life in prison, and the third nine years, are:
- Viktor Sayenko (Sentenced to life)
- Igor Suprunyuck (Sentenced to life)
- Alexander Hanzha (Sentenced to 9 years)
In 2012, a snuff film was posted online, depicting the murder of a Chinese international student named Lin Jun, who was brutally stabbed to death and dismembered post-mortem; acts of necrophilia and cannibalism were also depicted. The body parts were later mailed to political parties and elementary schools. An international manhunt was quickly launched for the suspect, Luka Magnotta, who was eventually apprehended in Berlin, Germany, after reading the news about himself. He faced several charges, including first-degree murder, and his trial is expected to start in September 2014.
In recent years, notorious murderers have used social media to distribute self-made snuff films to a vastly wider audience, in order to maximize public shock. These killers include Vester Lee Flanagan II (who murdered two journalists on during a live TV interview in addition to filming footage of a first-person perspective of the killings) and Steve Stephens (who murdered a random pedestrian).
On Criminal Minds
- Season One
- "Extreme Aggressor" - Tim Vogel would record his victims being raped and most likely killed by him with a camera, with the live video feed being sent to Richard Slessman's computer.
- "Natural Born Killer" - After torturing his victims, Vincent Perotta would sometimes leave them to be eaten alive by the rats and other vermin infesting his home. He would record this using a camera mounted on a tripod.
- Season Two
- "The Big Game" and "Revelations" - Tobias Hankel recorded most of his murders using the victims' own hacked webcams. Afterward, he would post the videos on the internet, as a message to other "sinners". However, he did not get the desired effect, as most of the viewers simply assumed these films were fake.
- "Legacy" - Charles Holcombe would show footage (played on a projector) of himself vivisecting past victims to taunt future ones.
- Season Three
- Season Four
- Season Five
- "Hopeless" - Turner's Group videotaped themselves violently beating two couples to death with crowbars. Presumably for his own amusement, one of the trio used the footage to create a crude music video (possibly more than one, due to shouting, "You like that, sir? I got more" when Hotch finds the video).
- "Risky Business" - Will Summers would coerce teenagers into playing the choking game, and convince them to record themselves doing so. If the player died of autoerotic asphyxiation, Will would keep the video depicting their death as a trophy.
- "The Fight" - John Vincent Bell would send a tape of himself shooting a vagrant in the head to the wives of the men he abducted, as a message telling them not to go to the authorities.
- "The Internet Is Forever" - Using miniature cameras he would place throughout his victim's home during a number of break-ins, Robert Johnson would send live footage of himself strangling the victim to death directly to the internet, for all his "fans" to watch.
- Season Six
- "25 to Life" - In 1985, James Stanworth had his accomplices, Thomas Wittman and Mary Rutka, videotape him as they broke into the Sanderson home, where James stabbed Carrie and Abby Sanderson to death. Afterward, Mary would keep the tape hidden, using it to blackmail James into supporting her when he became a successful businessman later in life.
- Season Seven
- "Proof" - Ben Bradstone would always record the murders of his victims, and he kept the tapes as trophies until he could finally show them to his brother Matt to intimidate him.
- "Hit" and "Run" - Izzy Rogers recorded the entire scene of her robbery and resultant hostage situation at a bank, including the murders of several hostages by her and her accomplice Chris Stratton. She later kept the recording so she could view it repeatedly.
- Season Eight
- Season Nine
- Season Ten
- Season Twelve
- Season Thirteen
- "Blue Angel" - Gabriel Merza would record his victims deaths, as well as them being tortured and posed in degrading positions beforehand, and then hand delivered the recordings to their homes to be seen by the other residents to psychologically torture them.
- "Neon Terror" - Jeffrey Whitfield recorded one of his murders and sent the video to be shown on the news. He also attempted to live stream another murder, but was stopped.