Blu-Ray Review – Snapshot

 

Snapshot comes out of the Ozploitation boom of the ’70s, of which the Mad Max franchise was of course the most notable export. Snapshot, however, is an odd melodrama filtered through the floating stalker’s POV camera of Halloween. It was directed by Simon Wincer who, like many of the directors of the Ozploitation boom and the Aussie film scene in general of the ’70s, would move to the US eventually. He ended up directing Harley Davidson and the Marlboro Man, The Phantom and Free Willy.

Sigrid Thornton plays a young hairdresser who is soon encouraged to do some work as a model, and of course it’s all a bit sleazy. She gets increasingly paranoid that somebody is watching her—could it be her paedophile ex-boyfriend who drives a Mr. Whippy van? It’s a strange mixture of a coming of age drama with De Palma/Hitchcock voyeurism and a cautionary tale of exploitation of young women in the advertising industry, and includes both creepy predatory men and creepy predatory women!

Snapshot has plenty of atmosphere due to its paranoid feel, quirky characters and an excellent score by Brian May (not the guy from Queen) and photography by Vincent Monton, who also shot the highly regarded Road Games. The film is a real oddity that originally was a flop in its native Australia, but had a bit of B-movie success when it came out in the US, where it was retitled The Day After Halloween  to cash in on the recent massive success of John Carpenter’s Halloween. It ended up having a relatively decent run overseas for an imported Aussie film, and became a VHS staple—probably because people thought it was related to Halloween somehow, even though the film is set in the winter.

Vinegar Syndrome, as always, has given the film a great restoration, by making a 2K transfer from the original 35mm negative. The disc includes the original Australian cut, but in SD because the negative of that cut was missing. The special features include a commentary with cast and crew, and then an interview with the producer Tony Ginnane. The other main feature is around 40 minutes of interviews with cast and crew that were shot for the excellent Not Quite Hollywood doc, which is all about Ozploitation. The release is rounded off with TV spots, a stills gallery and the film on DVD.

★★★½

Ian Schultz

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