Mark. L Rosen's Account (lost snuff film; existence unconfirmed; 1970s)
Mark L. Rosen being interviewed in Snuff: A Documentary About Killing on Camera
Status: Existence Unconfirmed
Mark L. Rosen (1947-2012) was an American film producer and representative best known for his contributions to the horror genre in the 1970s and 1980s through his acting producer and executive producer role in films like Blacula (1972), The Texas Chainsaw Massacre (1974), Attack of the Killer Tomatoes! (1978), Alligator (1980), and Hell Night (1981), many of which are praised as his best efforts made during his 40-year career and with his established connections around the world.
In 2008, Rosen was brought on as an interviewee for Killing Joke Films’ Snuff: A Documentary About Killing on Camera, a 76 minute long documentary that explores the urban myth and history about snuff films; a film in which someone is murdered on camera by the perpetrators involved and the end product is sold for financial gain. The documentary explores the topic across five chapters and a bonus epilogue and collects interviews from film historians, directors, and law enforcement officials. Of the varying chapters, two of them are told by Rosen himself; the first discusses a documented account of an alleged child snuff ring in Russia being intercepted by British Intelligence MI5, and the second taking place in the film’s epilogue where he shares a personal story about his stance on the subject matter.
Before the film’s epilogue starts, a disclaimer plays that states the following is true and Rosen has only ever told a select few individuals about it in the past. In it, Rosen relays an account from his early years in the industry where he would often be sent out to scout or screen various adult entertainment films for approval and potential distribution on behalf of other representatives in the industry. According to Rosen, a gentleman from the Philippines contacted him about a film that he wanted him and his representatives to take a look at, expressing great interest in getting it distributed and ensured it was “unique”, “hard to acquire”, and “unlike anything he had ever seen”.
Rosen agreed to meet the gentleman at Century Plaza in Chicago where he and his personnel were staying to discuss and screen the film in their hotel room. He stated in the interview that he found it quite peculiar how standoffish he and his bodyguards were about appearing to want nothing to do with the film until they were in their room and that the way they vaguely talked about it made him very uncomfortable. What follows [after going to the hotel room] is Rosen describing a violent, hardcore S/M adult entertainment film that involved anal sex, leather, and erotic asphyxiation with two actors, adding that it was rougher than other BDSM type films that he had seen prior. As the video goes on, the actress with a plastic bag over her head appears to struggle and tries to get the bag off, but the male actor won’t let her. She begins to breathe heavily, as it seems she’s about to pass out. At this point in the interview, Rosen begins to appear distressed by what he’s describing; stating that as the woman struggled, the male actor forcefully lifts her head up and slashes her throat open with a large hunting knife - with the camera zoomed in on the gaping wound.
In a complete state of shock, Rosen leaves the hotel and tells his representative about what he saw and that it was “too real” to be special effects. He closes his story by stating that he only had one other encounter with the gentleman, which was to let him and his other representatives across the country that his film wasn’t for them and they don’t have an interest in picking it up. He further adds that he has no idea where the gentleman went or if anyone expressed interest in buying his product. The final moments of the documentary consists of Rosen being asked by the director, Paul von Stoetzel, what about his story makes it stand out [in terms of believability] compared to others he’s heard about over the years, to which Rosen becomes somewhat defensive, stating that someone died making the film and that special effects like that didn’t exist at the time. He stands firm in his belief that people, especially within the industry, dismiss the idea of snuff films existing because they don’t want to believe there’s a possibility of something like that being real.
Following the release of the documentary, there was much speculation about whether or not Rosen’s story was authentic and it wasn’t created simply for dramatic purposes on behalf of the filmmakers. This idea is further suggested by the documentary’s trailer which used misdirection to suggest that a mysterious film they received and reported to the police was the one from Rosen’s story. If his account is to be believed, it’s unknown if the film in question was ever picked up by a distributor or a private collector. However, with there being no physical evidence of a business exchange taking place to add credibility to his case either, it further divides the gap on whether or not the film exists.