Vinegar Syndrome has released the 1979 Australian dramatic thriller Snapshot on a Blu-ray/DVD combo pack. Does it deserve a spot in your collection? Read on to find out!
Snapshot aka The Day After Halloween (also known as One More Minute) is a late 70’s Ozploitation film. It’s directed by Simon Wincer. He is a pretty prolific director doing quite a few TV series in the 70’s and 80’s. I was surprised to find how many recognizable productions he has been involved in like Lonesome Dove, Quigley Down Under, Free Willy, The Phantom and quite a few Young Indiana Jones Adventures.
Don’t let the names fool you. This film has nothing to do with Halloween. It never mentions the holiday, it is not set on November 1st nor is it even really a horror film. It’s certainly not a slasher film and nothing supernatural happens in the movie. Apparently the film was released in the U.S. simply to cash in on the box office success of John Carpenter’s wildly popular film. The original name of Snapshot is much better fitted to the type of movie it is.
The film at first seems to be an Austrailian version of an Italian Giallo. It feels like the story parts in between the slasher elements but there never is any slasher parts. It’s more of a psychological drama about a woman trying to go off on her own and be independent and how inexperience can be horrifying. The style of the film also has elements of Hitchcockian suspense in my opinion. One part seems to even mimic the music of Psycho.
I didn’t immediately recognize any of the actors/actresses in the film but one male photographer specifically seemed familiar and when I looked it up on IMDB I found out it was Hugh Keays-Byrne aka Immortan Joe from Fury Road. It’s kinda neat to see him not acting like a completely psychopathic super villain in this.
The story is fairly straightforward. It’s about a young lady named Angela (Sigrid Thornton) who is a hairdresser that dreams about getting away from her overbearing mother. She has an ex boyfriend who keeps stalking her in an ice cream truck. One day a well known model comes in to the salon and convinces Angela to become a model and live the extravagant lifestyle. Angela is happy at first but more and more of her life falls apart as she realizes how helpless she is in the industry and in life.
The film starts with a horrific scene and ends with a bit more horror but for the most part there is very little, especially in comparison to other films listed under that genre during the same time period. It’s mostly a psychological coming of age drama with thrilling aspects. The music seems like an odd blend of made for TV movies, Bernard Herrmann and cheesy porn. Really the whole production just seems like an odd mixing of styles and genres and while not very original or mesmerizing it is still worth checking out.
There were a couple twists and turns that I didn’t necessarily like and the movie is a bit uneven at times to be considered completely entertaining but I never got bored. The film seems professionally done and while it has a modest budget it never seems hindered by it. If you get this expecting lots of breasts and blood I think you are going to be disappointed as it’s pretty tame. If you want a type of exploitation that focuses more on exploring the lead character a bit more and the independent photography industry of the 70’s then this may be the flick for you.
Vinegar Syndrome prove once again that they are at the top of their game by including 2 cuts of the film. One is a newly scanned and restored from the original 35mm negative. This is the International Cut and is the only version available from the negative since the cuts were made directly to it. The Australian Cut is available here in it’s rough video sourced quality. The 2k restoration of the International Cut looks fantastic and just as you would expect from Vin Syn. The aspect ratio is 2.35:1 and there are some nice uses of the wide format as well as some well done camera movements. The sets, costumes and lighting all look like you’d expect from this era of film making.
The sound is Mono 1.0 DTS-HD Master Audio. The dialogue and score come through crisp and clean. Obviously there are limitations from the age of the film and there are no action set pieces but comparatively speaking it was perfect for this kind of film. English SDH are included.
Audio Commentary from director Simon Wincer, producer Tony Ginnane, lead actress Sigrid Thornton, and cinematographer Vincent Morton.
Interview with producer Tony Ginnane. 28 minutes about the creation of the material
Not Quite Hollywood. 36 minutes of selected interviews from the documentary – these specifically focused on the Snapshot film in standard definition.
Behind the Scenes Stills, and TV Spots
Snapshot Final Thoughts:
Instead of trying to make a quick buck off of Halloween they should have advertised the strengths of their own film. Marketing Snapshot as a horror movie was a mistake. For a debut feature film I thought Simon Wincer did a good job. There are elements pulled from all across film history to try to make a new, interesting attempt at psychological drama. It doesn’t work on all levels but there are some really interesting decisions made here. I certainly think it’s worth checking out as long as you aren’t hoping for a barrage of horror, nudity and gore. Considering Vinegar Syndrome has a host of special features, including 2 cuts of the film its hard to go wrong.
Note: This Blu-ray was sent to us for review. This has not affected our judgement or editorial process in any way. Please contact us if you have any questions regarding this process.