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While making out in a car with a guy she picked up in a nightclub, blonde babe Lauren (Federica Garuti), stepdaughter of a French politician, is abducted by a European porn ring; when Lauren's stepfather refuses to call the police, fearing that the scandal might damage his career, his sexy wife Michelle (Carla Solaro) decides to take matters into her own hands, entering the dangerous world of extreme S&M and snuff movies to try and save her daughter.
I know that he was far from a great director, but I find it hard not to admire legendary Euro-hack Bruno Mattei for his sheer dedication to shamelessly sleazy cinema: long after most Italian rip-off merchants had packed away their Panaflex for good, Mattei kept the flame alive, continuing to churn out cheap, derivative, shot-on-video trash until his death in 2007.
Snuff Trap (2003) is his blatant imitation of director Joel Schumacher's 8MM. For the most part, Mattei is content to stick closely to his source material, even going so far as to copy entire scenes and snippets of dialogue verbatim; he does, however, add one or two touches of his own that help him to plumb the depths of depravity further than anything envisioned by 8MM's scriptwriter Andrew Kevin Walker.
By making his protagonist female (and very sexy), Mattei is able to introduce a new level of deviancy to proceedings, Michelle having to participate in sex acts to further her investigation (something that never happened to Cage's character, thank God!): she administers a blowjob to an underground filth-merchant, takes a beating to prove her interest in S&M, and humps a rich playboy (who looks like TV antiques dealer David Dickinson and whose pervy driver resembles Rolf Harris)although that's just for the hell of it.
Given its risqué subject matter, Snuff Trap naturally features plenty of sexual brutality, but the majority of the violence is far too clumsily handled to be considered genuinely disturbing; that said, Mattei does manage to sneak in one or two surprisingly strong blink-and-you'll-miss-'em peripheral images (as Michelle peruses a selection of porno mags and when she enters the ante-chamber of sadistic movie-maker Dr. Hades) which succeed in making the film feel authentically grubby at times.
In a finale that looks set to be suitably downbeat, Michelle and Lauren are tied to crosses to be slaughtered in front of the camera, but Mattei successfully reminds his viewers of what a craptastic director he really is by having the police burst in through the windows, rescuing the women in the nick of timeprecisely the kind of stupidity that Mattei fans find so enjoyable and strangely endearing.
6.5 out of 10, rounded up to 7 for Anita Auer's unforgettable turn as creepy Dr. Hades.
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