Headpress Books Established 1991

Killing For Culture

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Killing for Culture is a unique definitive investigation into images of death — both real and staged — which have been captured on film either for cinematic or more sinister purposes: the complete history of the so-called “snuff movie” aesthetic.Included is a radical critique of feature films which have incorporated a snuff element; a comprehensive history of Mondo movies and shockumentaries; analysis of the validity or otherwise of supposedly real-life snuff footage and its links with certain individuals and organisations; a summary of other real deaths captured on film such as live-TV suicides executions news-reel footage etc; and also a comprehensive filmography.

The whole book is profusely illustrated with rare and extraordinary photographs from both cinema documentary and real life.

  • Disgraced State Treasurer R. Budd Dwyer holds a press conference and blows his brains out live on television. A low-budget movie does great box-office when released as SNUFF implying in its ad campaign that a real murder has occurred before the camera. During a routine check a police officer is set upon and murdered by three men oblivious to the fact they are being recorded on videoptape.
  • Exploitative documentaries such as Excuse Me Do You Like Sex? and Language of Love are succeeded by the likes of Faces of Death and The Shocks which show people killing and being killed.
  • A retired engineer ingests a lethal cocktail of drugs faces a camcorder and explains that he is now about to die. Replaying concert footage the Rolling Stones watch in disbelief as Hell’s Angels stab to death a member of the audience.
  • Confiscation of a film of Asian origin — depicting the mutilation and eventual decapitation of a young woman — leads to an international investigation and arrest…

Killing for Culture is a necessary book which examines and questions the primal human fascination with images of violence dismemberment and death and the way our society is coping with a growing profusion of these disturbing yet compelling images from all quarters.

David Kerekes

DAVID KEREKES is co-founder of the publishing house Headpress. He has given talks and written extensively on film and media, including the books Killing for Culture (1994; expanded and revised in 2015), See No Evil and Sex Murder Art. His novella Mezzogiorno is rooted in the impoverished Italian South, touching on themes of family, community, place, and deep-rooted occult and folkloric beliefs. He has contributed to zines and books, most recently the foreword to Snuff: Real Death and Screen Media (Bloomsbury Academic, 2016).

David Slater

DAVID SLATER co-founded Headpress. He has worked as a technician in the electronics and engineering industries, co-authored Killing for Culture (1994 & 2016) and See No Evil: Banned Films and Video Controversy (2000) and has written several articles. His interests include movies, books, open country and forteana.

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