Debate: Should Netflix Rent and Stream Snuff Films?

By Glenn and Jake 

Netflix is currently the most popular video on demand service (non-porn). They recently made three "Death Scenes" films available through their Watch Instant service. These “Death Scenes” films are nothing more than compilations of people dying. They are an off-brand “Faces of Death.” This raises the moral question that this debate will try in vain to answer: should Netflix rent out films that depict scenes of real deaths?

Glenn: Yes, of course Netflix should show these movies. Films like I Spit On Your Grave (original), Hostel, Hostel 2, Hostel 3, Land Before Time XXXIV: Littlefoot’s Hostel Adventure and the NIN double VHS “Closure” all feature graphic depictions of violence. We assume the violence is real even though we weren’t present on set. But the point is that it is as traumatizing as seeing a “real” death or “real” corpse. When Dith Pran stumbles on the skeletons of his countrymen in The Killing Fields, it is emotionally devastating even though any Muslim scholar can tell you the Khmer Rouge genocide never happened. Netflix should present all videos containing deaths, real or otherwise, and let their blood-thirsty customer base vote with their mouse clicks.

Jake: Call me old-fashioned, but I do not believe that Netflix should carry snuff films. I do not enjoy watching real footage of murders and therefore nobody should be allowed to watch it. Furthermore, people should not be allowed to ever witness any acts of death, even their own through a mirror. None of the films you listed contain real footage of death, just Hollywood trickery, so I am okay with people watching those, although they are in bad taste and magic is strictly forbidden by my religion--even movie magic. Snuff films supposedly do not exist according to the many articles I read in preparation of this debate. Netflix’s recent Instant Watch releases say otherwise. Shame on you Netflix and shame on you, Glenn, for supporting this moral injustice.

Glenn: This is not moral injustice. If you want a lesson in right or wrong, watch the Death Scenes movies or any movie featuring Charles Bronson killing persons of color. The only thing wrong with Death Scenes (and other snuff type films) are that more people don’t see them, and possibly the picture quality. If watching a close up video of a human vagina pushing out a fetus is okay - and among certain sects of this country, actually encouraged - why is watching the other end of that spectrum so wrong? We are born and later we die, sometimes without having truly experienced life as it was mean to be lived. That life includes watching Death Scenes.

Jake: Here’s my underlying point, of which you perfectly fed into: we should not be watching anything. Everything ever committed to film is disgusting and should be banned by the government. The government is a lot like Netflix in many ways, what with their support of routine, videotaped death and the distribution of those materials. Netflix has made us all victims of our own curiosity. Who can help themselves when they have access to death scenes streaming over the internet in a film series called “Death Scenes”? I can, because I am not a pervert.

Glenn: The government supports distribution of video taped death? That’s just silly. Our President wouldn’t even release the death photos of his friend Osama bin Laden’s corpse and I’ve been scouring file sharing and tape trading sites for years looking for Timothy McVeigh’s execution video with no luck - or at least less luck than he had in 1995. Starting with my first “Kiddie Netflix” account in the early Nineties, I’ve watched movies like Faces of Death and Faces of Foley. They didn’t produce a murderous rage inside of me, wishing for ever more death to satiate my viewing appetite. In fact, I specifically remember condemning both the Oklahoma City Bombing in 1995 and the Undertaker’s decision to throw Mick Foley off the top of the Hell in a Cell cage in 1998. All we hear from Jake is silence. This is ironic since, to quote Zack de la Rocha: “Silence can be violent sort of like a slit wrist.” Give me my Death Scenes and let the rest of you interpret Rage Against the Machine’s lyrics.

Jake: I am literally shocked that you took an opportunity to quote a 90s band. I say literally, because while I read it I was trying to plug in my time machine so I could travel back to the 90s and understand what the hell Glenn is trying to accomplish by quoting a rap metal band. To say Glenn’s argument in this debate has run out of steam is an understatement, like saying God is only in a few places (He’s everywhere). Snuff films are gross and feature real acts of violence. It is illegal to commit a murder, so why should it be legal to distribute a videotape of one? They should make toilet paper out of “Death Scenes” instead of toilet paper with President Obama’s face printed on it. You should respect the president of the United States, if you don’t you are like a Snuff filmmaker--an unpatriotic, unsympathetic fat loser with a needle dick. Thank you and goodnight!


  1. Haha! I think Jake kicked the mic stand down before walking offstage after that last one!! They've been streaming snuff ever since they put on that Nic Cage documentary 'Fellini's 8 1/2'!!! Thanks for pandering Glenn with you Killing Fields reference!!!!

  2. To snuff or not to snuff - I won't but I'm sure someone will. This one was a thinker!