In working to build a case that Roman Polanski was involved in an anti-American influence scheme involving communism, surrealism/satanism, and murder – evoking Orson Welles’ potential involvement in the murder of Elizabeth Short (a.k.a. ‘The Black Dahlia’); I purchased my first VHS tape in maybe 20 years: ‘Confession[s] of a Blue Movie Star‘ (also known as ‘The Evolution of Snuff‘ (1978)).
Given prior statements of Roman Polanski on the Dick Cavett show that he was a suspect of a criminal profiler in the murder of his wife – and good evidence he was a cruel husband – some of the quotes I’d seen referenced to Confessions of a Blue Movie Star seemed compelling and concerning in the potential context of both ‘murder as a fine art’ as well as information warfare. Having watched the film, it makes me think that snuff itself is likely a propaganda scheme designed to create a mass hysteria, yet around the usual kernel of truth (in these cases, murders or deaths linked to potential communists). In this sense, snuff as a genre and meme seems quite similar to – and derivative of – the satanism hysteria which followed the murder of Polanski’s wife and friends by the Charles Manson group.
“Yeah I do think a camera can be as dangerous in the hands of a ‘filmmaker’, in quotes, as a bazooka.” – Roman Polanski
The German (adults only) film is a fake documentary about snuff movies attributed to Roman Polanski as star and writer on the cassette cover. He only appears in about a minute of the movie, but it does open and close with actual documentary footage of him. Although the film itself does not include credits to Polanski, it is commonly credited in part on IMDB to Andrzej Kostenko who is a Polish filmmaker who has collaborated closely with Polanski. The credited director Karl Martine has no other credits online. The film credits claim it to be based on an idea by (controversial Catholic) Carl Amery (who appears briefly in the film) and Johanna Bardili.
The back story of the movie is confusing. Despite being a mockumentary from 1978 about snuff, the core of the film is apparently true footage of a 1974 film set which led to the death of the female star, 23 year old Claudia Fielers. Her death was due to suicide by poisoning following a dispute with the director (who later recast her role and continued filming). Ironically, the movie they were making was an exploitative ‘porno’ with a feminine liberation subtext. However, this original footage – and perhaps the context of the star’s death were then repurposed into a further mockumentary taking advantage of the ‘snuff’ film craze in the era by figures like Amery and Kostenko apparently.
After a ‘fake ending’ that follows a Polanski quote, the film closes with outtakes from a death scene in ‘The Last House on the Left’ (1972) interspersed with footage of a masked man – ostensibly a snuff movie director – commenting on the commercial aspects of snuff films as a social pathology. (The movie apparently had the same distributor in Germany as The Last House on the Left which may explain the incorporation of the footage. It is not an actual snuff movie.)
I became interested in the idea of snuff after arriving at the unexpected figure of Kenneth Anger, who seems to factor centrally in a network near the Tate-LaBianca murders and the theoretical influences of Surrealism on the Black Dahlia case. The whole idea of snuff films itself might originate around Anger, who also has a close association with (former occultist spy) Aleister Crowley, and potential Soviet agent Jack Parsons. Anger is influential on modern Surrealism (a movement which emerged very closely to pro-Russian Communists in France and Leon Trotsky). While Anger is not popularly associated with sexual snuff films, he seems to have inadvertently created the first ‘underground snuff movie’, when on the set of his film ‘Scorpio Rising’ (1964) he captured a motorcycle crash on camera which he claims led to a death.
Although direct commentary from Polanski only apparently makes up a minute of Confession[s] of a Blue Movie Star, I think he does make some quite incriminating quotes. These statements may suggest the idea of snuff movies and what they represent is a kind of communist information warfare intended to undermine capitalism through an argument that the decadence of capitalist societies and elites within them creates markets which demand such exploitative content to be created in exchange for money. This could theoretically also dovetail with the legends of figures like Kenneth Anger, who was rumored to have many unreleased films involving deaths, some of which may have been sold to private collectors. To date, the only known purveyors of actual sexual snuff films to the West were Russians.
The idea of snuff therefore has a very ‘active measures’ feel emergent from provocation and false opposition, in addition to its apparent emergence being culturally proximate to other probable Russian disinformation such as Orson Welles’ work on ‘Sirhan Sirhan’ or ‘RFK Must Die’.
In this sense, the idea of snuff springing from this surrealist-satanist network around the Tate-LaBianca murders is a lot like the Black Dahlia case in terms of how a mass hysteria could perhaps be provoked by an actual murder (and potentially have aligned with a specifically communist hysteria too – or antifascist propaganda tendencies – through the amplification in art, media, and popular culture by actual communist collaborators).
Today, I think it seems objective that figures like Anthony Bourdain and Asia Argento have factored into similar conspiracies, such as may emerge from a network proximate and favorable to Polanski, and is culturally based on both Crowleyan and HUAC-era communist influences. Imagine Asia Argento’s signature on the ‘Free Roman Polanski’ petition, her rocking of Kenneth Anger’s Lucifer coat, or her consistent portrayal as a ‘red or scarlet’ woman in association with ‘red magic’. Bourdain was actually pretty close in network to Polanski, the murdered Boris Nemtsov, and even one of the most dangerous former top KGB spies.
So in this sense, the idea of snuff movies as anti-American conspiracy and mass hysteria feels semiotically familiar today as well (but so do also the conspiratorial online cases of Harvey Weinstein, Jeffrey Epstein and Ghislaine Maxwell).
It just doesn’t make sense to me that Polanski would say these things about murder so proximate to the death of his wife, or have capitalized on her death so well with the ‘Rosemary’s Baby’ ‘satanism hysteria’, or have been a suspect himself in her death (despite his overseas alibi) and not actually been involved somehow. It just all seems very suspicious to me and not like the behavior of an innocent person.
It seems Polanski was waging information warfare against the West for what are apparently Marxist-Leninist ideological reasons coupled with what I perceive is behavioral evidence of his own potential culpability in his wife’s death.
It is hard for me to imagine that the very similar satanism hysteria surrounding him is also a coincidence and unrelated, given his statements on the use of a camera as a weapon. (By the time this film was made, Western intelligence knew Polanski to have Polish communist spies in his family.)
In closing, in order to add to the body of scholarly discussion of disinformation on the internet regarding this matter, here is a digital copy and transcript of the pertinent Polanski quotes from – and (fake snuff) conclusion to: Confession[s] of a Blue Movie Star. (Warning: brief images of still breasts on pressing ‘play’ button.)
“All sexual taboos on screen were broken and then people have – what can be the next step? And obviously the next step is to kill someone for real…”
“Because such films wouldn’t be made if there were no market for it. I think that film only reflects what the world or the society is about. I think it is the old truth that art reflects as a mirror of the world.”
“… It’s so significant of our times, and that’s really the end of the road …”
“Yeah I do think a camera can be as dangerous in the hands of a ‘filmmaker’ in quotes, as a bazooka.” – Roman Polanski