This is the first theatrical feature film of director Simon Wincer considered to be an Ozploitation picture, it is actually a well-made thriller (not a horror genre creation) although even a stretch to achieve the level of a thriller aside from a few nerve-wracking scenes. The script written in just 10 days, (although only the first draft) penned by Everett De Roche (Long Weekend (1978) and Razorback (1984)). This Australian picture sold well to more than twenty territories at the international film market MIFED in 1978, a great feat for an Australian movie at that time, and now released by Vinegar Syndrome.
What really makes 1979 the Aussie flick Snapshot curious comes more from the title it found itself, changed to The Day After Halloween, despite the fact it had no connection whatsoever to John Carpenter’s Halloween (1978) and further tainted by billing to the masses as a horror film in the U.S., only this time the cash grab. The Snapshot storyline first has nothing to do with Halloween, not even set in the month of October, in fact to muddle the waters even more, it occurs during the Australian winter cycle (June to August). The exploitation market often deals with stories, such as women in prison or sex-crazed covenants, or just way over the top productions not basing everything on a title change. Wincer’s movie originally wanted the title as Centerfold, but couldn’t secure the rights to the name, and hence Snapshot chosen, which fits it, however, this movie needed to continue its identity crisis by changing it to One More Minute (huh?). Are you confused yet? Further down the rabbit hole we travel, various distribution houses worldwide started different marketing campaigns and title changes, but to some The Day After Halloween stuck cashing in on the success of Carpenter, while overlooking the connection to his other movie he scripted Eyes of Laura Mars (1978). Producer Antony I. Ginnane (Turkey Shoot (1982), The Survivor (1981), and Thirst (1979)) noting the movie more of reflection the glamour industry as was Eyes of Laura Mars, a backlash to the fashion biz, it contains no gutting, and very little bloodshed and sex.
The movie starts oddly with a partially ending scene, a tactic used in Reversal of Fortune (1990), fire engines arriving, smoke and fire building a famous model Madeline (Chantal Contouri), appears screaming out “Angela”. Then cuts to the actual start of the film with the character Angela (Sigrid Thornton, in a breakthrough film role, most recently starred in Scare Campaign (2016)) a young hairdresser encouraged to join the modeling circuit by her friend. Incredibly, her first gig goes with a large ad campaign in Cleo magazine and billboards for a perfume company which has her earning $1,000 pay day for topless scene, which goes on far too long, padding their run time and some T&A. The scene makes one think of the wordless sequence in Clint Eastwood’s directed thriller Play Misty for Me (1971) set to a Roberta Flack song, a charming moment, but tiresome. Angela working for an eccentric Linsey (Hugh Keays-Byrne), proves successful and her stock rises in the modeling community. However, not all find this choice a happy one, especially her mother (Julia Blake) nosy purism-manner (steals her cash while hypocritically judging her new sinful lifestyle) after too many nights out equates modeling to prostitution, locks her out of the house. Angela to move into Linsey’s studio (which she shares with a few others), although she’s followed by her ex-boyfriend Daryl (Vincent Gil), she starts some justified paranoia that he’s hiding in the shadows terrorizing her in a few disturbing manners. Meanwhile she might seem naïve, she does have street smarts and finds the crueler and seedier side of biz filled with old men clinging to power such as Elmer (Robert Bruning) promising the world, and threatening to ruin her new career.
The audience gets many red herrings to choose from, and learns who she actually is, the prey and the predator, understanding the power and sex dynamics too. The print used to give a polished look with a hint grainy texture, understanding though it’s not a sleazy exploit movie, it leans to it, but the stylization a tad off even for then. Composer Brian May (no association with Queen) who’s style often aligned with Bernard Herrman mirroring at times Hitchcock’s masterful designs, used in many of Ginnane’s films works well here once again.
One needs to consider this thriller wrapped inside of a mystery, with a few far-fetched conceptual leaps of logic, noting it’s not a horror film, and even though the film sounds tantalizing, it is far from it, moreover in today’s world, its aged considerably, and yet mirrors some the incidents occurring in entertainment life. So, what’s the point to view it, to inspire writers and filmmakers alike, as a wide swarth of b-movies fall into the sleazy crime thrillers. Take this movie for a spin, and see how you could change and improve upon the basis of the storyline.
IMDb Rating: 4.9/10
Baron’s Rating: 5/10
NSFW trailer: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Hbp0KqLtrqo