Snuff film means

a pornographic film in which one of the actors is murdered during or after a sadistic sexual act.

On the other hand, snuff means

act of inhaling, breathing in; sound made when breathing in; powdered tobacco that is inhaled through the nose; burnt end of a candle wick.

Why is it snuff film? What is the meaning of snuff as in snuff film?

  • Actually, a snuff film is a for-profit movie consisting of actual murder footage.
    – user11550
    Mar 25, 2012 at 21:31
  • I learnt this term by dint of Vacancy (2007). Mar 25, 2012 at 21:34
  • 1
    They fear that they will become part of a movie of their deaths, made by a killer, not that they will end up in a killer porno.
    – user11550
    Mar 25, 2012 at 21:39
  • Correct, but IMDB says They realize that unless they escape, they'll be the next victims of a snuff film. Mar 25, 2012 at 21:41
  • 1
    Right. When does it say anything about porn? That just means that if they do not escape, the killer will kill them.
    – user11550
    Mar 25, 2012 at 21:43

2 Answers 2


According to Urban Dictionary and Wiktionary, the term snuff (out) can be used to mean "to kill". This is probably why they are called snuff films; the character is snuffed (killed). This originates from snuffing out a candle, that is, extinguishing the flame.


I believe it refers to the snuffing out of life:

snuff someone out
Sl. to kill someone.

Max really wanted to snuff the eyewiteness out, once and for all. Lefty wanted to snuff out his partner.

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