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(aka 'Black Trash' or 'Soul Patrol')


Directed by Christopher Rowley
US 1978


Master criminals meet violent death in Johannesburg, South Africa, a city wrought with organized crime. Steve Chaka (Ken Gampu), an ambitious news reporter, learns that these deaths are from the hands of an all-black vigilante group known only as War on Crime. Teaming up with Lt. Ben Deel (Nigel Davenport, CHARIOTS OF FIRE, A MAN FOR ALL SEASONS) of the local police department, Chaka investigates anonymous tips regarding future hits and ends up fighting for his life to uncover the truth about the vigilante killings! DEATH OF A SNOWMAN is an action-filled South African grindhouse gem. Exploitation fans will enjoy the outrageous violence, erratic editing, funky disco soundtrack and jaw dropping dubbing.

Theatrical Release: September 1978

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DVD Review: Synapse Films - Region 0 - NTSC

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Distribution Synapse Films - Region 0 - NTSC
Runtime 1:27:06 
Video 1.75:1 Aspect Ratio
Average Bitrate: 6.5 mb/s
NTSC 720x480 29.97 f/s   

NOTE: The Vertical axis represents the bits transferred per second. The Horizontal is the time in minutes.


Audio English (Dolby Digital 2.0) 
Subtitles None

Release Information:
Studio: Universal

Aspect Ratio:
Original Aspect Ratio 1.75:1

Edition Details:

• Trailer (3:23)

DVD Release Date: November 9th, 2010

Keep Case
Chapters: 12



This might be the less-amusing end of Grindhouse/blaxpoitation spectrum of films. I'm always up for a vigilante flic but this is pretty sloppy and doesn't export the charismatic aura fans might desire from the genre.

The transfer is single-layered looks quite dirty and is not very visually remarkable. Colors are faded but it is both progressive and anamorphic in a strange 1.75:1 aspect ratio. The presentation is consistent - and that is the extent of the positives.

Audio is similar - but all dialogue was audible and while some hiss existed it wasn't fatal. There are no subtitles and only a trailer as an extra.

This isn't my favorite genre and I might have been a little hard on the film as I am not very keen. I suspect Death of a Snowman might only appeal to quite a limited number of film-goers. The weaknesses in transfer and film itself outweigh the potential positives. Only Blaxploitation completists need consider the, relatively pricey, Synapse DVD.  

Gary W. Tooze


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Distribution Synapse Films - Region 0 - NTSC

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