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We changed our minds


Source: Mobius Home Video Forum

The British Board of Film Censors are on quite a roll lately. Back in January, Aldo Lado’s exploitation shocker Night Train Murders was finally passed for release in the UK with all previous cuts waived, and now, it’s the turn of the film which spawned it, Wes Craven’s The Last House on the Left. Craven’s film has long been something of a Video Nasty poster child, a prominent item on the DPP list, not granted a UK release until May 2003, and only then with 31 seconds of cuts.

Well, gee whiz, it’s great and all that the BBFC have now decided that the film has suddenly stopped being likely to “deprave and corrupt”, but wouldn’t it have been nice if they’d reached this conclusion in the first place? For example, they could have made up their minds that it wasn’t a “threat” before more or less anyone with any interest in seeing the film already did so via the black market or by importing a copy from a less suppressed country. They might also have decided this before the previous UK rights holder, Blue Underground, frittered away a considerable amount of money in their appeal against the BBFC’s ruling of 16 seconds of cuts. (When their case was thrown out, the BBFC enacted gleeful revenge by demanding a further 15 seconds of cuts.)

It’s nice to know that these people have such a vested interest in our safety, isn’t it? Why, if it wasn’t for them, I might have seen The Last House on the Left uncut before the date of March 17th 2008, when it would no doubt have scarred me permanently. Luckily, though, I now feel safe in the knowledge that, watching it after March 17th, it will no longer hold any power to deprave and corrupt.

Now that it has been granted an 18 “certificate” (note that I put “certificate” in quotation marks because I believe the term is a misnomer, falsely conveying the notion that the big red logo on the DVD cover is some sort of award), you can expect to see it in your local HMV or Zammo (or whatever the fuck Virgin is called now) among copies of other former training videos for rapists and murderers such as The Evil Dead, Tenebrae and The Exorcist.

For those who are interested in this sticky subject, I suggest reading this article from Mark Kermode (who gave evidence at the appeal in defence of the argument that the film should be granted an uncut release).

(Oh, and they banned Murder Set Pieces at roughly the same time that they passed The Last House on the Left. Good to know that these bobbies are still patrolling their turf.)

Posted: Wednesday, March 19, 2008 at 10:07 PM | Comments: 6
Categories: Cinema | DVD | Dario Argento | Gialli | Web



"(note that I put "certificate" in quotation marks because I believe the term is a misnomer, falsely conveying the notion that the big red logo on the DVD cover is some sort of award)"

Oh, you mean like that award you get for dying?



Posted by: Jeffrey Allen Rydell, March 19, 2008 10:54 PM


Yes, dying is a great honour.

Haha, you got me there. In general, though, “certificate” tends to conjure up pomp and ceremony, something to be proud of. Ditto when they say they “awarded” something a certain classification.

Posted by: Whiggles, March 19, 2008 11:01 PM


"Zammo (or whatever the fuck Virgin is called now)"

Your anger is delicious.

Kermode's article is very interesting, especially considering he's now a staunch supporter of the BBFC. I agree with him that they are admirably open about their guidelines, providing a fairly comprehensive rationale for each decision. But they do seem to drop the ball with alarming regularity (remember the fuss over the hangings in Ren & Stimpy and Paranoia Agent?). I have more sympathy when their cuts are intended to protect children (misguided though they may be), but when they claim to be protecting adults, nay, society itself, I have to wonder exactly how they are qualified.

Posted by: Echidna, March 19, 2008 11:29 PM


The banning of Murder-Set-Pieces might be more political.

Posted by: avanze, March 20, 2008 12:07 AM


Censorhip is a terrible idea.
But MURDER-SET-PIECES is an even more terrible so...

Posted by: ARCVILE, March 20, 2008 1:29 AM


Arcville echoes what I've been thinking - by banning certain films the BBFC makes them all the more attractive to people, even though (for example) most of the films on the DPP list were utter dross. Yes, the occasional classic like Tenebrae was on there. But so was Blood Feast.

On a practical level, in this age when getting DVDs from abroad is so simple, isn't the BBFC being a little disingenuous? If people want Murder-Set-Pieces, they will get it, and without too much difficulty.

Posted by: Baron Scarpia, March 20, 2008 8:48 AM

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