Horror Channel in a spot of bother as the BBFC requires cuts for the pre-cut version of I Spit On Your Grave shown by the channel which then attracted complaints to Ofcom
I Spit on Your Grave is a 2010 USA crime horror thriller by Steven R Monroe.
Starring Sarah Butler, Jeff Branson and Andrew Howard.
A writer who is brutalized during her cabin retreat seeks revenge on her attackers, who left her for dead.
UK: A pre-cut version was passed 18 for sexual violence, bloody violence after 53s of BBFC compulsory cuts for:
The BBFC commented:
2016 AMC Networks International UK [Material also pre-cut by company.] video
Cuts were required during scenes of sexual violence in order to remove potentially harmful material (in this case shots of nudity that tend to eroticse sexual violence and shots of humiliation that tend to endorse sexual violence by encouraging viewer
complicity in sexual humiliation and rape). The cuts were made in accordance with BBFC Guidelines, policy and the Video Recordings Act 1984.
The BBFC confirmed in an email to Glenn that the Horror Channel Version contained additional material to the cut UK version, and so had to be cut to bring it in line with the cut UK version:
This version of I Spit on Your Grave is a re-edited, reduced version compared to the submission classified in 2010. These changes were made by the films distributor prior to the film being submitted to the BBFC. The BBFC required that footage that was
previously cut from the 2010 submission, but that had not already been removed by the films distributor, to also be removed.
Background to this version
Earlier this year in May, Ofcom announced that it was investigating a complaint about a broadcast of the remake of I Spit on Your Grave on the Horror Channel in March. The sequel to the remake I Spit on Your Grave 2 was being shown at the
same time and it was noted that maybe this could be involved in the complaint too.
schnittberichte.com also pointed out that a January showing of I Spit on Your Grave wasn't actually a BBFC approved version. The website concludes that the Horror Channel did its own edit, which although cut, was stronger than the BBFC version.
Surely this complaint, and the possibility of interim versions, is behind this week's BBFC new classification of I Spit on Your Grave and I Spit on Your Grave 2, submitted by AMC Networks International, owners of Horror Channel.
The BBFC passed this latest version of I Spit on Your Grave as 18 after 53s of BBFC cuts for sexual violence, bloody violence.
So perhaps these leaves the Horror Channel in the lurch with Ofcom. Ofcom will no doubt find that the channel should have shown the BBFC cut version. The channel will now be in breach of the rules of the land explicitly requiring that TV channels
show BBFC approved versions (or versions where the BBFC have given the nod that they would no longer require cuts if resubmitted).
Thanks to Glenn who disagrees with the BBFC claims that cuts are required. He wrote to the censors saying:
Being in possession of a full, uncensored version, I have been fortunate to bear witness to the director's intended vision. The board should not be cutting this film. It is incredibly insulting and hypocritical that the board are more than happy to pass
"Baise Moi" uncut (and rightly so!) but insist on censoring a film that will have appeal to the masses, rather than just the middle class art brigade. Of further insult is the blatant ignoring of public opinion that you, ever so proudly, claim
to shape your guidelines. On this very site, the previous public consultation undertook by the BBFC is there for all to read. However, some of the viewers felt that the film could easily pass uncut given the second half of the film and her retribution to
the culprits. This clearly counterbalances the graphic scenes of rape. You seemed to have ignored the advice of the general public and proceeded to do as you wish.
Your claims of "eroticised sexual violence" is worrying to say the least. I've yet to meet, or speak to, anybody who found any of the films erotic or eroticised. This is something that obviously only the board is seeing. No one else is. Sorry?
Who are you protecting, again?
It is also worth noting that the OFLC, the Australian censorship body, has passed all the films uncut and their guidelines are stricter than yours! Plus, there is NO recorded evidence that any harm has come to anybody as a result of these films being
available uncut anywhere in the world. And the majority of people in Britain have seen the uncut versions of them. Still no reports of harm.
Suicide Squad gets a BBFC 15 rating in the UK, a higher rating than most countries
See article from bbfc.co.uk
Suicide Squad is a 2016 USA action crime fantasy by David Ayer.
Starring Margot Robbie, Cara Delevingne and Will Smith.
Even the word 'suicide' is a bit much for our film censors. Having a belief that viewers are affected by the films they see, then 'suicide' in films appealing to children, conjures up the need to be ultra sensitive and cautious. It's probably not
possible to edit it out of the title, so perhaps it was always inevitable that the film would be at least 15 rated in the UK.
A secret government agency run by Amanda Waller, named A.R.G.U.S creates a task force comprising super villains, the "Suicide Squad". They are assigned to execute dangerous tasks in exchange for shorter prison sentences.
And indeed that is the case, the BBFC have passed Suicide Squad as 15 uncut for sustained threat, moderate violence for 2016 cinema release in 2D and 3D versions.
The US MPAA had previously rated the film PG-13 for s equences of violence and action throughout, disturbing behavior, suggestive content and language.
And the world censors seem to have mostly sided with the American film censor. Australia (M=PG-15), Netherlands (12), Norway (12) , Singapore (PG-13) and Ireland (15A) all being lower than the UK. Russia opted for a higher 16 rating though.
A few more films, a few more complaints, and a few more pitches for new work
See press release from bbfc.co.uk
See BBFC Annual Report 2015 [pdf] from bbfc.co.uk
The BBFC wrote in a press release:
In 2015 the BBFC classified 983 films for theatrical distribution, a rise of 2.7% compared to 2014. For the second year in a row, more films were classified 15 than 12A, with 383 films classified at 15 and 321 at 12A.
As well as an age rating, every film classified is given detailed BBFCinsight guidance, available on the BBFC website and free apps, which enables the public (particularly parents) to know when a film is suitable for them and their family. This is
particularly helpful at the advisory categories of U, PG and 12A, where 2015 saw a number of high profile releases including Star Wars: The Force Awakens (12A) and Inside Out (U).
David Austin, Chief Executive, BBFC said:
In 2015 we saw our range of services continue to diversify, reflecting public expectation for the same trusted guidance available for film and DVD/Blu-ray, to be similarly available online. We worked closely with the digital home entertainment industry
to bring even more age ratings to VoD platforms and expanded our work with Mobile Network Operators in a new partnership with EE. Mobiles are useful for families that need to keep in touch and the EE 'Strict' setting, based on our PG rating, gives
parents peace of mind that the mobile device they give to their child is safe and that protections are in place to help prevent their child seeing unsuitable content.
Alongside cinema releases, 1,143 hours of online content was classified for exclusive VoD release, with the BBFC receiving 74.5% more submissions in 2015 compared to 2014. This rapid growth demonstrates an appetite for BBFC classification guidance
online. BBFC research reflected this expectation among families for BBFC age rating guidance when choosing a film or series to watch on major VoD platforms such as Netflix, Amazon and iTunes. In 2015 85% of parents said it was important to have
consistent classifications both online and offline, while three quarters of parents want to link parental controls to BBFC classifications and for more platforms to carry age ratings and trusted BBFC content advice.
A key improvement in protecting younger children online during 2015 was the appointment of the BBFC in March 2015 as the voluntary regulator of EE's Strict setting. Under this new service, the BBFC determines what website content accessed via EE's
mobile network, is suitable for younger children, in line with the BBFC's PG standard. Using the Strict setting, parents are able to restrict their children's viewing to safe and appropriate content, suitable for under 12s. The BBFC also provides
a free appeals and adjudication service in relation to individual cases of purported over- and under-blocking.
As judged by the amount of wound up whingers complaining to the BBFC
Thanks to Nick
See BBFC Annual Report 2015 [pdf] from bbfc.co.uk
There's not a lot in the BBFC Annual report covering 2015 that has mass appeal to newspaper readers so the last of films with the most complaints is the pick of the crop.
Perhaps most notably all but one of the complained about films are those that were cut for a lower category. As the cuts were suggested by the BBFC, then by definition, all these films sit exactly on category boundaries. And of course, set themselves up
for the inevitable 'handful' of complaints.
Spectre was top with 40 complaints. The BBFC commented:
Complaints about Spectre focussed on scenes of violence. During postproduction, the distributor sought advice on whether it could secure a 12A classification and if so, how. One scene involving an eye-gouging was slightly too strong for the company's
preferred 12A classification. We therefore suggested reductions to this scene. What remains in the classified version of the scene is a brief implication of what is happening, with only limited visual detail.
There is also a torture scene. Although the idea is unpleasant there is limited detail depicted. Given the lack of detail in the scene and the context of an action film featuring a larger-than-life hero character who always defeats his enemies, this
moderate violence is acceptable at 12A. Another scene, showing the bloody aftermath of a suicide, was similarly reduced.
Kingsman: The Secret Service was next best with 38 complaints:
One of the issues raised by the public with regards to Kingsman: The Secret Service was the level of violence at 15, particularly in regards to a fight scene in a church.
The BBFC saw a version of the film before it was complete and offered advice as to how the film distributor's desired 15 rating could be achieved. Otherwise, the film would have been classified 18. The distributor chose to make changes before formally
submitting the film for classification. While there are some strong moments of violence in the film, they are relatively brief and do not dwell on the infliction of pain or injury to the extent they require an 18 classification. The BBFC therefore
classified the film 15.
Other complaints focussed on a scene involving a crude sex reference which is unexpected but intended to be funny. In part thanks to the comic context, this line did not require the entire film be restricted to an adult audience only by way of an 18
classification. [The BBFC are being a bit coy here, but presumably are referring to the Swedish princess offering anal sex as a reward for her rescue].
Absolutely Anything offended 22 for it's 6 'fucks' in a 12 rated film:
Absolutely Anything attracted complaints because of strong language and sex references. The distributor reduced the frequency of strong language in the film following advice prior to the film's submission to the BBFC for formal classification. The film
originally contained over 20 uses of strong language.
The 12A version of the film contains six uses of strong language (f**k) and some moderate and mild bad language. The language in Absolutely Anything was therefore within the Guidelines at 12A. Nevertheless, 22 members of the public complained about the
number of uses of the F word as well as some references to sex.
The Maze Runner: The Scorch Trials received 21 complaints:
There were 21 complaints about violence and threat in The Maze Runner: The Scorch Trials. Scenes include gangs of people operating in a lawless environment, and infected zombie-like people attacking other characters.
The distributor sought advice on how to secure the classification it was aiming to achieve. The BBFC advised that the film was likely to receive a 15 certificate but a 12A classification could be achieved by making some changes, including reducing
moments of threat and horror involving zombie-like characters, and reducing the focus on injury in a scene in which a man is beaten for information. When the film was formally submitted for classification, these changes had been made and, consequently,
the film is within the Guidelines at 12A where moderate physical and psychological threat is permitted, as long as horror sequences are not too frequent or sustained and the overall tone is not disturbing.
Whilst Minions , the only film on the list not cut, received 16 complaints:
Minions received 16 complaints, mainly focussing on a scene set in a medieval-style torture dungeon. The Minions are stretched on a rack, where it is apparent that they do not come to any harm, and this develops into them slipping unharmed through a
noose and playing with the gallows. The scene takes place in an unrealistic, comic and slapstick manner which is likely to be familiar to young viewers, who expect the Minions to survive. The realistic risk of harmful imitation is very low indeed.
Some of the Minions complaints concerned a chase scene involving a pale-faced man holding a chainsaw, and a clown juggling bombs. At U, scary or potentially unsettling sequences should be mild, brief and unlikely to cause undue anxiety to young children.
The outcome should be reassuring. The fantastical and animated context significantly distances the scenes from real life. Within the wider context, Minions is a well-known franchise which plays off the idea of villains , so images of villainous
characters are to be expected. Furthermore, the Minions remain unfazed and unthreatened. They instead appear to have lots of fun working together, adding to the comic tone which runs throughout. After careful consideration the BBFC classified the film at
British Board of Film Classification
The BBFC is an independent company tasked with UK film,
video and games censorship. It is funded through
The BBFC role is different for cinema, home media and online.
For cinema the BBFC
historically represented the interests of the film industry to ensure
that film makers avoided legal issues
from obscenity law etc. BBFC cinema ratings are advisory and the
ultimate censorship responsibility lies with local authorities. In the
vast majority of cases BBFC advice is accepted by councils. But advice
has often been overruled to ban BBFC certificated films or to allow BBFC
For home video, DVD, Blu-ray and some video games, the
BBFC acts as a government designated censor. BBFC decisions are enforced
by law via the Video Recordings Act of 2010.
For online films the BBFC offers a voluntary scheme of reusing BBFC
vide certificates for online works. The BBFC will also rate online
exclusive material if requested. Note that the Video Recordings Act does
not apply online and content is only governed by the law of the land,
particularly the Obscene Publications Act and Dangerous Pictures Act.
The BBFC is due to relinquish responsibility for video
games in late 2011. The Video Standards Council will take over the role
and ratings will be provided using Europe wide PEGI ratings and symbols.
- John Trevelyan 1958-1971
- Stephen Murphy 1971-1975
- James Ferman 1975-1999
- Robin Duval 1999-2004
- David Cooke 2004-present
- U: Universal: Suitable for all
- PG: Parental Guidance: General viewing, but some scenes may be
unsuitable for young children
- 12A: Suitable for 12 years and over.
No-one younger than 12 may see a ‘12A’ film in a cinema unless
accompanied by an adult. [cinema only]
- 12: Suitable for 12
years and over. No-one younger than 12 may rent or buy a ‘12’ rated
video or DVD. Responsibility for allowing under-12s to view lies with
the accompanying or supervising adult.. [home media only]
- 15: No-one younger than
15 may see a ‘15’ film in a cinema. No-one younger than 15 may rent or
buy a ‘15’ rated video or DVD.
- 18: No-one younger than
18 may see an ‘18’ film in a cinema. No-one younger than 18 may rent or
buy an ‘18’ rated video.
- R18: To be
supplied only in licensed sex shops to persons of not less than 18 years.
Hardcore pornography is allowed in this category
- Rejected. The BBFC has the power to ban the sale of home media. A
rejected cinema film may be shown with permission of the local
Not that rejected home media is banned from sale. It
is not generally illegal to possess. However criminal law
makes it illegal to possess child & extreme porn.
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