Murder Set Pieces is a 2004 US horror film by Nick Palumbo (TLA Releasing)
The Director's Cut was banned by the BBFC when submitted in 2008 with the following statement:
Murder Set Pieces is a US made feature focussing on the activities of a psychopathic sexual serial killer, who, throughout the film, is seen raping, torturing and murdering his victims. There is a clear focus on sex or
sexual behaviour accompanied by non-consensual pain, injury and humiliation. Young children are among those terrorised and killed.
In making a decision as to whether a video work is suitable for classification, the Board applies the criteria set out in its current Classification Guidelines, published in 2005. These are the result of an extensive process of public consultation
and research and reflect the balance of media effects research, the requirements of UK law and the attitudes of the UK public. The Board's Guidelines clearly set out the Board's serious concerns about the portrayal of violence, most especially
when the violence is sexual or sexualised, but also when depictions portray or encourage: callousness towards victims, aggressive attitudes, or taking pleasure in pain or humiliation.
The Guidelines for the ‘18' category requested for this video work state that such concerns 'will not normally override the wish that adults should be free to choose their own entertainment' but make clear that exceptions to this general rule may
be made in certain areas, including 'where material or treatment appears to the Board to risk harm to individuals or, through their behaviour, to society – eg any detailed portrayal of violent or dangerous acts… [and that the Board] may intervene
with portrayals of sexual violence which might, eg eroticise or endorse sexual assault'. Under the heading of 'Rejects', the Guidelines identify as of particular concern 'graphic rape or torture', 'portrayals of children in a sexualised or abusive
context' and 'sex accompanied by non-consensual pain, injury or humiliation'.
The Board's position that scenes of violence with the potential to trigger sexual arousal may encourage a harmful association between violence and sexual gratification is reflected in research and consistent with public opinion. It is the Board's
carefully considered view that to issue a certificate to MURDER-SET-PIECES, even if statutorily confined to adults, would involve risk of harm within the terms of the Video Recordings Act 1984, would be inconsistent with the Board's Guidelines,
and would be unacceptable to the public.
The Board considered whether the issue could be dealt with through cuts. However, given the unacceptable content features throughout, and that what remains is essentially preparatory and set-up material for the unacceptable scenes, cuts are not a
viable option in this case and the work is therefore refused a classification.
The Lion's Gate Films "R" rated version of "Murder-Set-Pieces" was released on January 9th, 2007, and it is cut and edited by 23 minutes. No other film in the history of cinema has had to have that many minutes cut to avoid the
Very, very overrated serial killer flick that has been compared to Maniac , Last House on Dead End Street and New York Ripper . Some reviewers have claimed that it is better than these three films.
It is not. It is gory in a juvenile, over-the-top kind of way and the coverage of some of the murders is adequate, but it is incredibly fragmented, totally devoid of characterization and plot development and, overall, amateurish in its execution.
None of the performances are believable -- not even Sven Garrett's.
The special effects are reasonably realistic, but they're too overlit and obvious to be truly disturbing.
Some context and character development would have helped immeasurably.
Showing a bit of muscle before being discussed in parliament?
Press release from the BBFC
The region 0 Director's Cut DVD is available via US Amazon
Murder Set Pieces is a 2004 US horror film by Nick Palumbo (TLA Releasing)
The BBFC has rejected the DVD Murder Set Pieces . This means that it cannot be legally supplied anywhere in the UK. The decision was taken by the Director, David Cooke and the Presidential Team of Sir Quentin Thomas,
Lord Taylor of Warwick and Janet Lewis-Jones.
Murder Set Pieces is a feature with a single-minded focus on the activities of a psychopathic sexual serial killer, who, throughout the film, is seen raping, torturing and murdering his victims. Young children are among those terrorised and
killed, and their inclusion in this abusive context is an added concern. In relation to the adult victims, there is a clear focus on sex or sexual behaviour accompanied by non-consensual pain, injury and humiliation.
David Cooke, Director of the BBFC said: It is the Board's carefully considered view that to issue a certificate to Murder Set Pieces, even if statutorily confined to adults, would involve risk of harm within the terms of the Video Recordings Act, would be inconsistent with the
Board's Guidelines, and would be unacceptable to the public.
Rejecting a work outright is a serious matter and the Board considered whether the issue could be dealt with through cuts. However, given the unacceptable content featured throughout, and that what remains is essentially preparatory and set-up
material for the unacceptable scenes, cutting the work is not a viable option in this case and the work is therefore refused a classification.
Under the terms of the Video Recordings Act distributors have the right to appeal the Board's decision. Murder Set Pieces also raises potential legal questions, for instance in relation to the Protection of Children Act 1978, as well as possible
breaches of other legislation such as that on obscenity. Having concluded that the work would in any case have to be rejected on grounds of harm and unacceptability to the public, the Board did not think it necessary at this stage to reach a final
view on these legal issues, but they would have to be considered in the event of any appeal.
Richard Ross, TLA's executive director sales for North America and the UK, said the company was "shocked" by the ban, and was considering whether to appeal: We wanted to retain the director's original version. When we bought it, we
hoped to release it unedited and thought we'd be able to do that in the UK We don't want to release the same version that Lionsgate released (in the US).
The film was released in North America in January 2007 by Lionsgate with an "R" rating. It was, however, an extremely truncated version, Palumbo said on his MySpace page : They cut 23 minutes from the film, rendering it
Palumbo said the uncut version has been released in Scandinavia, Spain and the Netherlands.
His film revolves around a Las Vegas serial killer who dispatches 30 or so victims in a variety of sadistic ways. According to the publicity materials, it was banned from every film festival in North America.
Thanks to Alan, March 1st 2008
Reading about Beyer's dodgy poll and the ban on Murder Set Pieces , I wonder whether there is any mileage in simply campaigning on the basis that censorship is wrong and that the state should not abrogate to itself to control what we watch
in our own homes.
I am sure that Nick Palumbo knows rather more about film-making than BBFC jobsworths like Sir Quentin Posh, Lord Muck and Janet Double-Barrel.
I don't even LIKE bloody horror films, but the arrogance of these pillocks leaves me gobstruck.
Sergio wrote to the BBFC regarding import of the banned Murder Set Pieces , a 2004 US horror film by Nick Palumbo
The BBFC replied:
By supplying an unclassified work to a customer based in the UK, technically an illegal transaction has been committed under the Video Recordings Act 1984.
However, it is not a customs offence to import an unclassified work unless it contains material which may breach UK criminal law, such as the Obscene Publications Acts and The Protection of Children Act 1978. In addition, UK customers purchasing DVDs
from abroad must ensure that the works are for their own personal use, and should be able to prove this if challenged.
You may like to know that we received a couple of reports from members of the public who tried to import MURDER SET PIECES last year, and their copies were seized by HM Revenue & Customs. This action was taken by customs long before our decision to
refuse the work a certificate.