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November 30th

  Leather Face

We'll soon be able to draw a line under the censorial phobia of chainsaws. Leatherface: Texas Chainsaw Massacre 3 has now been passed 18 by the BBFC. This 1989 US film by Jeff Burr was rejected in for a cinema certificate in 1990.

It was heavily cut in the US to achieve an R rating and ended up not particularly gory. Unfortunately it was this R rated version which was recently submitted to the BBFC but at least no further cuts were required by the BBFC.

It was in fact the unrated version that was rejected back 1990. Perhaps one day soon the unrated version will be resubmitted.

And thanks to Simon:

You may wish to note that the full uncut directors version has already been screened in the UK on Bravo TV back in December 2000, and has been shown a couple of times since.

The unrated director's cut was passed uncut in 2004


November 26th

  Importing Good Advice

Following recent debate about the legality of possible Customs seizures of imported DVDs the BBFC have consulted Customs, DCMS & the VSC and have changed their advice from:

Old Advice:

It is legal to import foreign DVDs for the sole use of the importer. However, consumers should be aware that if an unclassified video or DVD is purchased within the UK via a non-UK website, the arrival of that video or DVD in the UK constitutes part of a 'supply' within the meaning of the VRA. Although you will not be liable to prosecution (provided that the work is not obscene or otherwise illegal), Customs and Excise are entitled to seize any unclassified videos and DVDs ordered from abroad because the 'supply' of unclassified works to consumers within the UK is illegal under the VRA.

to New Advice:

It is legal to import foreign DVDs for the sole use of the importer, provided that (i) those DVDs are not to be resupplied in the UK and (ii) those DVDs contain nothing in breach of the Obscene Publications Act or other relevant laws.

It seems that the media industry put together the suggestion but it didn't really convince people that such seizures would be legal. Customs had decided that they would only seize DVD that they considered illegal due to content and in addition they report suspected commercial quantities located to Trading Standards etc.

Surely European imports could never be seized, nor could those that were already one's property, eg shipping ones own DVDs into the country. Furthermore it seems likely that one already owns a DVD as soon as it is paid for at the shop and hence it is not in the middle of the supply process as it is transported by mail.

Anyway, lets hope that this is the last we hear of this nasty attempt to subvert our law enforcers into acting unnecessarily in favour of trumped up suggestions from mega media companies.


November 25th

  Trip Beyond the Valley of the Dolls

Russ Meyer's Beyond the Valley of the Dolls had been passed '18' uncut (with all previous cuts
waived). It's now formally on the BBFC website. Numerous 'sex' cuts were originally made in the 70s,
most of which were subsequently waived on video. However, the previous video version retained two cuts (at the opening and closing of the film) to remove sight of a gun being placed in a sleeping woman's mouth, which she then proceeds to "fellate". She then awakens and has her head blown out! These two cuts have now been waived for DVD.

The 1967 US drug themed video by Roger Corman , The Trip, was submitted by Film Four last year so that they could show it on TV (which they have now done on several occasions). However, there were no plans at the time for a video or DVD release. I can now confirm that, following the region 1 DVD release earlier this year, MGM UK will be bringing out a DVD of The Trip here early next year.


October 21st

  Disney Ignores Advice

From The Telegraph

British Censors have criticised some of Hollywood's largest film distributors, including one owned by Walt Disney, for failing to warn parents of the sexual and violent content of films approved for children.

Under a change to the classification system introduced last year, films given the new 12A rating can be viewed by children only if they are accompanied by an adult. A clearly visible warning of the content of the film should be carried on material advertising the films, however.

The British Board of Film Classification has uncovered many cases in which the warnings have been non-existent or so small that they are hardly visible.

The board has also received complaints from parents who feel that they have been misled into taking their children to see films that they then found unsuitable.

The companies involved include Buena Vista, owned by Walt Disney, and Metro Goldwyn Mayer. The board has now contacted several of the offending companies, including Buena Vista, warning them that they must comply with the rules in future.

Sue Clark, a spokesman for the British Board of Film Classification, said that the board was in talks with some distributors about their failure to provide proper warnings.

The 12A certificate is dependent on companies providing proper warnings about the film. The majority of distributors take their responsibilities very seriously, but we do have concerns about the way some companies are promoting 12A films, she said. We are talking to parts of the industry to ensure that companies do provide guidance which is visible and easy to read. When it comes to our attention that publicity is not on the material, or is too small to read, we raise it with the company and require them to amend it.

The 12A rating, which was introduced in August, is highly prized by the film industry because it means that children accompanied by an adult can go to see films previously regarded as unsuitable for them. It has been granted to more than a 100 films already, generating millions of pounds in extra box office revenue.

It is a condition of the certificate, however, that all advertising material for the film should carry highly visible warnings about bad language and sex and violence.

An examination of publicity campaigns for recent 12A releases substantiates fears that some sections of the industry are not giving proper prominence to these warnings.

One example is a two-page advertisement in Empire film magazine for Die Another Day, the most recent James Bond film, distributed by Metro Goldwyn Mayer. It includes the film's 12A certificate, but no warnings on content.

In April and June this year Buena Vista failed to include warnings in advertisements, also published in Empire, for two of its 12A releases, The Recruit, which starred Al Pacino and Colin Farrell, and Bringing Down The House, which starred Steve Martin.

Even in cases where advertisements for films have carried the required warnings about content, some have been so small they are almost undetectable.

The 12A certificate and warning on an advert for the Oscar-nominated Far From Heaven was one such example, although the film, which was distributed by Focus Films, dealt with issues of racial prejudice and homosexuality in 1950s America.

The warnings on more recent releases including Down With Love, which stars Renee Zellweger and Ewan McGregor, Matchstick Men, which was directed by Sir Ridley Scott, and the Buena Vista blockbuster Pirates of the Caribbean also carry tiny warnings.

These are often in the smallest lettering on posters and adverts - less prominent than the references to the film's internet sites.

Although the board has no plans to scrap the 12A certification, it is warning film companies that their breaches are undermining public confidence in the system and that "nothing is set in stone".

David Turtle, of Mediawatch-UK, a viewers' campaign group, said: I think some of the distributors are acting in a very irresponsible manner. People can only make a proper choice if they are given adequate information. Far too often parents have to rely on what they read in a particular film review and that is an unacceptable situation.


October 18th

  Expert Watch

Thanks to Ian

 Just discovered these snippets from the very psychologists who carried out the research the BBFC now claim is 'evidence of harm'...

Comments with regard to the Meese Commission Report 1986:

Certain themes seem to be particularly harmful. Films which depict sexual violence in which the woman is shown to become aroused and eventually to enjoy it seem to result in the greatest affect on the attitudes of men who see them. Yet this research can be tricky to interpret. In none of the studies cited has a measure of motivation such as 'likelihood to rape' ever changed as a result of exposure to pornography. Men who are already predisposed to violent attitudes toward women may be more sexually aroused by violent materials, but there is no reason to think that exposure to violent pornography is the cause of these predispositions. The results of these studies indicate that exposure to violent pornography is not causing callous attitudes, but reinforcing pre-existing ones (Donnerstein & Linz 57-59).

Donnerstein and Linz's major criticism of the report has to do with its ignoring of the inescapable conclusion that it is violence, whether or not accompanied by sex, that has the most damaging effect . In a study in which subjects were shown one of three versions of a film, one of which showed sexual aggression and rape, the second of which contained only the violent parts of the scene without the sex, and the third of which had only the sexually explicit portions without the violence, the most callous attitudes and likelihood to rape were found in the men who saw only the violent coercion. Men who saw the X-rated version without violence scored lowest on both measures, and those who saw the version containing both violence and explicit sex scored somewhere in between (Donnerstein & Linz 59).

One difficulty with attempting to predict criminally violent behavior involves the relative infrequency of these events. Social scientists trying to predict such behavior have found it to be virtually impossible…without at the same time erroneously identifying many 'false positives'" (Linz et al. "Issues Bearing" 178).

A point originally articulated by the women's movement and brought out by Murray Strauss, who was a witness in front of the Commission, is that Rape is not so much a sexual act as it is a violent one. Rape is the use of sex to express aggression. Christie Hefner, president and chief operating officer of Playboy Enterprises, Inc., suggested that If one examines countries that have serious problems of violence and abuse against women-such as South Africa, Iran, or the Soviet Union-you discover that these are countries that are not only politically repressive but sexually repressive . Regarding images of bondage and rape in printed material, she pointed to Japan, where such images are much more prevalent than in this country, and yet the incidence of rape in Japan is one-sixteenth that in the United States. According to Hefner, the greatest public policy danger of the report is that it misdirects sincere people's attention away from thinking about the real causes of violence and abuse.

Neil Malamuth, one of the participants in the workshop, objected to the wording of the Surgeon General's report. Writing in American Psychologist, he said that, although the participants agreed pornography that portrays sexual aggression as pleasurable for the victim increases the acceptance of coercion in sexual relations, they did not reach consensus that this type of pornography is at the root of much of the rape that occurs today. Nor did they agree on other statements which Surgeon General Koop appended to their conclusions in his article. Malamuth concluded, Obviously, the Surgeon General is entitled to his own opinions in this matter. However, it would be wrong to conclude that…they were endorsed by all of the workshop's participants .


October 14th

  Kill Bill Thrill

From The Telegraph

Yes, I was shocked by Kill Bill , admits censor - but only by Uma's feet By Chris Hastings, Media Correspondent

It's full of blood and violence but something rather more innocent has upset the national film censor in Quentin Tarantino's latest epic: the sight of Uma Thurman's feet. Untroubled by the incessant killing and the 150 gallons of spurting blood depicted in Kill Bill, Sir Quentin Thomas, the president of the BBFC, passed the film uncut for nationwide release this weekend.

In an interview with The Telegraph, however, he confessed to being appalled by the condition of the leading lady's feet. There was quite a lengthy shot of them and they did not look very nice, said Sir Quentin, in remarks that will no doubt bemuse the legions of male admirers of Thurman, one of Hollywood's most glamorous female stars.

Kill Bill , Tarantino's fourth film, has been described as the most violent ever screened. It tells the story of a hired killer, played by Thurman, who sets out to murder her fellow gang members after her entire wedding party, including her unborn child, is massacred at the altar.

In one scene she repeatedly slams a door on the head of one of her attackers. Tarantino himself has admitted that the body count in the £55 million film is so high that it is virtually "incalculable".

Sir Quentin, who passed Kill Bill with an 18 certificate, insisted that the film's "frequent, strong and bloody violence" did not need cutting because it was not likely to prompt copycat actions.

The scenes of beheadings and of samurai sword fights, which have prompted one of the film's stars to issue a warning about its content, were, he said, too unreal to be taken seriously.

Much of what you see on screen happens in a fantasy context. There is a lot of spurting of blood or tomato sauce, but it is like something out of a cartoon, he said. There is not a moment in the film that is the equivalent of the scene in Tarantino's earlier film, Reservoir Dogs, where the ear of one of the characters is cut off.

Sir Quentin who was appointed to his job as film censor last year, added that he had found the film "ludicrous, indulgent and very boring". It topped the United States box office in its first week, taking just over $20 million.

He conceded that the public was concerned about violence in films, but insisted that there was no proof that it led to copycat actions in real life. Violence is a major preoccupation and we are very anxious to keep abreast of research. Of course we have to be alert to the possibility of a media effect. But we are not, in my judgment, in a place where we can draw a line and say just because there is lot of fictitious violence there will be more actual violence.

Sir Quentin said that there was a distinction to be made between the depiction of violence in films such as Kill Bill and the sort of sexual violence that could appeal to some people and produce copycat actions. It was that kind of on-screen activity that he wanted to stamp out.

Sir Quentin's decision to approve Kill Bill uncut follows earlier controversy about allowing the release of the French film Irreversible , even though it contained a graphic rape scene and had prompted walk-outs at a screening at the Cannes Film Festival.

I thought that the film did not make the act erotic from the point of view of the spectator. It showed that rape was a humiliating and painful experience. I am more worried by those films where rape is prettified. I thought ultimately the moral of the film was very conventional, said Sir Quentin.

In one of the opening scenes of Kill Bill , Thurman's character, The Bride, who is in a coma, is seen trying to will her toes to move so that she can walk again. The lingering shot of her toes has been seized upon by some critics as evidence of the director's foot fetish.

John Whittingdale, the shadow culture secretary, said: I know a lot of people do not like Tarantino films because of the violence, and I am sure if you rang around some people would be outraged by it. Personally, I do not think there is automatically a link with antisocial behaviour, but there are questions about whether violence does desensitise people. Because of those concerns I do not think young people should be exposed to a violent film until they are old enough to understand it.


September 14th

  A Nasty Rehash

I recently reported that the video nasty, Revenge of the Bogey Man (aka Boogey Man 2 ) had been submitted to the BBFC. It appears though that the version submitted is basically Bogey Man 1 with a few fast forward shots from the sequel.  It may be that the real version of Revenge of the Bogey Man  is so dire that it cannot be commercially released. Perhaps this will be the bogey of the video nasties list that can never be removed.

The submitted Revenge of the Bogey Man (Redux Version) has now been passed 18 uncut.


September 1st

  Nasty Status

A fair few so called video nasties have been passing through the BBFC of late so perhaps it is time for a status review.

Banned when recently resubmitted


Not yet submitted for a video release

ABSURD (but has been passed ‘18’ with cuts for cinema release)
DON’T LOOK IN THE BASEMENT (but has been passed ‘X’ with cuts for cinema release)
FIGHT FOR YOUR LIFE (has also been rejected for cinema release)
NIGHTMARE MAKER (has been rejected for video release, but would be OK now)
UNHINGED (but has been passed ‘X’ with cuts for cinema release).

Videos currently being considered


Videos passed after cuts

ANTHROPHAGOUS THE BEAST (submitted in pre-cut version and passed uncut)
NIGHTMARES IN A DAMAGED BRAIN (submitted in pre-cut version and passed
NIGHT OF THE BLOODY APES (submitted in pre-cut version and passed uncut)

Passed uncut on video


No longer even considered to be a nasty



August 2nd

Doomed to Cuts

I have had a couple of emails hoping that an up and coming DVD release of Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom might be uncut. Unfortunately Paramount have in fact submitted the old cut versions missing 1:06s, so this release will hardly be a collectors edition.


July 31st

Version Revision

Thanks to Alasdair who emailed the BBFC about the fact that commentary soundtracks have to be cut to fall in line with the original classification of the film. He as also noted that Fox have been submitting commentaries before the main work. He enquired if the commentary was given say a U certificate, then the main work was submitted later, would it have to be cut to the classification of the commentary?

He received a reply stating that the BBFC are currently reviewing their policy on different versions at different categories.

(I think there must be a fair amount of commercial pressure for different versions. Cinema is a shared experience and it makes financial sense to share it amongst as many people as possible. The DVD market is very much a market for collectable, high quality, extra laden, uncut versions. If the UK distributors won't or can't sell an uncut version then it is not hard to track down someone that will).


July 30th

  BBFC Stags

Hardcore R18s are commonplace these days but it is interesting to not the first hardcore R18 cinema certificate has just been granted.

An silent black and white compilation of stag loops called The Good Old Naughty Days ( Polissons et Galipettes ) was submitted by Metro Tartan.

Now the question is, where will it play? In theory it can play in a licensed sex cinema but I don't think there are any in the UK. Of course it can play in cinema clubs but then it wouldn't need a certificate.

If there is a licensed sex cinema somewhere then the showing would be historic as it would be the debut properly licensed hardcore film open to the general public.


July 25th

  Fucking Myths

Thanks to Gav

It's been mentioned at least once on your site recently in messages from visitors that the BBFC do not allow more than 1 use of "fuck" in a 12 or 12A film. This is entirely untrue. I asked the BBFC and they said there are no limits whatsoever against the use of strong language in 12 films, so long as it is rare and justified by context. This is one of the reasons why Terminator 3 escaped with a 12A rating, despite having three to five uses of the word "fuck" in it.


July 24th

  The Cat's out of the Bag

From Sex Gore Mutants

Fulci's Cat In the Brain (aka Nightmare Concert ) has been passed by the BBFC without cuts.

The release by Hard Gore/Screen was put back to early August to wait for this after years of being rejected! Needless to say Hard Gore are happy, I'm ecstatic and I'm sure many of you will be too!

Now where did I put my smelling salts (the folk at the BBFC have obviously been at the sherry again...and long may they reek!)

I can't believe that they would have left in the young boy having his head chainsawed off, or the shower scene intact?

Well you know that was the very first thing I asked be confirmed and can indeed confirm the master came from Gruppo Minerva in Italy (who hold world rights) and went direct to the BBFC without any contact or interference from the folk at Hard Gore in the UK. Hard Gore/Screen did have brief concern about the running time not matching from Gruppo and what was showing on the old BBFC records but it was found that that the previously submitted version was telecined at a different speed and both versions are identical.

Of course there will be folk still wary (well there always will be, especially with a title like this) but perhaps the BBFC have cottoned on to the fact that the film is actually no budget humourous grade z splatter fun that will only appeal to a limited number of us horror fans and will be laughed off as trash by the general public!? That said, if you're unsure about the news then simply wait for the reviews to appear!


July 15th

  Bums at the BBFC

The BBFC have just banned Bumfights: Cause for Concern, Volume 1 . They have issued the following statement: Bumfights - Cause for Concern consists substantially of camcorder footage of homeless people ('bums') being abused, assaulted, and humiliated. These scenes are intercut with footage of street brawls and soft pornography.

Under the Video Recordings Act 1984 the Board must have special regard to any harm to those likely to view a video and to any harm to society through the behaviour of those viewers afterwards. The Act singles out particular elements as being potentially harmful including criminal behaviour and violent behaviour or incidents. The BBFC guidelines for '18' rated works state that the Board may "cut or reject... any detailed portrayal of violent or dangerous acts which is likely to promote the activity" (page 16). The Board's guidelines for violence also state as particular concerns "callousness towards victims, encouraging aggressive attitudes [and] taking pleasure in pain and humiliation" (page 9). In the Board's view, the video breaches these guidelines by exploiting the physical and other vulnerabilities of homeless people.

The Board considered the possibility of cuts. However, given the extent of the unacceptable material, cuts were not considered a viable option on this occasion.

I found a little background to the video on CNN:

A Las Vegas filmmaker, Ray Laticia,  defended his fast-selling video featuring grisly footage of homeless men fighting and performing dangerous stunts.

In a telephone interview with CNN, Ray Laticia said the homeless men featured in Bumfights: Cause for Concern, Volume 1 agreed to be videotaped and signed release forms that free the filmmakers from liability.

Laticia said the men were sober and mentally competent when they were taped. But an advertisement on his Web site states: You'll see drunk bums beating each other silly , it promises.

Laticia said the men were compensated with food, clothing or money ($20 to $100) after the tapings, though most agreed to participate in the video free of charge. " They want to be part of something , It's fun. It's a relief from their mundane lives. We've developed a close relationship with many of them. They consider us their friends.

The video, which sells for $19.95 on, includes a scene of a homeless man referred to as Rufus the Stunt Bum going down a flight of stairs in a shopping cart. In another scene, Rufus runs into a wall. In yet another, he rams his head into a fast-food drive-through sign.

The video also features fights between homeless men, which Laticia said were not staged by him or his co producer, Ty Beeson, 24. Fights are part of their culture. It's a way for them to vent their anger. We're simply there to video it. In one case, a fight resulted in broken bones and the producers paid the medical bills, Laticia said.

Over the past few weeks, thousands of copies of the video have been sold, and volumes two and three are in production, Laticia said.


July 13th

  The Cat in the Hat Comes Back

First a couple of updates. Bad Lieutenant was duely passed uncut as per the speculation a while back. 1:47s of cuts were waived.  These were previously imposed to limit the supposedly instructional details about heroin injecting but also to preserve the modesty of a nun under duress.

The 15 rated uncut video certificate of the ex video nasty, Contamination , has still to show. This is down to the the distributors being a little slow to submit the cover work...Perhaps the 15 rating has deflated their marketing. A 15 rated video nasty hardly sounds convincing.

The 1980 film by William Friedkin, Cruising , is about murders in the gay community. It was originally cut to remove details of a knife murder and also to remove a shot in a gay club. No doubt these will be restored but there were supposedly a couple of subliminal hardcore anal penetration shots that were also removed. I wonder if these must be restored before we recognise the films as 'uncut'?

Good to see Walerian Borowczyk' Behind Convent Walls get an uncut release as Interieur d'un Couvent

The BBFC were never impressed by cannibal films so for a long time there seemed little point in an attempt for a UK release of The Last Cannibal World (1978 Italian film by Ruggero Deodato)

It has now got a video certificate albeit with 4:32s of cuts (of which 2:46s were required by the BBFC and the rest were imposed by the distributor).

The BBFC made the following statement: Two compulsory cuts required for 18, one to remove scenes of animal cruelty organised or directed for the purposes of filmmaking and one to remove a scene of eroticised sexual violence

For those that object to 4.5 minutes of cuts, the uncut region 1 DVD is available from US Amazon

Jungle Holocaust

I have heard that A Cat in the Brain rejected for a video certificate in 1999 has been resubmitted. Should be fun.

I haven't yet heard anything about a British release for Ken Park yet but as it caused so much controversy down under it should be interesting to see what our censors make of it.

Another possibly interesting film is The Brown Bunny by Vincent Gallo. It was recently shown at Cannes and reportedly contains a five minute scene showing Chloe Seveigny (the HIV positive girl in KIDS) fellating Vincent GAllo.


July 13th


Now we have the Children's version of the BBFC website at I wonder if some enlightened youngster may wish to set up the Children's version of the Melon Farmers. It would make a spiffing school project methinks.


May 22nd

Reported Out

This latest BBFC annual report has just been published. It is available on their website. Follow The BBFC and then downloads for a pdf copy.


May 22nd

  Pinned Out

Another video to be deleted from my 'unavailable' lists. Maitresse, a 1976 French film by Barbet Schroeder, has just been passed 18 uncut on video. Previous cuts of 4:47s have been waived.

It was rejected in 1976 when submitted for a film certificate. After the ban it was  distributed uncut on the cinema club circuit.

It then achieved an 18 cinema certificate after approximately 4:47s of cuts but was not available video until now.

SM scenes were originally cut. It's not particularly explicit - two medium shots of a few pins going through the skin around a penis rather than through it caused most grief.  No blood either. 


May 22nd

  Snuffed Out

I have just heard that the BBFC have passed Snuff with an uncut 18 certificate. Snuff came in for a little notoriety during the video nasties panic. It is a 1974 US/Argentinian video by Michael & Roberta Findlay

There is a film within a film. Pointless outer film suddenly gets interrupted by a notorious "snuff scene" where the crew amputate the limbs from an unsuspecting actress and then they draw yards of offal from under her T-shirt. The effects are nowhere near good enough to even hint that this may be a real snuff film.  But of course well convincing enough  to outrage Daily Mail readers.

Still its good to see another video nasty de-mystified.


May 17th

  BBFC Get their Talons out of Doctor Who

Thanks to James who spotted recently waived cuts to an old Doctor Who story

Back in 1988 the BBFC had a thing about nunchukas and even old TV programs had to take the hit. Doctor Who: The Talons of Weng Chiang was cut by 10s to remove the following scene:

  • Doctor and Leela are attacked by Black Scorpion coolies, one of whom is clutching a pair of nunchukas and in a brief sequence we see the guy leering towards the camera with the nunchukas above his head

Obviously the BBC showed the original uncut and UK Gold have more recently shown the nunchuck scene in this episode.

I have recently been watching Thai TV where they routinely pixellate out any images of guns (& cigarettes). I pompously commented on the ludicrous stupidity of this censorship almost thinking 'we wouldn't be that pathetic in MY country surely'. In a fleeting instant I had forgotten that the Brits are still considered so low as to need state appointed censors to pre-vet every minute of video before we are allowed to watch it.


April 18th

  BBFC Get their Tentacles into Spy of Darkness

The Japanese Anime video, Spy of Darkness, has been banned by the BBFC. I have looked out a review from an anime site to give a flavour of the video.

Review from AnimeNation :

Spy of Darkness is in many respects a typical tentacle hentai show. Scientists have been working on creating a new type of cyborg, and have ended up creating what they call a BioBorg, codenamed Dragon. This tall dark and studly creature is all green, very powerful and has one flaw; he’s insatiable when it comes to sex due to a fault in the gene coding.

Vanessa Hammer who has decided to free Dragon and use him for her own purposes. While she considers him nothing more than merchandise, she’s got no problem with taking advantage of his special skills. And his skills are rather good, going by her expressions. When he gets overly excited, tentacles begin to sprout from all over his body, and the more he evolves, the more tentacles grow from him.

The show plays out in the end in some distinctly non-standard ways with the characters, leaving me surprised at how it was done and enjoying it more for doing it that way. Spy of Darkness is a simple straightforward little action hentai with tentacles and plenty of non-consensual sequences, but it’s quite well done.

The BBFC justified their actions (after being prompted by fellow Melon Farmers) as follows:

The Board's classification Guidelines, the result of an extensive process of public consultation, clearly set out our serious concerns about the portrayal of sexual violence in films and videos. On page 9 it is stated that "Where the portrayal eroticises or endorses sexual assault, the Board is likely to require cuts at any classification level... any association of sex with non-consensual restraint, pain or humiliation may be cut." On page 20, under 'Rejects', the Board also identifies as of the "greatest concern: graphic rape or torture, sadistic violence or terrorisation, accompanied by non-consensual pain, injury or humiliation...".

The Board's strict policy on sexual violence is based in part upon the issue of public acceptability and in part upon the issue of harm. With regard to public acceptability, it is clear that the British public are very concerned by the depiction of sexual violence, and feel that any such depictions should be handled sensitively and with great care. The exploitation of sexual violence for titillation is clearly regarded as unacceptable - and potentially dangerous - by the majority. This was illustrated both by the findings of our 1999-2000 public consultation process and by a separate research exercise into public attitudes to sexual violence undertaken in 2001-2.

With regard to the issue of harm there is a substantial body of media effects research suggesting the harm that may be caused by exposure to such material. There is a large and persuasive body of evidence over the years from respected and responsible researchers that shows that, where violence and sex are intermingled, the effects upon some people are likely to be harmful. In line with its specific duties under the VRA the Board is required to treat material of this kind very carefully indeed.


April 18th

  Watching the Censors Expose Themselves

The BBFC have recently rejected Video Voyeur . This was originally rejected in 1998 under the title of Changing Room Exposed with following justification

In recent years, the video industry has traded increasingly in the use of hidden cameras to capture the private behaviour of ordinary people in situations in which they had the right to assume that their privacy would be respected. The pleasures offered by such videos are those of voyeurism since they purport to be, and frequently are, filmed without the knowledge or consent of those whose intimate behaviour is being captured on film. An instance of such videos is an American series filmed in a men's changing/shower room in which men are recorded going through the commonplace but private rituals of washing, drying and changing. They are, in effect, 'Peeping Tom' videos. One of this series was classified '18' a year ago at a time when the Board had been advised that there was no law of privacy in Britain. Since that decision, it has become increasingly clear that the exploitation of such material in this country could in fact constitute a breach of confidence if the privacy of a British subject were being invaded without his consent, since no defence based on the public interest would be relevant. Article 8 of the European Convention on Human Rights, to which Britain is a signatory, guarantees a right to privacy, and the Convention is now being incorporated into British law. Given these developments, the BBFC has decided to take a stand on the issue of voyeurism and human rights, in consequence of which the Board has refused a certificate to another in the same American series, CHANGING ROOM EXPOSED, in which a hidden camera is used to film unsuspecting men as they change, shower, walk around without their clothes on and dress. BBFC policy will no longer accept the classification of works which breach people's privacy without there being a public interest in so doing. It is one thing for individuals to choose to participate in the making of such videos, but it is entirely another when their private life has been unknowingly and covertly filmed solely for purposes of voyeuristic curiosity.

The decision was referred to the Video Appeals Committee but the distributors withdrew this before it was heard.

The video was resubmitted as Video Voyeur by Meridien Entertainment and was again rejected in 2003 with the following statement:

Despite the relatively recent rejection of the work, and the withdrawal of an appeal against the Board's decision, Changing Room Exposed was resubmitted under a different title (Video Voyeur) towards the end of 2001. At the time of resubmission no mention was made of the fact that Video Voyeur was in fact a retitled version of Changing Room Exposed. The distributor claimed that "all the footage contained within the programme was staged, and that the scenes were shot using actors". No documentary evidence was offered to support this claim.

Given that this assurance contradicted the clear statements made during 1998, the Board asked for written evidence that the persons involved in the video knew that they were being filmed and had given their consent to their appearance in the video. However, the distributors have been unable to provide this. They have also been unable to demonstrate where the work was filmed or under what circumstances. No evidence, therefore, has been offered that would allow us to over-ride the information provided at the time of the work's original submission. In the absence of any such evidence the Board has no alternative but to confirm its original rejection of the work.


March 26th

  Unnasty Nasty

A few more notable videos passing through the BBFC uncut:

  • Dawn of the Dead. 6 seconds of cuts finally restored
  • Cannibal Terror notable for its inclusion on the video nasty list rather than for its quality. It has been passed 18 uncut
  • Contamination. Another video from the video nasties list This time passed 15 uncut. How times a change.


March 23rd

  Irreversible Decision

Good to see that Irreversible has followed up it's uncut cinema certificate with an equally uncut video/DVD certificate. Gasper Noe's film was probably the most likely so far this year to wind up the Daily Mail. I'd hazzard a guess that the jingoistic press have a few gungho, kick arse stories taking precendence over a mere 'censorship furore' story.


March 17th

  Badder Lieutenant

Thanks to Goatboy on the Discussion Forum who points out that Bad Lieutenent is being pencilled in for an uncut DVD release in April.

Bad Lieutenant originally suffered on the back of some pretty lousy timing when the press were having a bit of witch hunt about Reservoir Dogs, Man Bites Dog, True Romance etc. A dour film but certainly worthy of being seen in its full glory.


March 16th   Beyond the Valley of the Alien Serial Killers

A few notable censor cuts have been waived recently. Henry: Portrait of a Serial Killer now boasts an uncut cinema certificate. The video/DVD version is currently under consideration. James Ferman originally took exception to the film primarily because he felt that the viewing experience of the audience was somehow too close to the enjoyment of the killer watching his video replays.  This is the second time that Duval's team have viewed the film. Previously they waived some of Ferman's cuts to the video watching segment. See the video hits for further details .

Almost six minutes worth of cuts have been restored to Blood Camp Thatcher (also known as Turkey Shoot).  But of course the most notably enhanced film must surely by Russ Meyer's Beyond the Valley of the Dolls which has been enormously inflated by the restoration of whopping cuts of 53 seconds.


February 9th   Wrestling with Censorship

Saturday's Guardian had a piece about a few home grown offerings inspired by the hilarious Jackass: The Movie. In particular it reported on The Best of Back Yard Wrestling which apparently took months to get a certificate out of the BBFC.

However it sounds quite interesting as it was described as a meeting of Jackass, The Fight Club and the WWF...except that the majority of participants are teenage kids.

The craze has apparently inspired presentations to video companies of stunts such as getting hit by cars, eat until you puke competitions and amateur tattooing.


February 9th   In Your Face Censorship

The missing 11 second cum shot was seemingly imposed as a bit going away present from  Andreas Whittam Smith. Probably not a reflection of the current BBFC policy.

From the Independent

This month sees the release of a French film which, in the context of a sober tale of angst and ageing, contains images of real sex and a "money shot" lasting (a rather extraordinary) 11 seconds. In it, the male performer shows the extent of his pleasure by "producing" in full view of the camera, usually by pulling out and ejaculating, courtesy of some form of masturbatory aid. I spell these details out for you because they are the subject of a fascinating argument waged between the BBFC and the UK distributors of Bertrand Bonello's new film, The Pornographer , over what kinds of images are currently considered beyond the pale for adult viewers in mainstream cinemas.

The Pornographer actually contains very little hardcore, so don't expect liberal doses of explicit rumpy-pumpy lacing the rather earnest narrative. This is not hardcore by the back door: the porn palace's racy delights will not be available under the respectable cover of your local art house. The sex is fleeting, and plot-driven: in addition to the scene culminating in the disputed money shot, there is only one other brief long shot of all-fours sex in a field for a porno-cowboy flick.

It is, then, rather surprising that the BBFC has got into such a lather about the aforementioned money shot, especially given the precedent of some films they have sanctioned recently. If you think that hardcore material (erections, oral sex, penetration shots) is not permissible in mainstream cinema, then you probably didn't catch art-house fodder such as The Idiots or Intimacy .

Nevertheless, since UK distributors Metro Tartan first submitted The Pornographer for certification, the BBFC has steadfastly demanded an 11-second cut – that ejaculation in full – before giving The Pornographer the 18 rating it needs to secure a general audience. Metro Tartan met this demand with three possible strategies: though opposed to the cut on principle, it asked to run the film with an animated pink triangle obscuring the offending member. The BBFC said no. The company then asked if it could blank the screen for 11 seconds at the appropriate moment. Still the BBFC said no. Finally, it plans to display a message on screen prior to performances, reading something along the lines of The film you are about to see has been mutilated because of the UK's draconian censorship climate. This is now Metro Tartan's last line of defence, since the cut is non-negotiable. They have opted not to make a slightly longer cut which would have neatened the edit. Instead of the money shot there is a jagged ellipsis – effectively a jump-cut – making obvious the fact that something has been removed.

Turning the tables on the censors, the owner of Metro Tartan, Hamish McAlpine, says that he is disturbed that this does seem to be going against their stated guidelines . In September 2000 the BBFC redefined what was acceptable at 18  and R18 , for the first time openly mapping the terms that would allow explicit imagery into the fold of public acceptability. The fact that erections could be seen in foreign flicks such as Ai No Corrida or Les Amants du Pont-Neuf was to many anti-censorship campaigners fleshly proof of double standards operating in the UK – what's good for the refined audience of the Regional Film Theatres was bad for the masses of the multiplex. The 2000 guidelines were welcomed as a new broom, sweeping away such inconsistencies.

So why should there be such insistence on this cut, given the BBFC's declaration that it respects the right of adults to chose their own entertainment, within the law ? The Pornographer is careful to frame its sex in a context of consent. The couple who perform the ejaculatory act do so for money, certainly (both within the film-within-a-film, and for The Pornographer itself), making the consent financially contractual. But this shot does not represent an illegal act – no one will arrest you if you choose to participate in a scenario in which one person ejaculates on to another's face, whether you are doer or done-to. At issue is what would happen if you filmed it and tried to show it to other consenting adults in your local cinema, with your own philosophical and narrative context.

Is the crux of the matter the vérité of this cinema? The BBFC has said that "material which appears to be simulated is generally passed 18, while images of real sex are confined to the R18 category". One assumes, then, that any image of real sex must consign a film to the specialist R18 ghetto, but this is not the case. In 1999 feminist film-maker Catherine Breillat's Romance appeared, another ponderous, philosophically-minded meditation on the nature of eroticism, which was passed uncut for cinema release at 18. Not only did it contain real-life copulation, it also featured a money shot. Breillat told me at the time that if censorship was threatened she wanted to black the screen at the offending moment, leave the soundtrack running, and present viewers with a VHS of what they'd missed as they left the cinema. If there is censorship, people should know there is censorship, and why , she said. Censorship should be seen as a scar.

So why censor Bonello and not Breillat? The BBFC justified its decision by saying that Breillat's film was very French in the frank way it addresses sexual issues (but so is Bonello's). Romance's ejaculation bursts into air rather than on to a woman's face, and only lasts a second. So does the BBFC object to The Pornographer 's explosion because of its prodigious duration (if not size, then endurance matters), or its target? What is so intrinsically wrong with sperm on a face that means we must be protected from it?

The BBFC does allow images that are "justified by context", and if nothing else The Pornographer tediously contextualises its sex. The irony is that because the visible ejaculation is symptomatic of Jacques' loss of directorial control (he is, you will recall, the one who wanted Jenny to swallow it), he is positioned squarely with the censors, wanting in all his sexual sentimentality to keep the sperm securely off-screen (in the mouth). The (cut) shot is thus one of the strongest plot points in the film.

The Pornographer has been passed uncut in France, classified suitable for 16-year-olds. So are French citizens more inured to the damaging messages of the ejaculating penis than the British? It seems that some screen sperm are more acceptable than others. Cameron Diaz is the unwitting recipient of male body fluids in There's Something About Mary (she slicks her hair with it). Exactly why fake semen framing the face is comedically abject but certifiable at 15, while real semen on the face is censorable at 18, is a matter of debate. Fictional sperm used as hair gel can guarantee an international adolescent audience. In The Pornographer , not even adults can see the real thing.


January 26th

  Banned by Mutants

From the message board at Sex Gore Mutants about the underground film Scrapbook

Sad news folks, I just got word from our good friends at Cryptkeeper DVD that they have been contacted by a very well known law firm on behalf of the BBFC and told in no uncertain terms to withdraw Scrapbook from public sale - yes it has now been banned.
What this also means is that their releases of both Meat Market and Savage Harvest have been withdrawn from sale too . Of course they have been ordered to submit all three films now to the BBFC for viewing and I can guarantee that the tyranical bullys at the BBFC will 'reject' Scrapbook outright, though fingers crossed that the other films will fare better.  
Myself and all at SGM would like to offer our condolences to our friends at Cryptkeeper and publicly offer our full support in this sorry time. We have full reviews of both Meat Market and Savage Harvest lined up for this incoming update and will continue to run this coverage - we will also continue to do what we can to point out the ludicrous out of date practices that we UK horror fans and industry alike have to suffer at the mercy of these power mad corporate b*stards.
This would never happen in more liberated countries in Europe and the USA where enjoying a horror movie is recognised as a harmless pursuit, but here in the UK a gaggle of elitist snobs continue to believe they know what we can and cannot handle viewing.
Expect more coverage on this here at SGM very soon.


January 12th

  Public Accountability


I recently sold the rights to two films to a distributor, for selling in the UK as R18 material. Of course, with all videos sold/rented in the UK, they must have a film certificate, which means submitting the video to the BBFC

Having added brand new trailers onto these videos, the distributor ran into a bit of a problem with the BBFC - who uphold their rules very strictly. It appeared to them that an illegal act was taking place in one of the trailers - and any illegal acts are banned by the BBFC. What upset them was a short clip of Betty Swollocks , giving a blow-job to a taxi-driver, in his cab, which looked like it was parked in a public place, therefore it looked like obscenity/indecency laws were being breached. This is from Betty Swollocks 3 - Shopaholic Cockaholic . However, there is no-one else visible in the scene, as we filmed it all on private land. The BBFC wanted a written assurance that the production crew didn't break any laws. In the mean time, to speed up the process, I got my video editor to replace the scene in that trailer with something else - it was substituted for a clip from Betty Swollocks 4 - Anal Fuckfest , where Betty not only gives a blow-job to some guy, she's also being screwed up the arse too! As this is obviously filmed indoors, the BBFC couldn't raise any objection to it!

So in the end, a rather tame scene in a trailer ended up being made far more stronger, thanks to the BBFC!


January 5th  Witnessing the BBFC at work

The region 2 DVD of Mute Witness is released uncut just like on FilmFour. Previous BBFC cuts have been waived.

The latest submission of Hallowe'en 2 has been passed '18' uncut, with all previous cuts waived.  

The Italian horror film Burial Ground, aka Nights Of Terror , has been passed uncut under the title The Zombie Dead , all the previous 13mins of cuts were waived.

All previous cuts to the Friday The 13th series have been waived, although they are based on the pre-cut US R rated versions.

The Japanese anime films, Urotsukidoji: Legend Of The Overfiend and Urotsukidoji: Legend Of The Demon Womb are both based on a pre-cut (by almost 50 mins) version. The fully uncut versions of Urotsukidoji 1-2 are available in the US as the Urotskidoji Perfect Collection box set from the Central Park Media distribution label, Part 3 is also uncut although Part 4 is slightly cut and missing the alternate ending.


January 5th  Fuck Me at Christmas

Cynical readers have pointed out that the video certificate for Baise-Moi was announced during Christmas week. Perhaps designed to evade publicity. On the other hand it seems to have worked and I haven't seen any press outrage on the subject.  I personally found the film to be well worth a viewing but I of course have not based this judgement on the censored version.

10s were cut from the cinema version and an additional 2s were removed from the video. Still leaves plenty of hardcore sequences though.

The cinema release was censored with the following BBFC justification Cut required to an explicit close-up shot of a penis penetrating a vagina during a violent rape sequence.

And for the video: Cuts required to two sequences of sexual violence involving strong sexual imagery (explicit close up of sexual penetration of woman during rape scene; sight of gun being pressed into man's anus prior to being fired)


January 1st  Shambolic Gesture

Congratulations to Andreas Whittam Smith, newly honoured with a CBE.

Let us hope that it is in recognition for the legalisation of hardcore in the UK. It did not always appear obvious that Whittam Smith was of a liberal persuasion but nevertheless, things improved an awful lot throughout his tenure. In particular he was very keen on public transparency into the workings of the Board coupled with public consultation. As a result the BBFC are now the most approachable of regulators and are always ready to explain their decisions.

Let us hope that the good work can be continued to the point of an end to the compulsory state vetting of our film and video viewing.


January 1st  Symbolic Gesture

It seems that there is a new set of symbols on the BBFC web site

U Cert PG Cert12A Cert12 Cert 15 cert18 certR18 cert

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