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Writings on film. Shock and art. There may be blood.

The Video Nasties

Video Nasties is a list of films that were deemed by the British Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP) to be in violation of the Obscene Publications Act of 1959. They were illegal for sale in Britain and could be confiscated by the police. Outcry against these films gathered momentum in 1983 and was largely led by morality crusader Mary Whitehouse. Some of the choices seem puzzling, but keep in mind that the two hot-button criteria were sexualized violence and violence against animals. A few were banned on the basis of their packaging as much as for their content. These 39 films were successfully prosecuted in Britain and removed from store shelves:

  • Absurd
  • Andy Warhol's Frankenstein/Flesh for Frankenstein
  • Anthropophagous
  • Axe/Lisa, Lisa
  • Bay of Blood/Twitch of the Death Nerve
  • The Beast in Heat/SS Hell Camp
  • Blood Feast
  • The Ghastly Ones/Blood Rites
  • Bloody Moon
  • The Burning
  • Cannibal Apocalypse
  • Cannibal Ferox
  • Cannibal Holocaust
  • The Cannibal Man
  • Devil Hunter
  • Don't Go in the Woods
  • Driller Killer
  • Evilspeak
  • Exposé/Trauma (1975)
  • Faces of Death
  • Fight for Your Life
  • The House by the Cemetery
  • House on the Edge of the Park
  • I Spit on Your Grave
  • Island of Death
  • The Last House on the Left
  • Last Orgy of the Third Reich/The Gestapo's Last Orgy
  • Love Camp 7
  • Madhouse (1981)/There Was a Little Girl
  • Mardi Gras Massacre
  • Night of the Bloody Apes
  • Night of the Demon (1980)
  • Nightmare/Nightmares in a Damaged Brain
  • Snuff
  • SS Experiment Camp
  • Tenebrae
  • Toxic Zombies/Forest of Fear
  • The Werewolf and the Yeti
  • Zombie/Zombi 2/Zombie Flesh Eaters

The following 33 films were on the DPP list but were never successfully prosecuted:

  • The Beyond
  • Beyond the Gate/Human Experiments
  • The Boogeyman
  • Boogeyman 2/Revenge of the Bogeyman
  • Cannibal Terror
  • Contamination
  • Dead and Buried
  • Delirium (1980)
  • Don't Go in the House
  • Don't Go Near the Park!
  • Don't Look in the Basement/The Forgotten
  • Eaten Alive
  • The Evil Dead
  • Frozen Scream
  • The Funhouse
  • I Miss You Hugs and Kisses
  • Inferno
  • Killer Nun
  • Let Sleeping Corpses Lie/The Living Dead at Manchester Morgue
  • The Man from Deep River
  • Mountain of the Cannibal God/Prisoner of the Cannibal God
  • Night Train Murders/Late Night Trains/L'ultimo treno della notte
  • Night Warning/Nightmare Maker
  • Possession
  • Pranks/The Dorm that Dripped Blood
  • The Slayer
  • Terror Eyes/Night School
  • The Toolbox Murders
  • Unhinged
  • Visiting Hours
  • The Witch Who Came from the Sea
  • Women Behind Bars
  • Virus/Hell of the Living Dead/Zombie Creeping Flesh

These either were banned or their directors were told not to bother to submit them for approval:

  • A Clockwork Orange
  • The Exorcist
  • Maniac
  • Mother's Day
  • The New York Ripper
  • Straw Dogs
  • The Texas Chain Saw Massacre

Some of these films were later approved for release after cuts, and others have since been approved for release in uncut form. A 2008 overhaul of the laws legalized several including Snuff, Driller Killer, and SS Experiment Camp. A few of these films remain banned just because they have never been resubmitted for approval.

Public belief that Child's Play 3 had led to the murder of a 2-year old led to a 1994 outcry for further censorship, and up to 25,000 films were considered for reassessment. The incident resulted in a Birmingham University study that found no evidence for the idea that film violence leads to real-world violence.


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