Doing the nasty!
There was a time during the explosion of the VHS markets that humanities sensitive sensibilities were at risk. Luckliy there were champions of censorship to protect us, at least in the UK.
The whole mess started with the irritating obscene publications act which attempted to bar, ban or destroy anything deemed “obscene”, this grew to cover pornography and erotica in the late 70’s. Unfortunately, in the early 80’s, home video boomed and the flood gates of lurid and shocking budget horror were opened.
In the early 80’s, police searches and seizures grew at an alarming rate and were often discretionary and random when it came to the material they decided to remove and attempt to prosecute. This led to the creation of the “list of video nasties” which were essentially sure things, movies that has already been prosecuted under the obscenities act before.
From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
“Video nasty” was a term coined in the United Kingdom in the 1980s that originally applied to a number of films distributed on video cassette that were criticized for their violent content by various religious organizations, in the press and by commentators such as Mary Whitehouse.
While violence in cinema had been subject of censorship for many years, the lack of a regulatory system for video sales combined with the possibility of any film falling into children’s hands led to new levels of concern. Many of these “video nasties” were low-budget horror films produced in Italy and the United States.
The furore created by the moral crusade against video nasties led to the introduction of the UK’s Video Recordings Act 1984 which imposed a stricter code of censorship on videos than was required for cinema release. Several major studio productions ended up being banned on video, falling afoul of legislation that was designed to control the distribution of video nasties.
There is currently no legislation in force, owing to a legislative mistake in 1984. It is anticipated that the system described will continue on a voluntary basis, and the legal structure will be enacted in November 2009.
The videos were generally horror or had enough horrific elements to get many knickers in a twist. There were only 39 films actually prosecuted under these ridiculous nanny acts and required severe edits, almost as many films were never successfully prosecuted at all.
In the end, they just managed to push some otherwise unremarkable films, some mediocre films and some gore favorites into infamy and made sure they will remain cult favorites for many generations instead of fading into obscurity.
Thank you United Kingdom.