A certain, unwanted renaissance is happening throughout Britain. With a neo-Thatcherite government, the worst of the 70s and 80s is slowly seeping into everyday life.
Along side the cuts, strikes and recessions, another, more subtle beast is rearing it's hideous head. Could the latest interloper be the return of the video nasty legislation?
The British Board of Film Classification (BBFC) has powers to effectively ban films to protect the public from films that "pose a real, as opposed to a fanciful, risk [to] potential viewers." I, personally, have a problem with this concept. I don't believe that, as an adult, any board (government run or otherwise) should decide what I am allowed to watch. However, that is not what this about.
In 2010, the BBFC demanded that 'A Serbian Film' cut over 4 minutes of footage in order to obtain an 18 certificate. It was the largest cuts ordered in over 16 years. A year later, Tom Six's 'The Human Centipede 2 (Full Sequence)' was refused any classification and told that no amount of cuts could redeem it. After an appeal from distributors, the BBFC changed their stance and some 32 cuts laters, granted a certificate.
This is just part of the what may be to come though. Recently, the media as continued to ramp up the links between horror films and vicious crimes. Headlines scream them out to a baying, misunderstanding, misinformed public; "Sadistic Horror Film Fan," "Saw Torture Film Fan," "Horror Fan Jailed." The media, including some very respectable streams, regurgitate the phrase like it is a driving force or motivation.
In a recent case, a judge went so far as to mention it in court, sighting Australian film "The Loved Ones" and comparing a murder to a scene from the film. It is a worrying trend that is building in a society easily lead by a media that often puts sensationalism before responsibility and as history shows, it is not always the reasonable opinion that gets heard, but the loudest and often most hysterical.
Public hysteria coupled with and over zealous certificate board could lead to disasterous consequences for horror. Hopefully, common sense will prevail before such actions commence, but common sense has so far been absent in most other decisions.
So, be aware, you may sit at home and watch horror films right now, but who knows what evil may be lurking around the next corner. Maybe, even another Mary Whitehouse lies in waiting.
With that in mind I guide you to the BBFC Guidelines Review 2013, your chance to input your opinions on the classification process, I implore you to have your say.