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Video nasties approved for DVD release

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The British Board of Film Classification has caused a bit of a rumpus by approving for general release on DVD the famed "video nasties" which were 20 years ago deemed unfit for human consumption.

According to the Evening Standard, movie buffs can now legally enjoy the delights of titles including SS Experiment Camp, Driller Killer and Snuff "because of more relaxed modern attitudes towards extreme on-screen violence".

That's the BBFC's take on the matter, and the board's Sue Clark said that although the films were "tasteless", there was "no evidence the films caused harm to viewers". She concluded: "Times shift, attitudes change, and what was then problematic is not problematic now. In today's current climate we do not consider these films to be a concern."

Julian Brazier, the Conservative MP for Canterbury, disagrees, and has accused the board of "failing to protect the public". He said: "We live in a country where half of all males think forced sex is justified under some circumstances and it's this - films like SS Experiment Camp - that glamorises the torture of women.

"This film may have an 18 certificate but in practice, whatever its classification, it will rapidly find its way into the hands of under-18s."

Brazier intends to bring a bring a private member's bill next month, with cross-party support, to "make it easier to challenge the release of video nasties". If passed, "a motion by 50 MPs asking for a film's release to be reconsidered would trigger an instant appeal", the Standard explains.

The original ban of the video nasties did little to prevent the determined from enjoying their dubious delights. This hack recalls renting the whole lot from a Turkish video hire shop (suitably disguised as musicals, as I recall) in a week-long orgy of uncensored gore.

The general verdict was that they were all crap, and offering various degrees of unpleasantness (Driller Killer, I Spit on Your Grave and Snuff, in ascending order of nastiness), while SS Experiment Camp was simply comically absurd.

Indeed, I have a vague memory of someone in said experiment camp uttering the immortal line: "You bastard! You stole my balls!" Quite why the poor chap's balls had been stolen I know not, but we were still laughing a week later.

As for 1975's Snuff, its director Michael Findlay didn't live long enough to bring the world Snuff II. In 1977, he was decapitated in a freak helicopter accident atop the then Pan Am building in New York, although the incident was sadly not captured for posterity and later released as part of a 30th anniversary Snuff: The Ultimate Director's Cut. ®

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