Feeds

Japan torture flick sickens UK film censor

Banned Grotesque unlikely to trouble box office charts

Top 5 reasons to deploy VMware with Tegile

The Japanese movie Grotesque (NSFW) has gained a rare accolade this month, in being one of the few films to be refused an '18' certificate in recent years by the British Board of Film Censors (BBFC).

Individuals who sell, distribute or supply the film would now be breaking the law.

According to a spokeswoman for the BBFC, this is in line with the BBFC’s duties under the Video Recordings Act 1984 (pdf), which require them to have "special regard (among the other relevant factors) to any harm that may be caused to potential viewers or, through their behaviour, to society" as a whole.

According to the BBFC board, much of the film was focused on the assault, humiliation and torture of two victims. The main character abducts them, and then restrains, strips and sexually assaults them before inflicting horrific injuries until they die.

A sub-title on the film poster claims: "Saw and Hostel were just appetisers".

BBFC Director, David Cooke said: "Unlike other recent 'torture'-themed horror works, such as the Saw and Hostel series, Grotesque features minimal narrative or character development and presents the audience with little more than an unrelenting and escalating scenario of humiliation, brutality and sadism. The chief pleasure on offer seems to be in the spectacle of sadism (including sexual sadism) for its own sake."

David Cooke added: "Rejecting a work outright is a serious matter and the board considered whether the issue could be dealt with through cuts. However, given the unacceptable content featured throughout, cutting the work is not a viable option in this case and the work is therefore refused a classification."

Critics of the BBFC continue to question the basis for such decisions. In a decision earlier this year to reject a film – NF713 – for an R-18 rating, the BBFC pointed to what they saw as "a real risk of eroticising sexual violence in a potentially harmful and dangerous manner". In defending their decisions, the BBFC also talk on occasion of their legal requirement to have regard for "potential harm", which they claim is no different from "harm to potential viewers", as stipulated by s.4A of the Video Recordings Act.

This question of whether bodies that censor material for society in general should focus on "actual harm" or "potential harm" has far-reaching consequences. As the BBFC themselves point out, the present position, following a ruling by the Honourable Mr Justice Mitting in respect of video game Manhunt 2 last year, is that the bar for censorship sits at "potential harm".

In rejecting Grotesque, the BBFC further argue that a film that catalogues sadistic acts, with little or no narrative or character development, is more likely to increase the potential for harm than a film where narrative and character elements are present. Research over the last decade or so has provided a contrary point of view, with a Home Office study (pdf) in 1998 providing some support for the view that violent offenders are more likely to identify with violent characters than non-violent ones.

Previously, the BBFC refused 18-certification to 2004 movie Murder Set Pieces, which it turned down earlier this year. Prior to that, one has to go back to 2005, when the BBFC refused 18-certification to the film Terrorists, Killers And Other Wackos, which included real clips of execution and torture. ®

Beginner's guide to SSL certificates

More from The Register

next story
Facebook pays INFINITELY MORE UK corp tax than in 2012
Thanks for the £3k, Zuck. Doh! you're IN CREDIT. Guess not
DOUBLE BONK: Testy fanbois catch Apple Pay picking pockets
Users wail as tapcash transactions are duplicated
Happiness economics is bollocks. Oh, UK.gov just adopted it? Er ...
Opportunity doesn't knock; it costs us instead
YARR! Pirates walk the plank: DMCA magnets sink in Google results
Spaffing copyrighted stuff over the web? No search ranking for you
In the next four weeks, 100 people will decide the future of the web
While America tucks into Thanksgiving turkey, the world will be taking over the net
Microsoft EU warns: If you have ties to the US, Feds can get your data
European corps can't afford to get complacent while American Big Biz battles Uncle Sam
prev story

Whitepapers

Choosing cloud Backup services
Demystify how you can address your data protection needs in your small- to medium-sized business and select the best online backup service to meet your needs.
Forging a new future with identity relationship management
Learn about ForgeRock's next generation IRM platform and how it is designed to empower CEOS's and enterprises to engage with consumers.
Security for virtualized datacentres
Legacy security solutions are inefficient due to the architectural differences between physical and virtual environments.
Reg Reader Research: SaaS based Email and Office Productivity Tools
Read this Reg reader report which provides advice and guidance for SMBs towards the use of SaaS based email and Office productivity tools.
Storage capacity and performance optimization at Mizuno USA
Mizuno USA turn to Tegile storage technology to solve both their SAN and backup issues.