Back in the early 80s, the British government made a pretty radical and VERY conservative decision: they decided to ban or heavily censor movies before they were released on video.
You see, before then, anything that was released in the theatre could be released on video. And those videos were getting into the hands of children. And we couldn’t have that, now could we?!
IT’S FOR THE CHILDREN!!!
It all actually started in 1982. The makers of The Driller Killer took out a full page ad for their video featuring the rather graphic box art. (There was a man getting drilled in the head with lots of blood spewing everywhere.) Then, right after that, Go Video sent an anonymous letter to Mary Whitehouse of the National Viewers And Listeners Association. They wanted to drum up business for their new movie, so they sent this letter to complain about the horrible violence and sadistic scenes of sexual torture featured in it. Their idea was that word would get out and people would run to see this crazy new movie.
The movie was Cannibal Holocaust. And the idea was terrible. It backfired on them and got the video banned. It and The Driller Killer were offenders number one and two for Mrs. Whitehouse and Conservative MP Graham Bright. Between the two of them, the Video Recordings Act Of 1984 was passed on September 1, 1985. Now the government could do all the censoring it wanted, cutting violent bits out of any film at any time. All movies released on video after this date had to be submitted to the committee and any film released before had to be re-submitted within three years.
IT’S FOR THE CHILDREN!!!
For the most part, only really low-budget horror films were really affected. Of course, The Exorcist ran afoul of the law and was pulled from shelves, as was Straw Dogs…which was filmed in England and wasn’t really horror at all!
The funniest thing about all of this was the fact that the police were in charge of pulling videos that they thought were bad. That means that the police could raid a video store and pull, oh, say, Best Little Whorehouse In Texas because they thought it was porn. (This actually happened.)
Basically, a video is pulled from the shelves and then prosecuted. They bring charges against not only the store/owner, but also the production company and the distribution company. And God help you if you were caught giving an unclassified movie to a minor.
IT’S FOR THE CHILDREN!!!
The whole list thing has been pretty much relaxed by now, although it took a long time. The Evil Dead was just recently (2001) re-released in England completely uncut.
In all, there are 74 Video Nasties. These are films that were banned under the Obscene Publications Act. The list was made public in 1983 (which probably boosted their sales worldwide) and they were prosecuted thereafter. Of those, 39 were successfully prosecuted. (Most of these have been released in cut versions since then.) The other 35 had troubles but were released because of bad prosecutions.
Why do I bring all of this up? Well, I have taken it upon myself to see all 74 of these films. Some I’ve seen already. (Hell, The Evil Dead is one of my favorite movies!) Some are very hard to find. Most, though, can be found on Netflix, which is kinda funny, huh?
I’ll try to keep the movies in alphabetical order so you can find them. Check back on this page frequently because I’ll update it with new reviews as I see the movies. They will, hopefully, all be here at some point in the future.
I can’t wait.
(For a much fuller and more accurate version of the Video Nasty story, check out wikipedia’s page.)
The following list was taken from the Wikipedia page. Some of the titles don’t necessarily line up with what they’re known as here in America, so the titles I use on the review pages might be different. Don’t be totally confused if you click on Blood Rites and it takes you to a page titled The Ghastly Ones.
Also, I have two ratings for each of these movies. The first is the normal rating. The second is a Nastiness Rating that rates how much it deserves to be on the list.
(EDIT 2018: Many, many, many of these reviews were written pre-#MeToo Revolution. I’ve gone through and edited out anything that I thought was super problematic and even put in a few comments to show how problematic the movies themselves are. But keep in mind that basically all of these movies are SUPER problematic. It’s the nature of exploitation film. I absolutely recognize that. At this time, I only have 16 of these movies left to watch. The reviews I write from here on out will address the nature of these films, but I wasn’t thinking in that way when I wrote the other 58 reviews. If you see something that I missed in my recent pass through/edit, let me know. I don’t have a problem having a dialogue and changing things. I just wish that changes to my little website could translate into changes in our society.)
- Absurd (original/alternate titles: Rosso Sangue, Anthropophagus 2 — released with 2m 32s cut in 1983, but was withdrawn post VRA, and has never been re-submitted for classification. Has a release in the United States uncut under the title Horrible)
- Anthropophagous: The Beast (original title: Antropophagus — released with approximately 3m of pre-cuts as “The Grim Reaper” in 2002)
- Axe! (original title: Lisa, Lisa — re-released uncut in 2005)
- The Beast in Heat (original title: La bestia in Calore) (Banned outright)
- The Beyond (original title: E tu vivrai nel terrore – L’Aldilà — re-released uncut in 2001)
- Blood Feast (re-released uncut in 2005)
- Blood rites (original title: The Ghastly Ones) (Banned outright)
- Bloody Moon (original title: Die Säge des Todes — released with 1m 20s cut in 1993, released uncut November 2008)
- The Boogeyman (re-released uncut in 2000)
- The Burning (re-released uncut in 2001)
- Cannibal Apocalypse (original title: Apocalypse Domani — released with 2s cut in 2005)
- Cannibal Ferox (alternate title: Make them Die Slowly – released with approximately 5m of pre-cuts plus 6s of additional cuts in 2000)
- Cannibal Holocaust (released in 2001 with 5m 44s cut to remove most animal cruelty and rape scenes)
- Cannibal Man (original title: La Semana del Asesino — released with 3s cut in 1993)
- Cannibal Terror (original title: Terror Caníbal — released uncut in 2003)
- Contamination (released uncut in 2004 with a 15 rating)
- Dead & Buried (re-released uncut in 2004)
- Death Trap (original title: Eaten Alive — re-released uncut in 2000)
- Deep River Savages (original/alternate title: Il paese del sesso selvaggio, Man from Deep River — released with 3m 45s cut in 2003)
- Delirium (Alternate title: Psycho Puppet – released with 16s cut in 1987)
- Devil Hunter (original title: Il cacciatore di uomini) (Passed uncut November 2008)
- Don’t Go in the House (released with 3m 7s cut in 1987)
- Don’t Go in the Woods (released uncut in 2007)
- Don’t Go Near the Park (released uncut in 2006)
- Don’t Look in the Basement (original title: The Forgotten — released uncut in 2005 with a 15 rating)
- The Dorm That Dripped Blood (Alternate title: Pranks – re-released with 10s cut in 2001)
- The Driller Killer (released with cuts in 1999 – re-released uncut in 2002, now considered to be public domain)
- The Evil Dead (re-released uncut in 2001)
- Evilspeak (re-released uncut in 1999)
- Exposé (re-released with approximately 30s cut in 2006)
- Faces of Death (released with 2m 19s cut in 2003)
- Fight For Your Life (Banned outright)
- Flesh for Frankenstein (Alternate title: Andy Warhol’s Frankenstein – re-released uncut in 2006)
- Frozen Scream (Banned outright)
- The Funhouse (Released uncut in 1987, re-classified 15 in 2007)
- Gestapo’s Last Orgy (original title: L’ultima orgia del III Reich) (Banned outright)
- The House by the Cemetery (original title: Quella villa accanto al cimitero — re-released with 33s cut in 2001, released uncut in 2009)
- House on the Edge of the Park (original title: La casa sperduta nel parco — released with 11m 43s cut in 2002)
- Human Experiments (released with 26s cut in 1994)
- I Miss You, Hugs and Kisses (released with 1m 6s cut in 1986)
- I Spit on Your Grave (original title: Day of the Woman — released with 7m 2s cut in 2001)
- Inferno (re-released with 20s cut in 1993 — re-released uncut in September, 2010)
- Island of Death (original title: Ta Pedhia tou dhiavolou — released uncut September, 2010)
- Killer Nun (original title: Suor Omicidi — re-released uncut in 2006)
- The Last House on the Left (passed uncut on the 17th March, 2008)
- Late Night Trains (original title: L’ultimo treno della notte — released uncut in 2008)
- Living Dead At Manchester Morgue (original title: Non si deve profanare il sonno dei morti — re-released uncut in 2002)
- Love Camp 7 (refused a certificate in 2002) (Banned outright)
- Mardi Gras Massacre (Banned outright)
- Nightmare in a Damaged Brain (re-released with pre-cuts in 2005)
- Nightmare Maker (Also known as ‘Butcher/Baker/Nightmare Maker’ and Night Warning on the credits of some versions) (Banned outright)
- Night of the Bloody Apes (original title: La Horripilante bestia humana — released with approximately 1m of pre-cuts in 1999)
- Night of the Demon (released with 1m 41s cut in 1994)
- Possession (released uncut in 1999)
- Prisoner of the Cannibal God (original title: La montagna del dio cannibale — released with 2m 6s cut in 2001)
- Revenge of the Bogey Man (original title: Boogeyman II — released with additional footage in 2003)
- The Slayer (re-released uncut in 2001)
- Snuff (Passed uncut in 2003, however it has not yet been re-released)
- SS Experiment Camp (original title: Lager SSadis Kastrat Kommandantur — released uncut in 2005)
- Tenebrae (original title: Tenebre — re-released uncut in 2003)
- Terror Eyes (original title: Night School — released with 1m 16s cut in 1987)
- There Was a Little Girl (1981 film) (UK title: Madhouse – released uncut in 2004)
- The Toolbox Murders (released with 1m 46s cut in 2000)
- Toxic Zombies also known as “Forest of Fear and “Bloodeaters” (Banned outright)
- Twitch of the Death Nerve (original title: Reazione a catena, aka Bay Of Blood aka Carnage aka Last House On The Left Part II — released uncut in 2010)
- Unhinged (released uncut in 2004)
- Visiting Hours (released with approximately 2m cut in 1986)
- The Werewolf and the Yeti (original title: La Maldición de la bestia) (Banned outright)
- The Witch Who Came From the Sea (released uncut in 2006)
- Women Behind Bars (original French title: Des diamants pour l’enfer) (Banned outright)
- Zombie Creeping Flesh (original title: Virus – aka, Hell Of The Living Dead — released uncut in 2002)
- Zombie Flesh Eaters (original title: Zombi 2 — re-released uncut in 2005) (alternate title: Zombie)
The following titles are not part of the official list, but people thought that they were. I watched them anyway: