Film Review: Video Nasties – The Definitive Guide (2010)

SYNOPSIS:

Prepare to be corrupted and depraved once more as Nucleus Films releases the definitive guide to the Video Nasties phenomenon – one of the most extraordinary and scandalous eras in the history of British film. For the first time ever on DVD, TRAILERS to all 72 films that fell foul of the Director of Public Prosecutions are featured with specially filmed intros for each title in a lavish three-disc collector s edition box-set, alongside a brand new documentary – VIDEO NASTIES: MORAL PANIC, CENSORSHIP AND VIDEOTAPE. Disc One presents the 39 titles which were successfully prosecuted in UK courts and deemed liable to deprave and corrupt. Disc Two presents the 33 titles that were initially banned, but then subsequently acquitted and removed from the DPP’s list. Disc Three This era-defining documentary features interviews with filmmakers Ruggero Deodato ( Cannibal Holocaust ) Neil Marshall ( The Descent , Doomsday ), Christopher Smith ( Severance , Black Death ) and MP Graham Bright as well as rare archive footage featuring James Ferman (director of the BBFC 1975-1999) & Mary Whitehouse. Taking in the explosion of home video, the erosion of civil liberties, the introduction of draconian censorship measures, hysterical press campaigns and the birth of many careers born in blood and videotape, West s documentary also reflects on the influence this peculiar era still exerts on us today. Extras include a gallery of original video company idents and extensive gallery of lurid cover art for every video nasty.

REVIEW:

I recently had the pleasure of reviewing what I consider, an important watch on the historical horror note for viewing. In fact, I’ll go above and beyond to say that this “should be” a recommended viewing for horror fans. Why? simply because it really covers alot of ground on the era of “video nasties”. Or should I say the legend of video nasties.So what are these nasties…you ask? Well, I’m sure many are all too familiar with these video gems, however in a nutshell they are the movies that arrived on the scene deemed too controversial, too gory or too over the top for video rental audiences. Yes, most are strictly horror, but these were deemed “nasty” as they make no effort to hide some really dark subject matters such as rape, dismemberment, extreme gore, extreme violence and sexual situations. The DVD set which features 3 packed DVD volumes does a better job at covering this subject but that gives you a taste.

The sad part is, this at current is only available in PAL format from the UK. In fact, I’ve provided a link directly here http://www.amazon.co.uk/Video-Nasties-Definitive-Guide-Limited/dp/B003X22LI6

There is alot of explanation on the meaning of “nasties”, the origin.” the era” and the media controversy surrounding these films. This was a time when video was a mainstream interest with the arrival of players on the market and the films to support hem. As mentioned, there really wasn’t a standard set in place to police the content of videos from that time. So as a result some really extreme ones arrived with even more extreme covers to promote them. These extreme ones were to eventually fall into the “video nasty” category. Nasty, itself arose from the media report headlines that just seemed to have caught on as a moniker classification. In the event that you’ve done you homework, this was a movement that was established over in Britain.

We are taken back into a time when the politicians were tying to censor our content and use the media to sensationalize the violence in these films. Sure, there was extreme content, but it went as far as to arrest store owners for stocking, to confiscate all the videos deemed “nasty” and even exploit a fabricated report that 5 years were being affected by these films. It’s all quite interesting especially as it points out that the films were “hard enough” to acquire and yet it was being promoted that 5 year olds were getting copies. The narratives and interviews presented bring in some of the key folks who were caught up in this censorship mess. They give plenty of details on how the reports, articles and issues were turned around and supported by the powers that be. What I found most funny was that the “list” itself became a must see viewing tool to acquire these for die hard horror fans. As in many cases like this, the controversy elevated the products making them more in demand in underground circles.

The censorship issues and rating systems have since gone on to more civil days which is obviously evident in the content that even makes its way onto the theatre screens these days. But what is pointed out is that, if they tried to do it once, they’ll try some day again. History should be studied to refer to the msitakes of yesterdays.

There is plenty of content to view in this set that even includes all the video distributor motion logos in a on-going single collaged clip. A countdown of the films begins the first documentary that runs thru a clip of every film on the list. If that isn’t enough it contains a whole DVD just dedicated to the trailers of these films.

I am hoping that maybe as a result of this review or the publishers of this fine piece will supply an American NTSC version soon as I’m sure this will be a seller. Now for those who are scratching there heads, please note this is “not” a collection of all the 39 banned films condensed into a 3 DVD set. In fact, I don’t think that feat is possible regardless with all the licensing that would have to be acquired. What it is….. is 540 minutes about the 39 films. One disk is full of all the trailers and some cool intros. another contains the documentary about the films, those who were involved and the media history.

Even as I write this, there might be some confusion on the actual number count of films. For convenience I have included this little snipped provided from Amazon.com (writer ShawnDuHast) who sums up the 3 disks

“Disc One is the 75 minute brand new documentary which this time even includes NEW interviews with Sir Graham Bright MP and Ex-Scotland Yard Peter Kruger and essentially Martin Barker!

Then two discs of trailers which are proceeded by interesting, informative intros from critics and directors who were influenced by the movies.

Disc Two presents trailers for the 39 films that were successfully prosecuted and banned under the Obscene Publications Act.

Disc Three features trailers for 35 other titles that were on the DPP list but not prosecuted.

This REALLY is The Definitive Guide at a 9 hour running time!”

In closing this set kicks ass, the films may not be as nasty as “The Serbian Film” or as demented as the “Human Centipede” but they still stand as really strong contenders for home viewers to sit thru. On e look at “Cannibal holocaust” will support that statement. Even with our current culture of over the tops and high violence in cinema these collection of films are ones that deliver in there own ways and have also served to influence the filmmakers of today. It may take some effort on your part to track down all the original “nasties” films, but at least you can get a solid and important overview from director Jake West and the team who put this collection together.

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