I am now quite old. Understand I'm not really old but old enough to remember songs from the 80's and generally think the likes of Lady Ga Ga are a pile of tediously smelly shit. Now in the 80's aside from the shit music we had some fairly important things happen. Charles wed Di, we invaded the Falklands, the SAS stormed the Iranian embassy and the Berlin Wall crashed to the fucking floor marking the beginning of the collapse of the Eastern Block. All pretty fucking monumental shit but for me the most important thing that happened in the 80's apart from getting drunk on Mad Dog 20/20 was the Video Recordings Act of 1984 and the whole hilarious Video Nasty saga. I thought that as I lived through it I'd give you a little piece on it and end it with my top five 5 video nasties.
With the birth of home video in the late 70's and early 80's it began a change in the way we viewed films that still resonates to this day. You all get moist over the iPad, or new PS3 games but the day my dad brought home a top loading VCR is without doubt one of the most pivotal moments in my life. This thing was fucking huge. A couple of layers of breeze blocks and we would have had a fucking new house. The eject was edging towards dangerous as if you happened to have your hand over the top of the eject mechanism you were at best looking at a severed hand or the possibility of being launched into space. The problem with home video was that unlike the way violence was carefully controlled in cinema releases there wasn't the same control on video. It was considered that due to the lack of retail control over these that they could easily fall into childrens hands. Not being fucking funny but buying a Video Cassette in the 80's involved selling your mums jewellery or convincing dad it was remortgage time. Seriously something you can buy for about 3p at a carboot now cost you your first born in 1984.
The thing in the 80's was that had a constant flood of rightous arseholes telling you what you should and shouldn't watch. Various religious groups, the absolutely fucking annoying Mary Whitehouse and of course my favourite paper The Daily Mail all campaigned furiously for a tighter control. Problem was that their relentless annoyance coincided with a huge influx of badly made horror films from Europe. What followed is probably one of our countries proudest moments where stupidity overruled common sense. Police up and down began raids on video shops removing copies of films that basically had titles that sounded nasty. Manchester police famously removed a copy of The Best Little Whorehouse In Texas a rather inoffensive musical starring Dolly Parton. They thought it was a porno. Genius. The great thing is it was the likes of Driller Killer and Cannibal Holocaust that sparked all this folore.
The media in the 80's was an absolute fucking joke when it came to films and their relationship to public behaviour. Films were blamed for the likes of the Hungerford Massacre and the horrific Bulger case. As awful as these two events were and the impact they had on lives I have no doubt in my mind that these acts were carried out by evil people. You could have had them watch the fucking Care Bears every day of their lives and still these evil cunts would carry out their shit. You know as well as I do that some people are just bad. The Video Recordings Act 1984 allowed the board to demand cuts or ban outright. They could also demand prosecution of the studio or film makers for anything deemed to obscene. Over the course of time 72 films made the video nasty list of which 39 were prosecuted for obscenity. Of the list 39 have been released uncut, 23 with cuts and 11 still remained banned. This isn't due however to the content of the remaining 11 but mainly because they have never been resubmitted for classification.
So did the Video Recordings Act work? Well not really as it effectively gave birth to something that to this day is the spurge of the film studio and that's piracy. I saw The Evil Dead, The Texas Chainsaw Massacre, The Last House On The Left and many more on fuzzy VHS copies. To me it was part of growing up and if ever a video nasty fell into your grubby palms for a short time you would be a king amongst your friends and peers. I'm not going to list every nasty here there are plenty of sites where you can get your hands on that so as I finish this little piece I hope you now understand that censorship is a battle that is always being fought but as far as I'm concerned I choose what to watch and when to do so. As a father I vet everything my son watches and I'm very scrict on what his young eyes get to see but that's my choice and mainly because I know if a 4 year old watches a horror it's me who will have to sit up all night with him. Anyway check out my top 5 banned classics and watch them and enjoy.
5. The House By The Cemetry (1981)
Brutal, uncompromising and in parts darnright hilarious Lucio Fulci made this classic in 1981 and it was banned in the UK for it's beheadings and nasty murders. In fact it's actually pretty fucking good.
4. Tenebrae (1982)
Argento. Need I say fucking more?
3. Zombie Flesheaters (1979)
It's zombies and I fucking love it. If you haven't seen it then shame on you if you're a horror fan. Just brilliant.
2. The Last House On The Left (1972)
This film still disturbs me and if you take into account what year it came out in this must of shocked. One of Cravens finest.
1. The Evil Dead (1981)
Probably one of the most notorious "video nasties" ever but actually tree rape scene aside probably one of the least nasty ones. However it is genuinely scary and fucking awesome. I love it.