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WRITTEN REVIEW: Video Nasties: Moral Panic, Censorship and Videotape

During the mid to late 80’s a wondrous thing was happening, horror films were being rented all over the world at various VHS rental institutions and the world was happy. That is until the King of England got involved and started telling people they couldn’t watch some of their favorite movies ‘cause they were too spooky.

Well, that’s mostly how it happened. Anyhow, Video Nasties begins as a fond look back at early video renting and horror enthusiasm, and turns into an interesting history of video censorship in the UK.

Being a HUGE fan of comic books, heavy metal and horror movies, I see a common thread shared between the three and that thread is censorship. The unjust regulation of an art form by people who don’t understand it, but who want to control it. This is why the Video Nasties were something to be "feared" in Great Britain during the 80’s.

A great example from the film was of this;

The Video Recording Bill was passed in Great Britain banning the distribution of certain horror films on the premise that children were viewing these films and it was negatively effecting their development. A strange comparison was begin made that suggests these horror films were affecting children similar to drugs. Now, there were studies conducted which supported these ridiculous claims, but as you may have guessed, these “facts” were equally ridiculous. I’m about to get mathematical on your ass, so try to keep up. One of the findings were that over 40% of six year old children watched Video Nasties. Well, this number was found by polling children, asking whether or not they have seen movies on the Video Nasty list. Out of forty-seven children, three claimed to have viewed a total of seventeen Nasties. Well basic math will tell you that three of forty-seven isn’t 40%, but seventeen, the number of films viewed, of forty-seven IS 40%. They totally lied about the facts to help get their crap bill passed.

Nothing irritates me more than Big Brother sticking it's nose into my personal life. Luckily for me I’m too young for that to have mattered and I live in the states. Speaking of living in the states, if you reside in the Fat Fifty, as I often refer to it, you may find that it's quite hard to get your hands on a copy of Video Nasties because it’s a UK release. I really wanted to see it so I downloaded it illegally, but don’t tell anyone okay?

If you’re into old VHS nostalgia and the Video Nasties, I recommend this documentary. Check it out!


★ ★ ★