The Mountain of the Cannibal God was originally released in United Kingdom under the name Prisoner of the Cannibal God, and added to the Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP) list of “video nasties” shortly after its home video release. Although The Mountain of the Cannibal God was one of the 33 “video nasties” not prosecuted under the Obscene Publications Act, it remained unavailable on home video until 2001.
Lucio Fulci’s The House by the Cemetery (1981) is notorious in the United Kingdom for being one of the 39 movies that were prosecuted under the Obscene Publications Act in the 1980s. Dubbed a ‘video nasty’ by the garbage British tabloids, The House by the Cemetery was effectively banned from distribution and personal possession…
If you are prepared to endure the awful dubbing, The House by the Cemetery is deserving of its cult reputation.
“Read the fine print. You may have just mortgaged your life!”
Directed by S.F. Brownigg and released in 1973, Don’t Look in the Basement is an independent horror film that was unfortunate enough to fall foul of the UK media upon it’s 1981 home release; yet fortunate enough to not be prosecuted under the Obscene Publications Act in 1985.
For me, Don’t Look in the Basement was an impulse buy on home video, spurred on by the film’s cult status and history as a ‘video nasty’.
“The line between sanity and madness can be crossed in a single step. And with this step you enter the nightmare world of terror. On the day the insane took over the asylum!”
One cannot discuss 1976’s most controversial theatrical release without first discussing the mythology of the ‘snuff’ film itself. You see, a snuff film is a filmed sequence that depicts the actual murder of another human being for distribution and financial exploitation. Morbid, yes?
Then came along Snuff: “The film that could only be made in South America…where life is cheap!”
The history behind Snuff however, is far more interesting than the film itself.
“Are the killings in this film real? You be the judge!”
Originally released in 1971, A Bay of Blood was later refused certification from the BBFC in 1972, ensuring that the film could not be shown at any cinema within the United Kingdom. Fast forward to 1984, and the unmonitored home video market was beginning to find traction with consumers. Bava’s A Bay of Blood would finally find a UK audience upon it’s simultaneous release on VHS and Betamax (from Hokushin under the title Blood Bath) that same year.
“Diabolical! Fiendish! Savage… You may not walk away from this one!”
During the videotape format war of the late 1970s and early 1980s, JVC’s VHS would compete for market share against Sony’s Betamax. Betamax was, in theory, the superior recording format but VHS would ultimately emerge as the preeminent home video format in 1986. Consumers could not justify the extra cost of a Betamax VCR, which was often more expensive that the VHS equivalent due to the higher quality construction of Betamax recorders.
“Decadence is their fate.”
The Original Faces of Death, as it would later be known as, is a controversial pseudo-documentary on death containing real stock footage of accidents, suicides, autopsies, and executions. But, when the stock footage was unable to tell the entire story, the filmmakers created scenes of staged violence, editing it together to create a coherent narrative.
“During the past 20 years I know that my compulsion to understand death was much greater than just an obsession. My dreams have dictated my mission. But now it is time to witness the final moment, to discover the circle that forever repeats ifself. The end of the beginning or the beginning of the end? I’ll leave that decision to you.”
Directed by Joe D’Amato, co-written by Joe D’Amato and George Eastman, and starring George Eastman, Antropophagus (1980) is an Italian horror film notorious in the United Kingdom for being described as a snuff film.
Antropophagus was retitled and released in the United Kingdom in 1980 as Anthropophagous: The Beast by distributor VFP. VFP opted to release an uncut print of the film on VHS which eventually caught the attention of the media, resulting in the title being added onto the Department of Public Prosecutions (DDP) list of “Video Nasties”.
“It’s not fear that tears you apart…it’s him!”
In 1981, Sam Raimi’s ultimate low-budget experience in grueling horror was released onto the unsuspecting public.
Controversial for it’s extremely graphic violence Raimi’s feature length debut was initially turned down by almost all U.S. Film distributors. When the movie was finally picked up by Irvin Shapiro in 1982 and given a foreign release, followed by a domestic release shortly afterwards, it was savaged by the hands of the censors and was even banned outright in certain countries…