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Few countries in the world suffer the same level of film censorship as Britain. As Channel 4 lines up for a 'Censored Weekend' of movies and documentaries, Radio 1's argues that hypocrisy, not morality, is the name of the game. Words: Mark Kermode

IT HAS NEVER BEEN MUCH FUN BEING A HORROR lan in Britain. \Vhile lilms like Zuni/211' Hex/1 lime/ix and Hie lii'i/ Dual are dixenihmx'elled liV the L‘L‘HMH'S. Hillel's like ill/Iv 'Ii't'm ('lmin .S'mr .llmwi‘n' tl’arts ()ne. 'l‘xxo and Three) are siltipl}' denied film or Video eertil‘ieatex altogether. .\lean\\hile. elaxxies sueh its Henri.“ l’orlmil ()ffll Serial Killer are re- edited to eomply with the eensorx‘ uhimx. \xhile home—grown horror l'ilmmakers like Ra} Brad} (/)’o_\‘ .l/('('l.\ (Hr/l \ull‘er the l‘inaneial penaltiex ol‘ heing hanned l‘rom the \'('R market.

In the paxt lortnight. the Bl'illxli Board ol'

l’ilm ('lasxil'ieation lt;t\ announeed t\\'o eertilieation deeixionx. hoth eoneerning horror \‘ideox. \xhieh jointl} highlight the \orr} state ol' l'K censorship. .\lo.\i notahl}. alter more than a decade ol' e\i|e lt'om otlr \ideo \helxex.

'Any material which the censors believe may offend the offendable, or allegedly corrupt

'l’lie Ift'n/‘vixl \\a.\ l‘inall) granted an IR CL‘l'lll'lClllL‘ \\ilhotll L'l|l\. 'lihix deeision. \xhieh made the l‘ront pagex ol~ most national tie\\\papel'\. marked an end to one ol' the RBI-("x most L‘lltltztl’l'itxxiltg \tlppt'e\.\itiii\ ol a horror elaxsie. and \\a\ greeted \xith polite applause all round.

But a le\\ tlit}’\ later. \\ ith liar lL‘\.\ l‘anl’are. a l’urther statement l‘rom the Board announeed

their hanning ol' a ’lo\\' hudget Italian horror

Video' entitled .‘i ('ul [II '/'/t(' lira/'11. ol \\'hieh

12 THE “ST i-vz, -'. ;' ":8":

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l'e\\' people other than hard—eore horror de\'otee.\ had e\ en heard. 'l'he penultimate ol'l‘ering l’rom deeeaxed Italian horror legend l.ueio l'iulei (dit'eetor ol Zombie l'i/m/i lulu/em and the long-hanned .\'('n' l'urk Rip/NT) .l ('u/ in ’/'/i(' lira/II i.\ a t_\'pieal \liee ol litirotraxh exploitation. a ludiet'ouxl) lurid xereen lantax)

about a horror direetor haunted h} \‘ixitilix ol-

\iolenee \x'hieh i\ at heat laughahle. and at \xorxt depresxingl} \mall—minded.

l'ior the BBH‘. ho\\'e\'er. it \\'a\ litr \Vorxe than that. heing dexerihed as 'potetitiall) harmlul heeause oli the inl‘luenee it ma} hare on the attitudes and hehaViour ol‘ a xignil‘ieant proportion ol' its likel} \ieuerx’. So the} l'L‘jCL'lel ll.

What do thexe t\\o deeixionx ha\ e in eommon'.’ Simpl} that they hoth lllllNll'illL‘ the who”) \uhjeeth e nature ol lilm eenxorship in

lllC l'K. lit the CLINC ()l‘ 1/./I(' l'fltUI't‘ixl. lllL' BBH’K thllhixxitm that there is no reaxon to \\itlthold a \ideo eertil‘ieate merel} eonl‘irms that l‘ormer ehiel eenxor .lttlttex l’erman \\a\ \xrong to han it in the lirst plaee. Worse still. the degree ol‘ \uhterl'uge \x'hieh lierman employed haek in the 80.x puhliel} elaiming that '/‘/u' liturt'isl hadn‘t heen submitted lor \‘ideo elaxxil'ieation. \\htl\l pri\'atel_\ eneouraging Warner Brothers not to e\ en Lt.\l\

lot' a eertil‘ieation l‘Lti\L‘.\ strong quextions





ahout the aeeountahilit} ol‘ the BBH'. .\'o\\. under the leaderxhip ol‘ President Andreas \\'hittam Smith and I)ireetor Rohin

l)u\al. the RBI-if is deelaring a new age ol‘

‘openness'. paxsing l)a\id ('ronenherg‘s ('rm/i uneut on Video. gi\ing a einematie thumhx up to l.u/im. and men setting up a \xehsite to anxxx'er puhlie enquiries. But as the lth knou all too \\ ell. it takes more than a eouple ol‘ \\'ell-intentioned ge\lllt'c‘.\ to hring ahout a \ea-ehange in Britain’s draeonian attitude to horror. .'\nd \x'hile wme tnore mainstream ol‘l‘erings ma} indeed he granted immunit} l‘rom the eenxors‘ seixsors. 'lo\\ hudget ltalian horror \ideox‘ \xitlt audieneex \maller than the population ol‘ Iidinhurgh eontinue to he treated \\ ith eontetnpt.

'l'hix ol~ course has lL‘\.\ to do \\ illt \\lto\ in po\\er at the BBH'. than mm the letter ol~

Britiin laxx. \xhieh has heen designed to support outrageous degreex ol‘ lilm and \ ideo eensorxhip. l'nder the terms of hoth the Video Reeordings Act and the ()hseene l’uhlieationx Act (the rhetorie of which eehoes throughout the RBI-("x reieetion ol‘ .l (iii In The lira/n). an) material which the eenxorx helie\ e ma} ol'l'end the ol'l'endahle. or allegedl} eorrupt the eorruptihle. is ol‘l'ieiall} out ol‘ hounds. .'\\ things stand. that mean\ that hundredx ol‘ lo\\ hudget horror Videos remain illegal in the l'K.

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