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ABSURD (Italy, 1981) Directed by Aristide Massacessi (as ‘Peter Newton’)
Although the (slightly cut) cinema version of this demented Italian part-Halloween clone, part sequel to Anthropophagus from Italy’s greatest cinematic jackdaw received a BBFC 18 certificate in 1982, the subsequent Medusa video, with BBFC cuts re-instated, was banned. No sign of a re-release yet, Absurd is available across Europe in a bewildering array of titles. Although some of the gore is graphic, there’s actually little here that would trouble the present BBFC regime.

ANTHROPOPHAGUS THE BEAST (Italy, 1980) Directed by Aristide Massacessi (as ‘Joe D’amato’)
Massacessi’s cannibal fable moves at a snails pace and contains more stock footage than a Greek tourist board advert, but is also graced with some of the most eye-popping gore in any of the so-called video nasties. Never previously viewed by the BBFC, Anthropophagus was released in an uncut form by ViP, and as a cut version by Radio Shack. There’s some confusion as to whether or not it was just the uncut version that was banned, but both were eventually withdrawn. The cut US version (known as The Grim Reaper) was passed by the BBFC on the 30 January 2002. This version runs at 82 minutes and is available as The Grim Reaper on Hollywood DVD.

AXE (USA, 1977) Directed by Fred Friedel
This dark but amateurish home invasion rape/revenge drama had already been passed ‘X’ with cuts by the BBFC for a theatrical release in 1982. These cuts were re-inserted into the VRO video release that ended up banned. The movie was eventually dropped from the DPP list and was passed by the BBFC as ‘The California Axe Massacre’ after cuts of 19 seconds in 2001. This version (longer than the previously passed ‘X’ version) is now available on the Exploited video label.

THE BEAST IN HEAT (Italy, 1977) Directed by Luigi Batzella (as ‘Ivan Katansky’)
Sleazy, stupid and almost unbelievably bad nazi exploitation flick culled from an equally dull war film with extra scenes added involving the obligatory sadistic female SS doctor and a crazed nymphomaniac midget! It first appeared on video on the JVI label, a very small company who only released a limited number of copies (with a Spanish cinema certificate!) which might explain why original copies of the film go for hundreds of pounds on the black market. Banned by the DPP, and most unlikely ever to be released in the UK again.

THE BEYOND (Italy, 1981) Directed by Lucio Fulci
Lucio Fulci’s most accomplished film is part zombie movie, part Lovecraftian haunted house mystery. It was passed ‘X’ by the BBFC (with around 2 minutes of cuts) for a theatrical release in 1981 and it was this version, released by Vampix video that was banned. Two versions (Elephant Video and VIPCO) were subsequently certified on home video with even more cuts. Finally passed uncut by the BBFC on 31 January 2001. The Beyond is currently available on VIPCO/Horror Video.

BLOODBATH (Italy, 1971) Directed by Mario Bava
Bava’s celebrated film could almost be described as an Agatha Christie whodunnit with added gore and jet-black comedy. It was also the prototype body count movie, taken to its zenith by FRIDAY THE 13TH. As ‘A BAY OF BLOOD’ (one of its many alternative titles), Bloodbath was rejected for a cinema certificate in 1972, so it’s hardly surprising that the Hokushin Video version ended up on the DPP list. A cut version was released by Redemption Video in 1994 (also as Bay of Blood) and the same version was re-certified for a Film 2000 release in 2002.

BLOOD FEAST (USA, 1963) Directed by H. G. Lewis
The oldest film on the DPP list, this campy, barely professional but historically significant gore movie first saw the light of day in the UK on Astra home video. How such a patently amateurish effort could ever be considered likely to deprave and corrupt even the most timid viewer is anyone’s guess but it found itself on the DPP list, where it remained. It was eventually passed with 23 seconds of cuts by the BBFC in June 2001 and is available on Tartan Video.

BLOOD RITES (USA, 1967) Directed by Andy Milligan
The most gory of Andy Milligan’s period-piece horror movies shot on Long Island, this has all the Milligan hallmarks – wonderful costumes, terrible acting and a paper-round budget. Initially released on Scorpio Video, it was prosecuted and is one of the titles that remains in uncertified limbo although truth be told, there’s little in it that would upset the present BBFC. Blood Rites was remade by Milligan as Legacy of Blood in 1972, which was just as bad, but lacks any gore whatsoever.

BLOODY MOON (Spain, 1981) Directed by Jesus (‘Jess’) Franco
Jess Franco’s Spanish bottom-of-the-barrel slasher giallo (complete with the requisite Franco zooms to nowhere and endless disco grooving) was passed ‘X’ with cuts by the BBFC in 1982 for a theatrical release. Released by Inter-Light video in cut and uncut versions, it was the uncut version that ended up on the DPP list, although both were eventually withdrawn. Bloody Moon was re-issued in 1994 by VIPCO with 1 minute and 20 seconds of cuts.

THE BOGEYMAN (USA, 1980) Directed by Ulli Lommel
Former Fassbinder pupil and assistant Lommel produced this professional and eerie combination of HALLOWEEN and THE AMITYVILLE HORROR. Passed ‘X’ and uncut by the BBFC (as The Bogey-Man) for a theatrical release in 1980, the same version released on VIPCO video was later banned. It was re-issued by the newly re-formed VIPCO in 1992 with cuts. Finally re-issued uncut in 2000 by VIPCO/Horror Video.

THE BURNING (USA, 1980) Directed by Tony Maylam
Tony Maylam’s uneven but graphic variation on FRIDAY THE 13TH (complete with Tom Savini make-up effects) was the release that resulted in all Thorn-EMI’s subsequent horror movie videos being butchered prior to certification. Passed with cuts for a theatrical ‘X’ in 1981, Thorn EMI mistakenly issued a version on home video that re-instated the BBFC cuts. This version was banned (on the list the movie appears as ‘The Burning – (un-cut)’), but the cut version remained available until Thorn-EMI ceased trading. The Burning was finally passed uncut by the BBFC on August 2002 – released by VIPCO/Horror Video (the first VIPCO release in 1992 was 19 seconds shorter than this version, and was the same as the Thorn EMI cut version).

CANNIBAL APOCALYPSE (USA/Italy, 1980) Directed by Antonio Margheriti (as ‘Anthony M Dawson’)
Margheriti’s cannibal film is a gory exploitation flick that is part Vietnam parable and part bloodthirsty action movie and owes less to the other banned cannibal atrocities and more to George Romero’s zombie movies. Never viewed or certified by the BBFC, the Replay home video had an unofficial ‘XX’ certificate and was uncut. Listed by the DPP, Cannibal Apocalypse remains uncertified and unavailable in the UK.

CANNIBAL FEROX (Italy, 1981) Directed by Umberto Lenzi
Lenzi’s quicky rip-off of the altogether more professional Cannibal Holocaust is one of the most gruesome and unpleasant films on the DPP list, all the more so for the excess of real animal mutilations. Replay issued the uncut version of the film initially (it had never been viewed by the BBFC) with an unofficial and self-imposed ‘XX’ certificate, and later issued a heavily pre-cut (by about 7 minutes) version with an 18 certificate, though whether this certificate was ever officially issued is subject to debate. The movie appears on the DPP list as Cannibal Ferox – (un-cut), but both versions were prosecuted and ended up banned before eventually disappearing from the list (probably because Replay ceased trading). Cannibal Ferox was finally passed by the BBFC with 6 seconds of cuts by VIPCO/Horror Video in 2002, though the company pre-cut it before submission by around 7 minutes!

CANNIBAL HOLOCAUST (Italy, 1978) Directed by Ruggero Deodato
By turns intelligent, brutal, haunting and unwatchably graphic, Deodato’s vicious critique of the ‘mondo’ style of documentary film-making is one of the most contentious films on the DPP list. Its notoriety was enhanced by the fact that the UK video label that released it (Go Video) sent a copy to Mary Whitehouse with a mock letter of outrage, thus helping to kick-start the whole video nasty phenomenon. It had never been viewed by the BBFC when released, pre-cut (although the film is available in a bewildering variety of versions around the world, so the uncut version is difficult to identify). Considering the smorgasbord of atrocities on view (including real animal mutilation) it is no surprise that the movie ended up prosecuted and banned. It remained uncertified and unavailable until finally passed by the BBFC in July 2001 after cuts of 5 minutes 44 seconds and released on the VIPCO/Horror Video label.

CANNIBAL MAN (Spain, 1971) Directed by Eloy De La Iglesia
This dark and beautifully shot melodrama owes nothing to the other cannibal movies on the DPP list, being an Iberian take on Polanski’s Repulsion. Released on video by Intervision uncut, it was successfully prosecuted and banned, probably because of the exploitative title change. Passed in November 1993 with 3 seconds of cuts (in order to ensure that the 18 certificate version was different from the prosecuted version) and released by Redemption.

CANNIBAL TERROR (Spain, 1981) Directed by Julio Tabanero (as ‘Allan W. Steeve’)
Utterly amateurish and inept cross between a Euro-crime drama and cannibal splatter movie that’s a lot less interesting than it sounds. Released initially on Modern Films Video, Cannibal Terror found itself banned partly because of its association with the other banned cannibal movies and partly because of some barely professional gore. After a short spell on the list, the movie was eventually dropped and was finally passed uncut (the film contains none of the animal mutilation or sexual violence that made Ferox and Holocaust so problematic) by the BBFC in March 2003 and released on Screen Entertainment DVD.

CONTAMINATION (Italy, 1980) Directed by Luigi Cozzi (as ‘Lewis Coates’)
Argento buddy and occasional associate Cozzi directed this jolly and reasonably entertaining variation on ALIEN and INVASION OF THE BODY SNATCHERS. Originally released pre-cut on video by ViP video (it had never received a BBFC certificate), this version was banned after being successfully prosecuted. A severely cut version was passed by the BBFC and released by European Creative Films in the mid 1980’s. Recently (Summer 2003) passed uncut by the BBFC and given a 15 certificate!!??! Not released as yet (July 2003).

DEAD AND BURIED (USA, 1981) Directed by Gary Sherman
Certainly the biggest budgeted and one of the most professional films on the DPP list, Dead and Buried is a haunting and graphic zombie movie with an unsettling atmosphere. Passed uncut for a British theatrical release in 1981, Thorn EMI must have been surprised when the same version found itself prosecuted and banned! Dead and Buried had a short stay on the list before being dropped. Re-released cut (by about 5 seconds) in the late 1980’s and released on the Video Collection label. Finally passed uncut for release by Polygram in 1999.

DEATH TRAP (USA 1976) Directed by Tobe Hooper
Hooper’s first film after The Texas Chainsaw Massacre is a weird southern-gothic black comedy with more graphic violence than is present in Hooper’s brilliant debut. Certified ‘X’ with cuts by the BBFC for a theatrical release in 1978, VIPCO released an uncut version on video that ended up banned, partly due to the video cover drawing comparisons with Hooper’s previous movie (that strangely never appeared on the DPP list) and partially due to a campaign by Mary Whitehouse. VIPCO released a cut version (by 25 seconds) in the mid 1990’s. The BBFC finally passed Death Trap uncut in November 2000 for the most recent VIPCO/Horror Video release.

DEEP RIVER SAVAGES (Italy, 1972) Directed by Umberto Lenzi
Lenzi’s dry run for his later Cannibal Ferox is a jungle re-make of A MAN CALLED HORSE (1970) starring Ivan Rassimov, an ex-British game show hostess called Me Me Lay and the usual array of animal slaughter. Refused a cinema certificate by the BBFC in 1975, it should have surprised no-one to see the uncut Derann video release appear on the DPP list. Eventually dropped, the movie remains uncertified and unavailable in the UK. It would require cuts to the obligatory scenes of animal cruelty if re-issued, even in these more lenient times.

DELIRIUM (USA, 1979) Directed by Peter Maris
A stupid vigilante thriller about a group of quazi-fascists who hire a Vietnam Vet psychopath to clean up the streets. Barely professional and never interesting, Delirium was a video premier in the UK (no-one with any business acumen would have picked it up for a cinema release) on VTC, and ended up on the DPP list thanks to some pretty inoffensive and brief gore shots. Picked up by Viz (no, not the comic) and re-released with 16 seconds of cuts with the title ‘Psycho Puppet’ in the mid 1980’s.

THE DEVIL HUNTER (Spain, 1981) Directed by Jesus (‘Jess’) Franco
Another Franco effort (which he took on when original director, Armand De Ossorio walked off set – no doubt after reading the script for the first time) containing his customary frantic zooms and female nudity, this extraordinary effort manages to cross RAIDERS OF THE LOST ARK (1981) with ANTHROPOPHAGUS! Unsurprisingly a video premier in the UK, The Devil Hunter was released by Cinehollywood and ended up banned, probably more to do with Franco’s obsession with naked women being whipped than the very little gore on display. The Devil Hunter remains uncertified and therefore banned, and is so poor, that it’s unlikely to be picked up for re-release – although there’s little in the content, other than some of Franco’s fetishistic whipping scenes, that would cause the BBFC sleepless nights.

DON'T GO IN THE HOUSE (USA, 1980) Directed by Joseph Ellison
A pyromaniac take on PSYCHO (1960) with a particularly exploitative tag-line (‘They died screaming and in chains!’), Don’t go in the House does contain some pretty extreme imagery as well as an intense central performance, but is ruined by some sub-Franco disco grooving (including one annoying ditty by the name of ‘Struck by Boogie Lightning’) and a very low budget. The BBFC cut the movie when certifying it ‘X’ for a theatrical release in 1980, and the Videospace version re-instated these cuts, hence it’s appearance on the DPP list. It was eventually dropped before being re-certified with further cuts for a post-VRA video release from Apex.

DON'T GO IN THE WOODS ... ALONE! (USA, 1980) Directed by James Bryan
The sort of movie that Ed Wood would have made if he’d lived long enough to cash in on the late ‘70’s slasher phenomenon, Don’t Go In The Woods…Alone! Is totally inept in every possible way. A video premier in the UK, the film was released uncut by VRO and in spite of the relatively low level of gore (made even less offensive by the technical ineptitude of the whole exercise) the movie found it’s way to the DPP list and uncertified oblivion, which it enjoys today. To be honest, there’s little in Don’t Go In The Woods…Alone! that would disturb the good people of Soho Square these days.

DON'T GO IN THE PARK (USA, 1979) Directed by Lawrence Foldes
A great example of an utterly forgettable and thoroughly routine effort elevated to notoriety simply by being listed by the DPP. A sort of cannibal-possession-reincarnation movie (which almost makes it sound worth seeing. Don’t.), Intervision’s uncut version was a premier in the UK for this flick, and given the poor quality gore, it’s something of a surprise to find it on the DPP list. It was dropped shortly afterwards (it may have been difficult to secure a conviction against such a cheesy effort) and remains unavailable since Intervision ceased trading.

DON'T LOOK IN THE BASEMENT (USA, 1973) Directed by S. F. Brownrigg
This ultra low-budget backwoods American ‘inside the asylum’ shocker actually transcends its cheapness and delivers a few decent shocks and has a weird, oppressive atmosphere. Never seen in the UK before Crystal Home Video released a heavily pre-cut version. Shorn of virtually any gore save for a few reaction shots, its appearance on the DPP list remains a mystery. The uncut version is apparently an early gore masterpiece but the truncated stump released in the UK was never successfully prosecuted and it was quietly dropped from the list. It has not been picked up for re-certification and remains in limbo. John Martin in his excellent book ‘The Seduction of the Gullible’ suggests that the movie might have fallen foul of an old BBFC guideline against the inappropriate portrayal of psychiatric treatment.

DRILLER KILLER (USA, 1979) Directed by Abel Fererra
Another notorious title, Driller Killer is, in fact, a low-budget variation on TAXI DRIVER (1976) and was Hollywood mainstream director Abel Ferrara’s first movie. Scuppered by graphic cover art, and by its post-punk nihilism, it’s hardly a surprise when the pre-cut (which contained all the gore, but left out some dialogue) VIPCO release ended up banned. It’s subsequent re-release in a cut form by the BBFC in 1999 was something of a watershed for previously banned films, a glut of former banned titles were re-submitted after Driller Killer received its certificate. The movie was finally passed uncut by the BBFC in November 2002.

THE EVIL DEAD (USA, 1982) Directed by Sam Raimi
What needs to be said that hasn’t already about Sam Raimi’s comic book gore extravaganza? Probably the most notorious title on the list, those who watch it often wander what all the fuss is about and certainly a number of films passed uncut by the BBFC (Peter Jackson’s BAD TASTE (1986) springs to mind) contain a great deal more graphic mayhem. Passed by the BBFC with minor cuts for a theatrical release in 1982, Palace were astonished to see the same version appear on the DPP list. Over 40 prosecutions (the vast majority of which found in its favour) later, the BBFC were forced, somewhat shamefacedly, to remove more material from the subsequent re-issued version in an episode that questioned the very existence of the BBFC and the value of its certificates. The Evil Dead was finally passed uncut by the BBFC in June 2002 for the Feature Film Company.

EVILSPEAK (USA, 1981) Directed by Eric Weston
A male version of CARRIE (1976) set in a military academy and involving Satanists, bullies and possessed pigs, Evilspeak takes a while to build up to its gore-drenched climax, but delivers some striking splatter at the end. A video premier from Videospace in the UK, Evilspeak was listed by the DPP and spent some time on the list before being dropped after Horror Classics released an 18 certified version with 3 and a half minutes of cuts, including almost all of the gore at the climax. It is this version that is currently available.

EXPOSÉ (UK, 1975) Directed by James Kenelm Clarke
A cheap and ineffective though undeniably sleazy variation on Sam Peckinpah’s STRAW DOGS (1972 – and a film with it’s own history of censorship problems), Exposé plays out like ‘Carry On Psycho’. The cinema release was pre-cut by the distributors before getting an ‘X’ certificate and this version appeared on Intervision video before being banned. Siren Video re-issued the movie post Video Recordings Act with an 18 certificate, at the cost of 51 seconds of cuts. This version has subsequently played on Satellite TV.

FACES OF DEATH (USA/Japan, 1979) Directed by Conan Le Cilaire
Queasy mix of real-life death and mayhem and patently phoney faked footage parcelled together and introduced (by an actor dressed as a coroner) as a documentary on the meaning of death. Made for the Japanese market, this pre-cut Atlantis video release unsurprisingly found it’s way onto the DPP’s list, where it remains. A number of sequels followed, but none were officially released in the UK. Even in these more ‘enlightened’ times, the chances of this one sneaking past the BBFC unscathed is slim, to say the least.

FIGHT FOR YOUR LIFE (USA, 1977) Directed by Robert Endleson
A poor-mans variation on the themes most vividly explored in Wes Craven's LAST HOUSE ON THE LEFT, but with an added racial dimension (as if Craven’s movie didn’t contain enough!), Fight For Your Life would be unwatchably offensive if it weren’t so shoddy. Rejected by the BBFC when submitted for a cinema certificate in 1981, unsurprisingly Vision On, when acquiring the UK video rights, didn’t bother submitting it and released it uncut. To no-ones surprise, it ended up on the DPP’s list and remains in uncertified limbo. Fight for your Life won’t receive a future uncut UK release as it’s unlikely that the BBFC could cut a version to bring it into line with their own guidelines.

FLESH FOR FRANKENSTEIN (Italy, 1973) Directed by Paul Morrissey
Impressive, at times quite entertaining Warhol Factory product that probably represents the most professional and interesting output from that highly uneven source. It was cut by the BBFC for its cinema release ‘X’ certificate in 1975. The version released by VIPCO on video re-instated these cuts and promptly found itself banned. The film was dropped when a re-issued in 1996 by VIPCO/Horror Video with an 18 certificate that was essentially the same version as that passed in 1975. Although seized by a few police forces, Morrissey’s companion piece, the equally gory BLOOD FOR DRACULA (1972), never officially appeared on the DPP list. Both films contained inserts directed by Antonio Margheriti, and the extent to which the Italian or the American was responsible for the majority of the film is still subject to debate.

FOREST OF FEAR (USA, 1979) Directed by Charles McCrann
Dirt-cheap 16mm home movie that plays out with more than a passing nod to the earlier, and better I DRINK YOUR BLOOD (1972), with it’s army of bloodthirsty hippies and butcher’s-shop effects. Released pre-cut (but with all the gore intact) by Monte Video without a BBFC certificate, the movie found itself banned, and it remains in uncertified limbo. There is little in the movie that the new, ‘enlightened’ BBFC would have a problem with as most of the deaths take place off-camera and all the viewer sees is the messy aftermath.

FROZEN SCREAM (USA, 1982) Directed by Frank Roach
Utterly inoffensive but completely forgettable mix of medical mumbo-jumbo and that hoary old chestnut, the search for immortality, Frozen Scream is one of the most mystifying additions to the DPP list. A video premier in the UK from Intervision, the movie was uncut and managed to find its way onto the DPP list, although the reasons why are beyond me. Quietly dropped and never successfully prosecuted, Frozen Scream would have very little trouble getting a certificate today, although officially it remains uncertified and unavailable.

THE FUNHOUSE (USA, 1981) Directed by Tobe Hooper
The powers-that-be must have been out to get Tobe Hooper, no other theory fits why this effective little chiller and his previous cinematic effort Death Trap ended up on the list. The Funhouse is a fairly standard variation on the urban legend of kids stuck in a carnival overnight when the freaks come out to play. Certified uncut for a theatrical ‘X’ certificate, the same version, released by CIC was added to the DPP list before being quietly dropped before a prosecution could be brought. It was then re-certified, again uncut, in 1987. Rumours abound that this movie was victim of a case of mistaken identity, with the real DPP target being Victor Janos’s much more graphic and unsettling LAST HOUSE ON DEAD END STREET (1976), which was available as a bootleg with the alternative title of The Funhouse during the run-up to the video nasties furore.

GESTAPO'S LAST ORGY (Italy, 1977) Directed by Cesare Canevari
Pretty vile and exploitative, though certainly professional, rip-off of Cavani’s THE NIGHT PORTER (1972), which depicts a great deal of cruelty and sex but to no purpose other than titillation. It is certainly the most offensive of the ‘nazi death camp’ films that appeared on the list, though this is, in part, due to the fact that it is so well-made. Given that superficially similar films (ILSA SHE WOLF OF THE SS, DEPORTED WOMEN OF THE SS SPECIAL SECTION) had previously been refused cinema certificates, it’s hardly surprising that ViP didn’t bother with one for their video release and even less surprising is that the video earned the wrath of the DPP. It remains uncertified and will probably never receive a UK release again.

THE HOUSE BY THE CEMETERY (Italy, 1982) Directed by Lucio Fulci
The second of Lucio Fulci’s zombie movies to end up on the DPP’s list, this curious mix of Lovecraft, Romero and Freud is another of Fulci’s mini-masterpieces, with some great set-pieces and a wonderful, brooding atmosphere. Cut by about 30 seconds for a theatrical ‘X’ certificate, Vampix Video must have been pretty upset to see the same version end up on the DPP list in a move that resulted in the whole BBFC certification system being called into question. Subsequent re-releases have had over 4 minutes or, in the case of the VIPCO release, over 7 minutes of cuts (although the latter was carried out by the distributor, rather than the BBFC). A movie surely ripe for re-certification.

THE HOUSE ON THE EDGE OF THE PARK (Italy, 1980) Directed by Ruggero Deodato
An Italian take on The Last House on the left with the gory violence toned down, but the sexual violence cranked up, this is a well-made but exceptionally unpleasant and really sleazy effort. Rejected for a cinema certificate in 1982, the uncut Skyline release on video was unsurprisingly banned, although it was eventually dropped from the list, probably after Skyline ceased trading. Surprisingly passed with a whopping 11 minutes 43 seconds of cuts by the BBFC in July 2002. The truncated stump was released by VIPCO/Horror Video.

HUMAN EXPERIMENTS (USA, 1979) Directed by Gregory Goodell
An inoffensive and bland medical thriller with a woman in peril element that looks and feels like a southern drive-in effort. It probably drew the attention of the DPP because its title could be mis-interpreted as a nazi death camp film, and the video box art showed a partially naked woman under threat. Released uncut and uncertified on video by World of Video 2000, its appearance on the DPP list was short and it was quietly dropped. Re-released with 26 seconds of cuts and a shiny 18 certificate post VRA.

I MISS YOU HUGS AND KISSES (Canada, 1978) Directed by Murray Markowitz
Tedious whodunnit and courtroom drama with an incredibly complicated structure and a few violent scenes, mainly aimed at the unfortunate Elke Sommer. Released direct onto video by Intercity Video (who also released Joe D’Amato’s unbelievably sleazy PLEASURE SHOP ON 7TH AVENUE (1977) which amazingly never appeared on the DPPs list) uncut, the film was listed for a short time by the DPP, but was quickly dropped. A re-release, known as DROP DEAD DEAREST was issued post-VRA with just over a minute of cuts by Heron Home Entertainment.

I SPIT ON YOUR GRAVE (USA, 1978) Directed by Meir Zarchi
Infamous rape/revenge drama that splits viewers into ‘repellent exploitation’ and ‘brave feminist tract’ camps. Certainly deeply gruelling and problematic, it was no surprise when the movie was released direct to video by Astra home video. Although containing the US R certificate (which should have applied to the US version that had some 17 minutes shorter than the uncut version), the UK video release was, in fact, uncut. It quickly ended up on the DPP list after a number of successful prosecutions where it languished for over 15 years. Subsequent re-appraisal of the movie (it’s point of view can be best summed up by it’s original and less exploitative title ‘DAY OF THE WOMAN’) may have convinced the BBFC to certify the movie in November 2001, although they still cut it by 7 minutes 2 seconds. It was subsequently released by Elite Entertainment.

INFERNO (Italy/USA, 1980) Directed by Dario Argento
Beautifully shot, with a great score and some of Argento’s finest set-pieces, Inferno suffers from comparison with his earlier SUSPIRIA (1977), and interference from his American backers, although it remains one of his very finest works. Neither particularly graphic, nor containing much in the way of problematic material, the inclusion of Inferno on the DPP list frankly beggars belief. Originally certified ‘X’ with minimal cuts, the CBS/Fox video was the same version that turned up on the banned list. Subsequently dropped when the BBFC re-certified it with minimal cuts (28 seconds). The most recent Fox widescreen release re-instated 8 seconds of previous cuts. All cuts appear to relate to a sequence of a cat eating a mouse.

ISLAND OF DEATH (Greece, 1977) Directed by Nico Mastorakis
Cheap and nasty sexploitation pot-boiler with lots of travelogue footage and more acts of violence and perversion than you can poke a stick at, strung together by a plotless story. Cut by the BBFC for a cinematic release in 1981, the AVI video release re-instated all the controversial material and took its place on the DPP list. Post VRA, a proposed re-release (as ‘PSYCHIC KILLER 2’ – as confusing and pointless a title as you could imagine) pre-cut by 13 minutes was refused a certificate by the BBFC. Given the content, the recent VIPCO/Horror Video re-release was a genuine surprise, even though it was cut by 4 minutes and 9 seconds by the BBFC.

KILLER NUN (Italy, 1978) Directed by Giulio Berruti
One of a number of nun-sploitation and thinly disguised anti-Catholic movies, a genre that seemed to be sparked off by Ken Russell’s THE DEVILS (1971), and that included the considerably more violent FLAVIA PRIESTESS OF VIOLENCE (1976) as well as this slick but tasteless effort. Never released in the cinema in the UK (well would you have gone to see it?), it was released uncut on video and, although relatively mild, found itself on the DPP’s list, probably for it’s subject matter rather than its content. The dropping of the film from the list was the result of the re-certification of the film with minimal cuts for its Redemption release.

THE LAST HOUSE ON THE LEFT (USA, 1972) Directed by Wes Craven
Another of those films that splits viewers down the middle, The Last House on the Left, part rape/revenge and part home invasion movie is undoubtedly a gruelling and uncomfortable experience. The film has suffered more than its fair share of censorship woes. Refused a BBFC certificate when submitted for a theatrical release in 1974 and again in 2000, the Replay video version was probably pre-cut (so many versions of this movie are in circulation, a full uncut version may no longer exist) of some of the more extreme elements. Given the content, it was inevitable that the movie would end up on the DPP list. After 15 years of uncertified limbo, The Last House on the Left was finally re-issued, with 31 seconds of cuts by the BBFC, in July 2002. Released on Blue Underground Video.

LATE NIGHT TRAINS (Italy, 1978) Directed by Aldo Lado
Italian rip-off of The Last House on the Left, well made, but lacking the visceral punch of Craven’s movie, in spite of some pretty unpleasant scenes. Released on video by VWI in a slightly pre-cut form, the movie was banned as it contained sexual violence and rape, although it contains little gore. It remains uncertified and would require substantial cuts in order to meet present BBFC guidelines on sexual violence.

THE LIVING DEAD AT MANCHESTER MORGUE (Spain/Italy, 1974) Directed by Jorge Grau
A moody and very well made European variation of NIGHT OF THE LIVING DEAD (1968), wonderfully photographed and containing some pretty ripe gore. The original theatrical ‘X’ certificate was gained at the expense of cuts, most of which were re-instated by ViP when they released the movie on video. It was banned, and remained so until European Creative Films released an 18 certificate version with just under 2 minutes of cuts. An Anchor Bay (UK) release was passed uncut by the BBFC in May 2002 and released as ‘LET SLEEPING CORPSES LIE’.

LOVE CAMP 7 (USA, 1967) Directed by Robert L Frost
Softcore porno packaged as a nazi exploitation pic, Love Camp 7 pre-dates the brief trend in Nazi exploitation that appeared in Italian cinema post The Night Porter and owes more to the women in prison genre. Never submitted for a cinema certificate, the movie was circulated by two labels on video, Mountain, and Abbey. The film was listed by the DPP and remains uncertified. It was re-submitted by Salvation Films in 2002, and refused a certificate.

MADHOUSE (USA/Italy, 1981) Directed by Ovidio Assonitis
‘Everything including the kitchen sink’ dual-nationality slasher film with two wildly over-the-top central performances, a collection of gory deaths and that horror movie stand-by of one twin torturing the other. Released on video by Medusa in two versions, one uncut and one with a short cut to one sequence. Neither had a BBFC certificate, and the DPP list did not differentiate between the two versions. Relatively tame compared to some of the films on the list, although it remains uncertified and unavailable there isn’t much within it that would worry the present BBFC regime.

MARDI GRAS MASSACRE (USA, 1982) Directed by Jack Weis
Hopeless homage/rip-off of BLOOD FEAST and the other films of H G Lewis that manages to make even Lewis’s films look like big-budget masterpieces. So inept is it, that even the messy (and anatomically incorrect) effects revolving around heart removal fail to raise the interest. Released on video uncut by Goldstar among others, the gory effects (and possibly the relentless disco-grooving) brought this one to the attention of the DPP. It remains banned, thank God!

NIGHT OF THE BLOODY APES (Mexico, 1969) Directed by Rene Cardona
Extraordinary Mexican wrestling/monster/romance/police thriller with lots of unrealistic gore, some shocking acting, wrestling and inserts of footage of real operations. If not professional, it’s certainly unforgettable! Cut by a minute by the BBFC for a theatrical ‘X’ rating in 1974, the Iver Film Services video release was uncut. It remained on the DPP list until a heavily pre-cut version was passed by the Board in the late 1990’s. This same version was re-certified in 2002.

NIGHT OF THE DEMON (USA, 1980) Directed by James Wasson
Surely the best ever Yeti gore film, this 16mm backwoods effort is abysmally acted, but somehow overcomes this, as well as its feeble budget to deliver some striking gore. It also has one of the silliest and most entertaining climaxes of any of the DPP listed movies. Released uncut on video by Iver Film Services, scenes such as castration of a motor-cyclist, dismemberment of a fisherman, and the aforementioned climax resulted in a date with the DPP. It was removed from the list when a version cut by 1 minute 41 seconds by the BBFC in January 1994 was released by VIPCO.

NIGHTMARE MAKER (USA, 1981) Directed by William Asher
Strange psycho-drama with two fantastic over-the-top central performances, a couple of messy knife killings and one of the all time great car crashes. One of the more interesting films in the DPPs sights. A video premier in the UK on the Atlantis label, it was released uncut and, in spite of the fact that it contains virtually no contentious material, found itself on the list. Never successfully prosecuted, the movie was dropped shortly after, but that isn’t the end of the story. Re-submitted with the title ‘EVIL PROTÉGÉ’ in 1987, the relatively innocuous horror film was rejected. It remains uncertified and unavailable.

NIGHTMARES IN A DAMAGED BRAIN (USA, 1982) Directed by Romano Scavolini
Professional but slow-moving psycho-drama cum slasher movie that contains some impressive gore effects and was made and released in the USA as ‘NIGHTMARE’. Saddled with a particularly tasteless name change on video in the UK, the BBFC theatrical certificate required around 1 minute of cuts. When it appeared on video (released by World of Video 2000) the material cut was re-instated, thus resulting in its prosecution. Released apparently uncut with a BBFC 18 certificate by Screen Entertainment in 2002.

POSSESSION (France/W Germany, 1981) Directed by Andrzej Zulawski
Frankly indescribable avant-garde art film with Carlo Rambaldi effects involving spies, alienation, octopus-monsters, knife murders, World War 3 and monster kinkiness, Possession has to be seen to be believed. The theatrical release had no trouble getting a BBFC ‘X’ certificate uncut in 1981, so VTC must have been pretty pissed off to see the movie listed by the DPP. One high profile acquittal later, it was quietly dropped from the list. In 1999 it was finally re-released with an 18 certificate, again uncut.

PRANKS (USA, 1983) Directed by Jeffrey Obrow & Steven Carpenter
Another fairly tame slasher movie to fall foul of the DPP, this student project extended to feature length is better than it has any right to be, and contains one or two good sequences. Never released theatrically, Pranks (also released in the US as THE DORM THAT DRIPPED BLOOD) debuted on Canon video uncut. It was prosecuted and banned, but 10 seconds of cuts was all that was required to get an 18 certificate when it was re-issued in the early 1990’s. Passed uncut (according to the BBFC) in May 2002, and released by VIPCO/Horror Video but the running time is 1 second shorter than the previously cut (10 seconds) re-release.

PRISONER OF THE CANNIBAL GOD (Italy, 1978) Directed by Sergio Martino
Italian director-for-hire Martino joined the cannibal party late with this jolly ‘Indiana Jones meets the cannibals’ tale of derring-do, spoiled somewhat by the obligatory real animal slaughter, but redeemed in part by a gratuitous sequence involving Ursula Andress being body-painted. Cut for a theatrical release in 1978, Hokushin video released an uncut version on video that spent a short spell on the list before, like their other video nasties, being dropped when the company ceased trading. Re-certified with cuts (2 minutes 6 seconds) for the Screen Entertainment re-release in 2002.

REVENGE OF THE BOGEYMAN (USA, 1982) Directed by Ulli Lommel
Sequel to the BOGEY MAN is a movie-makers in-joke, set as it is on the set of a low-budget arthouse horror movie, that contains virtually every highlight from the first film re-run a second time. It’s nothing like as good as the first film. Revenge of the Bogey Man made its debut on home video, thanks to the good people at VTC. Uncut and uncertified, the re-hash of all of the first film’s gore set-pieces saw this one banned. It was eventually dropped from the list, and has recently been re-certified uncut by the BBFC.

SHOGN ASSASSIN (Japan/USA, 1980) Directed by Kenji Misumi/Robert Houston
New World Pictures amalgamation of two episodes of the ‘Lone Wolf and Cub’ series about a rogue samurai and his son avenging the death of his wife at the hands of a mad Shogun, whilst helping villagers out along the way. Shogun Assassin is brilliantly shot, well-acted, bloodthirsty and very well edited and arranged by New World. It first appeared in the UK thanks to VIPCO video and was uncut. Its orgy of bloodletting saw it banned, but it was soon dropped from the list after it was acquitted in court. Subsequent re-releases (by VIPCO/Horror Video) have been both cut (by 27 seconds) and, in 1999, passed uncut.

THE SLAYER (USA, 1982) Directed by J S Cardone
Low-budget but well-made supernatural slasher film set on an island and about how a woman's childhood nightmares in the shape of a horribly mutilated intruder, come back to get her. Unsurprisingly for such a low-budget and obscure film, VIPCO’s video release of the film was its first appearance on these shores, and it was listed by the BBFC on the back of one scene in which a character is stabbed through the breasts with a pitchfork. Other than that, it’s a pretty innocuous film. It was subsequently dropped by the DPP after a while, and was re-issued by VIPCO in the mid 90s with 20-odd seconds of cuts. Eventually re-released uncut by Screen Entertainment in 2001.

SNUFF (USA, 1971/76) Directed by Michael Findlay (uncredited Carter Stevens)
Unwatchably bad drug-induced take on the Manson Murders that was on the shelf for years until Distributor Allan Shackleton added a phoney gore murder at the end, marketed it as a real murder and released it to howls of protest. Never certified for a cinema release, Snuff was released for one day by Astra Home Video, before being withdrawn and the wider release cancelled due to the howls of protest. A sure-fire certainty for the banned list, although the murder itself is almost Pythonesque. Amazingly, it was re-certified uncut by the BBFC in May 2003 for an up-coming Blue Underground re-release. The re-certification of this effort, dismal though it is, is probably the clearest signal yet of the enormity of the change in the BBFC attitude to horror films over the last few years.

SS EXPERIMENT CAMP (Italy, 1976) Directed by Sergio Garrone
Soft-core porn masquerading as nazi death camp exploitation picture, the most unpleasant thing about this cheesy and pretty boring affair is the extraordinary dialogue and the movie’s English language title. First released in the UK on video (one of Go Video’s releases), the film was distributed uncut and was one of the first films seized and prosecuted by the DPP, thanks in part to a lurid advertising campaign. Banned and in uncertified limbo, there’s little chance of this being re-released anytime soon, though more because of reputation than actual content.

TENEBRAE (Italy, 1982) Directed by Dario Argento
Argento’s magical but ice-cold Giallo is a masterpiece of shock film-making and a return to more comfortable ground after the critical failure of Inferno. 5 seconds of cuts were required for an 18 theatrical certificate, the same version turned up on Videomedia and was subsequently banned. 1 second of further cuts was made when the film was re-released in 1999. The up-coming Anchor Bay release has finally been passed by the BBFC uncut (January 2003).

TERROR EYES (USA, 1981) Directed by Kenneth Hughes
Rather bland and flat slasher movie with a TV-movie feel, subject to a pun-heavy title change from the original ‘Night School’ and blessed with really crappy box art. Cut for a theatrical ‘X’ certificate in 1981, the uncut version ended up on Guild home video and was banned, in spite of the fact that virtually no gore is spilled. It was dropped and re-issued with about 1 and a half minutes of cuts in 1987.

THE TOOLBOX MURDERS (USA, 1978) Directed by Dennis Donnelly
Extremely mean-spirited and grim slasher movie, though well made, with a bizarre central performance from Cameron Mitchell and more female nudity than is normally seen in slasher movies. Cut by three minutes for a British theatrical release in 1979 (and was shown on a double bill with ZOMBIE FLESH EATERS …ahh, those were the days), this was the version released on video by Hokushin, and subsequently banned. It was dropped from the list when Hokushin ceased trading. The BBFC certified VIPCO/Horror Video re-release was cut by 1 minute 46 seconds in February 2000.

UNHINGED (USA, 1982) Directed by Don Gronquist
Very, very low-budget rip-off of PSYCHO with endless padded out sequences based around a dinner table and a very thin cast, but a creepy atmosphere that keeps you watching. Much of the mayhem takes place off-camera and there is relatively little gore. Actually offered up to paying audiences in British cinemas in 1983, the theatrical 18 required some cuts. The same version was released by Avatar and had a fairly short spell on the banned list before it was dropped. Unsurprisingly, no-one’s picked it up for a re-release yet.

VISITING HOURS (Canada, 1981) Directed by Jean Claude Lord
Professional-looking, but rampantly mysogenistic slasher–on-the-loose flick, set in a hospital and utilising some of David Cronenberg’s technicians and something of a name cast (well, Michael Ironside post-SCANNERS (1980) and William Shatner). 1 minute was cut from the theatrical release in 1982, and it was this same cut version that was released by CBS/Fox and banned, then dropped by the DPP. This same version was then re-certified by the BBFC in 1986. Incidentally, Visiting Hours has played in the UK uncut – on terrestrial TV when ITV mistakenly showed it instead of the BBFC certified version, and received a rebuke from the Broadcasting Standards Council.

WEREWOLF AND THE YETI (Spain, 1975) Directed by Miguel Iglaisias Bonns
Bizarre and strangely old-fashioned Iberian werewolf effort staring the inimitable, barrel-chested ‘Paul Naschy’ that plays like a gored-up version of the 1940’s Universal werewolf movies starring Lon Chaney Jnr. Released by Canon home video, the movie was uncut and a few scenes of nubiles being whipped and flayed brought it to the attention to the DPP. It remains uncertified and unavailable.

THE WITCH WHO CAME FROM THE SEA (USA, 1976) Directed by Matt Cimber
Aside from one of the longest titles on the DPP list, this art-house/soft-core porn tragedy has an almost impossible to follow narrative, plenty of dull characters, a decent central performance from Milly Perkins and is most unlike any other film on the list (not that it’s any good). Released direct to video by VTC uncut, several scenes depicting castration (abstract though they are) drew this to the attention of the DPP, and it spent a short time on the list before being dropped, no doubt due to the lack of success in securing a prosecution against what is, in essence an art film. It remains in uncertified limbo.

WOMEN BEHIND BARS (Spain, 1977) Directed by Jesus Franco (as ‘Rick Deconnink’)
Jolly Jess Franco’s third film on the DPP list is this women in prison exploitation flick, containing plenty of full-frontal nudity, Franco’s trademark vomit-inducing camerawork and gratuitous torture (including the Franco staple of women being whipped). A video premiere in the UK and released uncut by Go Video, the footage of naked women being tortured meant that this was always destined to be banned. Eventually dropped from the list, but currently unavailable. Another Franco women in prison flick, Caged Women was rejected by the BBFC for a cinema certificate in 1976.

XTRO (UK, 1983) Directed by Harry Bromley Davenport
Pretty good, but confusing science-fiction shocker mixing alien invasion with kitchen-sink drama with supernatural overtones. Contains some very impressive and eerie effects on what must have been a very low-budget. The theatrical release in 1983 was passed ‘18’ uncut by the BBFC, yet this version was the one released on video by Spectrum and the one that had a very brief spell on the DPP list. Dropped almost immediately, Xtro was recertified and re-released without cuts.

ZOMBIE CREEPING FLESH (Italy, 1980) Directed by Bruno Mattei (as ‘Vincent Dawn’)
Laugh-out-loud bad zombie movie that attempts social commentary a la Romero, but ends up floundering amid some really cheesy gore effects and endless stock footage of the south-east Asian jungle. Released on video in a pre-cut form (the same version certified ‘X’ by the BBFC for a theatrical release in 1982) by Merlin Video, the shoddy but messy gore scenes resulted in a DPP prosecution and its fate was sealed. Re-certified by the BBFC with yet more cuts post VRA, the movie was eventually passed uncut by the BBFC in January 2002 and released by Screen Entertainment.

ZOMBIE FLESH EATERS (Italy, 1979) Directed by Lucio Fulci
Another of the more infamous video nasties, Fulci’s movie is actually quite a jolly boy’s-own adventure, well directed by Fulci, with added violence and some very well executed gore effects. Cut by 1 minute 46 seconds for it’s theatrical ‘X’ certificate, VIPCO released this version and an uncut version (with the tag-line ‘Strong Uncut’) only find both of them banned. It was re-issued, pre-cut by VIPCO in 1992 with more material removed. Re-released in an more complete version than the UK cinema print (and subsequent VIPCO re-released) but still minus 27 seconds of cuts, in 1999 and released by VIPCO/Horror Video.

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