4 May 2019

The Video Nasties: How Nasty Were They Really?


In the early 1980s, at the dawn of home video, there was no requirement for videos to be certified by the British Board of Film Censors (now 'Classification') prior to release. As many of the major studios were wary of the threat video posed to cinema going, the shelves of video libraries became filled with obscure titles to satisfy the demand for home entertainment. Many of these titles were low budget exploitation films and the lurid video sleeves and content soon led to a media led outcry about the 'video nasties' as they were soon to become labelled.

Video libraries and distributors up and down the county were raided by the police who seized anything that could potentially be a nasty based on it's sleeve or title (The Best Little Whorehouse In Texas anyone?). A list was drawn up by the Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP) of titles that could be liable to prosecution under the Obscene Publications Act.

The titles that were successfully prosecuted became known as the DPP39. These were:

  • Absurd
  • Andy Warhol's Frankenstein
  • Anthropophagous The Beast
  • Axe
  • Blood Bath
  • The Beast In Heat
  • Blood Feast
  • Blood Rites
  • Bloody Moon
  • The Burning
  • Cannibal Apocalypse
  • Cannibal Ferox
  • Cannibal Holocaust
  • The Cannibal Man
  • Devil Hunter
  • Don't Go In The Woods... Alone!
  • The Driller Killer
  • Evilspeak
  • Exposé
  • Faces Of Death
  • Fight For Your Life
  • Forest Of Fear
  • The Gestapo's Last Orgy
  • The House By The Cemetery
  • House On The Edge Of The Park
  • I Spit On Your Grave
  • Island Of Death
  • The Last House On The Left
  • Love Camp 7
  • Madhouse
  • Mardi Gras Massacre
  • Night Of The Bloody Apes
  • Night Of The Demon
  • Nightmares In A Damaged Brain
  • Snuff
  • SS Experiment Camp
  • Tenebrae
  • The Werewolf And The Yeti
  • Zombie Flesh-Eaters

A further 34 films on the DPP list managed to escape any successful prosecutions, but their names have remained synonymous with the term 'video nasty.' These were:

  • The Beyond
  • The Bogeyman
  • Cannibal Terror
  • Contamination
  • Dead And Buried
  • Death Trap
  • Deep River Savages
  • Delirium
  • Don't Go In The House
  • Don't Go Near The Park
  • Don't Look In The Basement
  • The Evil Dead
  • Frozen Scream
  • The Funhouse
  • I Miss You, Hugs And Kisses
  • Inferno
  • The Killer Nun
  • Late Night Trains
  • The Living Dead At Manchester Morgue
  • Nightmare Maker
  • Possession
  • Pranks
  • Prisoner Of The Cannibal God
  • Revenge Of The Bogeyman
  • Shogun Assassin
  • The Slayer
  • Terror Eyes
  • The Toolbox Murders
  • Unhinged
  • Visiting Hours
  • The Witch Who Came From The Sea
  • Women Behind Bars
  • Xtro
  • Zombie Creeping Flesh

Now a over a quarter of a century on what has happened to these titles that threatened the moral fabric of society as we know it? Well, I will be looking at a number of these notorious films and reviewing them. So stay tuned for more.
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