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News Article

NSFW: 100 Years of BBFC Film Censorship: Russell, Kubrick, and Raimi

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The British Board of Film Classification is cinema’s answer to the PMRC. In the 1980s, the organization was responsible for deeming various unsavory and violent titles “video nasties” thereby giving them a certain cache for the horror-minded and making them that much more desirable. Oh, and providing subject matter for The Damned’s best song.

The BBFC has a long and colorful history of slicing and dicing movies to rid them of the more graphic parts, thereby protecting the British public from what the BBFC considered corrupting images. The Guardian has a fascinating, and NSFW, slideshow chronicling some of the classic films that were cut or censored. Here's a sampling of their slideshow, including Ken Russell’s classic tale of sexy nunnery:

The Devils, 1971

John Whiting and Aldous Huxley provided the source material for Ken Russell’s incendiary masterpiece – a visceral account of the supposed mass possession of Ursuline nuns in 17th century France. Described by the director as "my most, indeed my only political film", this breathtaking treatise upon "brainwashing" and the unholy marriage of church and state was cut by both the BBFC and Warner, the latter of whom still deems this rarely seen 2004 director’s cut too strong for general release.



A Clockwork Orange, 1971

Stanley Kubrick’s most controversial film was adapted from Anthony Burgess’s bestselling dystopian novel about Alex, played by Malcolm McDowell, and his gang of violent “droogs” who get their thrills killing tramps and raping women. Given an X rating by the BBFC, Kubrick himself withdrew the film from British screens in 1973 and his widow has since revealed that he did so on police advice after threats were made to his family.



The Evil Dead, 1981

Spider-Man director Sam Raimi describes his legendary first feature as "The Three Stooges with blood and guts for custard pies". Cut for both cinema and video release, the film nevertheless became a cause celebre during the so-called "video nasties" witch-hunt. In the wake of several successful prosecutions (and despite a couple of high-profile acquittals) The Evil Dead was effectively outlawed on video for years. This screening presents the original uncut version in all its limb-lopping gory glory.


 

via The Guardian UK


 

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