Ah, the so-called “Video Nasties.” A list of 72 allegedly obscene movies thrown together by a council of stodgy old British politicians who had almost certainly never seen a single one of them. We ask you: can you imagine some moralizing, tea-sipping, pearl-clutching late-1970s Margaret Thatcher type putting on an old VHS of Blood Feast (1963) or The Driller Killer (1979)? We can't.
In 1984 the National Viewers And Listeners' Association released the official list. Compiled from complaints lodged by various religious organizations, parents' groups, and moral activists the idea was to pull together a database of objectionable movies. To make illegal. For the childrens' sake, and so forth.
We don't know about you, but for us here at HorrorRated, the last people we're going to ask to pick tonight's midnight movie are the priest, the mayor and your mom... Well, maybe your mom. Some seriously legendary movies like Cannibal Holocaust (1980) and The Last House on the Left (1972) became outright illegal for awhile because of this. With the release of the list and the subsequent Video Recordings Act, it became a criminal offence to sell movies that the British Board of Film Classification had refused to classify or rate. They could effectively outlaw “bad” films. The Exorcist (1973) and Basket Case (1982) were shut out of sales this way, but weren't classified as Video Nasties.
The Video Nasties themselves were—are—a mixed bag. There are some recognizable movies in there: Tenebrae (1973), The Evil Dead (1981) and Friday the 13th (1980) are all establishment classics. There are a lot of hidden gems as well: while Flesh for Frankenstein (1974), The Witch Who Came From The Sea (1976), and Anthropophagus (1980) may not be great movies, they're definitely great viewing.
Then, of course, there are the movies that live up to the name Nasty. These movies run the gamut from absurd, to despicable, to exploitative, to vile, to Z-grade-bad. Titles like The Last Orgy Of The Third Reich (1977), Mardi Gras Massacre (1978) and Killer Nun (1979) abound. I Spit On Your Grave (1974), which you may have heard of, was also a true Video Nasty both appalling and censored--pulled from the shelves by the British government in 1985.
You've probably seen a few of the Video Nasties, but have you seen them all? Feel free to check out our helpful list and see if any of history's greatest movie titles jump out at you: The Werewolf vs The Yeti! Night of the Bloody Apes! Prisoner of the Cannibal God! Let us know what you think, and as always, please, come back and leave a rating!
The Evil Dead
Released: 15 Apr 1983 |
Director: Sam Raimi
Five friends travel to a cabin in the woods, where they unknowingly release flesh-possessing demons.