10 horror films so horrific they’ve were banned by the UK government. But you can still watch them all on YouTube right now…
The early 80s were both a blessing and a curse for UK gore-hounds.
As VHS players first began to appear across this small island, rental libraries sprung up to meet demand, but the various film-rating bodies lagged behind the technology. This meant that for a brief, glorious period, you could rent just about anything from your local newsagent.
I have fond memories of sitting in my (17 year-old) uncle’s living room while a variety of jungle cannibal movies warped my prepubescent brain.
Unfortunately, the law soon caught up. With the moral outrage of campaigners like the infamous Mary Whitehouse making national headlines, questions were asked in parliament, and the infamous DDP, or ‘video nasty’ list, was published, seeing 72 titles banned from the British isles for several years (unless you wanted to rent them from your local Ice Cream Man of course).
Fortunately, we now live in more enlightened times, and the results of this new, heightened sensibility? Well, you can now watch teenage virgins getting chainsawed up on your lunch hour. Here are the full versions of 10 banned video nasties get you started:
1: Lost Cannibal World
Cannibal Holocaust probably did it better (‘better’ is a relative term when it comes to putting people on spikes and castrating them), but Lost Cannibal World popped up a little earlier and kick-started the whole ‘American filmmakers find lost stone-age tribe and proceed to get chopped up’ craze.
This is fucking awful. Our heroine Susan (ex-Playboy bunny Bobbie Bresee, doing a surprisingly competent job) is cursed by a demon-witch-thing that killed her mother. It doesn’t make a lick of sense, but it does give her the power to summon weird disco-lightning and tons of dry ice whenever she likes, which is pretty wicked.
Oh Troma, we love you, we really do. Weirdly, Nightbeast is actually a remake of the even worse The Alien Factor, but is more fun to watch because it mainly consists of weird chauvinists in Hawaiian shirts and unnecessary kitchen sink drama carried out by bored, be-afro’d deputies in the woods. Oh, and you see ‘the nightbeast’ for a total of four-seconds in the entire movie. Yay Troma!
Well, the villains drive a black Lambo, so it’s got that going for it. Lazy-eyed Jeff Goldblum analogue Robert Glaudini has created a giant parasite. As you do. And he’s stuck it to his stomach. Good job dude. Now it’s up to him and Demi Moore to evade a bunch of semi-naked rednecks and the government for fuck knows what reason. The film goes absolutely nowhere, but it does contain a lot of gratuitous nudity and violence. Enjoy!
5: Blood Song
I love this purely because it has a seemingly endless opening credits sequence powered entirely by John Carpenter-esque ripoff synths. Other then that, there’s some amazing ‘acting’ during the grief scene 18 minutes in, and Donna Wilkes is always value for money (assuming you think ‘Angel’ was worth paying to watch). Oh and there’s a serial killer who’s busy tracking people who had blood transfusions from him. I dunno man, I just work here.
6: Dawn of the Mummy
A group of fashion models (sexy!) disturb the tomb of a mummy (not sexy!) which then commands its ancient slaves (sexy AND exploitative!) to eat their flesh (not sexy AND exploitative!). To be fair, the crazed zombies look quite good, although not quite as zombie-like as the poor woman who delivers the original curse. It’s shit, but it’s fun shit with pyramids and everything.
7: House of Evil
A Rangoon production! And hey, that’s as close to a guarantee of quality as you can get. Put it this way. If you were a psychologist specialising in the criminally insane, would you deliberately choose a haunted mansion to use as a clinic? Me too! Enjoyable for the beautifully old school ‘creeping around a haunted house with a candle’ scenes alone.
8: Pigs (AKA Daddy’s Deadly Darling)
Yay Troma! Although to be honest this is bloody awful. Troma made it’s name in exploitation garbage, but there really should be a line. Lynn is in a mental home after stabbing her abusive dad to death. Then she escapes, shacks up with a farmer who keeps bloodthirsty pigs (have you ever wondered why the 70s produced so many ‘man-eating pig’ movies?) and murders a bunch of creepy dudes. Oh, and she dresses up as a sexy nurse, because why the hell not eh?
9: Within the Woods
No list of Video Nasties would really be complete without The Evil Dead, but hey, everyone’s already seen that, so I thought I’d spice it up by including Sam Raimi’s original short movie Within The Woods, essentially a trial run for Evil Dead, featuring the same gouged eyes, screaming wood-zombies and ancient evils, but all done for about £3.99 and filmed in a coal cellar. If you have incredibly good vision you’ll enjoy this.
10: The Strange Hostel of Naked Pleasures
Because it stars Coffin Joe, and it proves beyond a shadow of a doubt what twits the ‘moral majority’ really were in the 80s. Imagine trying to ban this because you sincerely believe that it might turn people into murderers. The coffin at the start is pretty spoooooky though isn’t it?
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