A quick mention should be made of the new Japanese horror film “Grotesque”, not one I was planning on seeing or had even heard of to be honest, though that has changed now “Grotesque” has attained instant infamy by being first film since the arthouse short “Visions of Ecstasy”, banned for blasphemy in 1989, to be rejected outright by the BBFC. This makes it the first horror film to be banned in Britain since the Video Nasty hysteria of 1984.
It was an article on Twitchfilm.net that broke the news to me, in which BBFC director David Cooke is quoted as saying: ‘‘Unlike other recent ‘torture’-themed horror works, such as the Saw and Hostel series, Grotesque features minimal narrative or character development and presents the audience with little more than an unrelenting and escalating scenario of humiliation, brutality and sadism. The chief pleasure on offer seems to be in the spectacle of sadism (including sexual sadism) for its own sake… Rejecting a work outright is a serious matter and the board considered whether the issue could be dealt with through cuts. However, given the unacceptable content featured throughout cutting the work is not a viable option in this case and the work is therefore refused a classification.’’
I can’t really comment until I actually see the film (which I’ll certainly be doing now it’s been banned, along with a lot of other people I’d imagine). But let it be said that one man’s “unrelenting and escalating scenario of humiliation, brutality and sadism” is another’s unflinching and direct exploration of violence and its effects; as always, the difficulty of violence as a subject matter means there is no right or wrong way of addressing it. If nothing else, I’m pretty sure "Grotesque" will be of more artistic worth than the rubbish Saw films anyway.