Friday, 21 August 2009

The BBFC bans "Grotesque"

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 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.


D-Notice said...

Let me know if you manage to get hold of a copy.

I'd be interested in seeing it

Ben said...


Paul said...

That's not true - Grotesque was rejected for home viewing. Usually about three or four videos get rejected every year.

The usual reason for banning these days are for several reasons: the more extreme 'torture porn' movies, shockumentaries using clips of real torture, death and pain, films promoting drugs or violence as well as exploitation films featuring sexual violence throughout and porn films that feature rape, BDSM, excessive spanking or torture all the way through. Essentially the BBFC will not ban films just because they are violent - there must be another reason for it. I don't agree with it but it's a lot better than how it used to be.

The last film rejected by the BBFC for the cinema was The Last House on the Left in 2000, which is now available uncut in the UK.

Ben said...

Thanks Paul, unbeknownst to you you've actually saved me a bit of a job here!

After posting this a friend pointed out that I was wrong about the BBFC's recent "work". I thought of deleting the post, then thought of editing it, then just sort of left it.

Basically, I googled "BBFC banned films" and got the information I got. It's wrong. Could you post a link to more trustworthy info?

I'd much rather write a rebuttal to this inaccurate post than delete it. It's what blogs are about really - an evolving process of ideas and information rather than the immovable statements of print writing.

Again, thanks for your input, it's what the comment section is for!