The idea for this article came to me after a viewing of the horror film 'Found'. In this film, there is a scene where two children are watching a horror movie called 'Headless'. The killer in 'Headless' takes great pleasure in removing his victims' heads, and in one scene (that is inexplicably missing from the UK release) has sex with a disembodied head. What with Jorg Buttgereit's 'Nekromantik' getting an uncut release here in the UK at the end of November (from Arrow Video) I find it incredibly hard to understand why the BBFC felt the need to remove this scene from the film.
The BBFC states on their website (which you can visit by clicking here) that "A cut was required to remove sight of a murderer's erect penis, during a scene of sadistic sexualised violence and threat". The fact that this is part of a movie within the movie, and later on in the film, you see a murderers erect penis after he has tortured his mother and father, makes no sense at all, plus the fact that the violence was already perpertrated on the victim (him removing her head). What irritates me even more is that the BBFC are given the power to make choices we are more than able to make for ourselves. They say they help parents make the right choices when chosing a movie, yet still feel the need to cut parts out of things that they deem "morally wrong".
Although it is a topic of great debate, 'A Serbian Film' was cut by the censors, even though absolutely nothing in the film could be legally called 'Obscene'. Personally, the film had a much stronger impact on me in its cut form, because it left the imagery up to the viewers imagination, making them use their own minds to fill in the blanks of what they are not seeing on screen. I will defend the film and say how it has every right to be out there. It's sole purpose is to infuriate its audience, to show that life is nothing more than Pornography (in that we are fucked all the way through our lives) and exploitation (in that we sell ourselves to the highest bidder to put food on our tables). It also confronts issues in Serbia, albeit in an explicit and sickening way, but it definitely hits every mark it set out to, and even though the director feels his vision has been diluted because of the cuts the BBFC made, in my opinion, the film has a much greater impact because of these cuts and allowing the viewer to think about what they should be seeing.
For anyone who hasn't seen Buttgereit's Nekromantik, a woman indulging in intercourse with a rotting corpse while her boyfriend looks on before being overcome by jealousy and comitting suicide is surely a much stronger visual than a killer in a film having sex with a disembodied head?
Haute Tension also features a killer having sex with a disembodied head, and that scene remains intact. That is a part of the actual movie too, not a film within a film, like 'Headless' in 'Found'.
The BBFC are archaic in their reasons they give for cutting movies. I would love to hear them explain the reasons for their cuts on the 'I Spit on your Grave' remake, which had none of the rape scenes cut from it, but a scene of revenge, where the raped woman inserts a shotgun into one of the rapists anuses is cut out.
The BBFC claims they are doing the genreal public a service. But they are taking away our own freedom to choose. By all means, feel free to let the public know what kind of content is in a film, but to take away scenes because they deem them unfit for the general public to see is just insane in my opinion. I also do not understand what the BBFC mean when they state that films have a 'Potential for harm'. Are they stating that watching films can hurt us? How and why? Nothing is explained, and no reason is given. They seem to frown on sexualised violence, yet leave rape scenes intact while cutting scenes of revenge.
America certainly has the right idea when it comes to movies. Publish guidelines and inform people so they can make their own informed choices. Not do as the BBFC do and take that freedom away from us. What makes them unaffected by watching such things if these films can indeed cause harm? Why haven't any of the people working for the BBFC gone crazy, killed anyone or undertaken any other irrepprehensible act after watching a movie with scenes in they deem unfit for viewing by the general public? Are they better than the general public somehow?
This is something I would be very interested to hear on from my UK readers, so feel free to discuss my points, and bring some of your own.
The BBFC really do drive me (and some dogs) absolutely crazy.