With the imminent release of Video Nasties: The Definitive Guide at the end of the month we here at Love Horror thought it was time to revisit the evil VHS’s that shocked the public and caused moral panic.
The 3 disc collector’s edition box-set features trailers for all 72 films that fell foul of the Director of Public Prosecutions with specially filmed intros for each. Most importantly, it also contains Jake West’s detailed and delectable documentary into the history and controversy of the video nasty phenomenon that took hold of the British Isles during the 1980’s. A must see piece for any horror enthusiast.
Full of archive footage and insightful interviews with key figures and filmmakers such as Neil Marshall and Christopher Smith, it charts the entire shocking story. Including the heroic stand taken by journalist/author Martin Barker, who single-handedly came out in protest against what he saw as the erosion of civil liberties.
39 films where banned in total and during that time to have watched any of them was seen as a badge of honor in schools, homes and pubs across the country as you could technically be put in prison for owning or distributing VHS’s from the list something which sounds crazy to us today. Below we pick the brutal best for our top five horrors from the legendary list that where too gory, too terrifying and too nasty to be seen on our TV screens as well as giving you the full list so you can count off how many you have seen.
Love Horror’s Top 5 Video Nasties
The Driller Killer
Abel Ferrara gained notoriety and his place on the banned list with this 1979 slasher featuring a tortured artist, played by the director himself, who loses his mind and starts taking peoples body parts using the tool the title implies. Graphic and gruesome although far from perfect this is a jaunting journey into the mind of a maniac.
Slick, sick and sadistic this 1980’s movie is a pitch perfect slasher. With a simplistic story line set in a summer camp it bears obvious comparison to Friday the 13th et al however The Burning stands on its own two singed and disfigured feet to give the horror fan something new. Add in special make up effects from Tom Savini and a killer score from Rick Wakeman and you have a slasher movie too good to stray banned.
The Last House on the Left
Wes Craven 1972 debut cemented his credibility as a master of horror with this dark and disturbing low budget rape revenge movie. Here shocking scenes sit alongside slapstick comedy, pushing the audience to the edge and dividing opinion this catapulted Craven into the limelight and lead to a career spent crafting scary cinema.
Although it spawned a whole host of copycat cannibal movies, Ruggero Deodato’s 1979 original is as intelligent and insightful as it is shocking and disturbing. Pre-dating the found footage craze popularised by Blair Witch this troubling tale of a film crew who disappear deep in the rain forest while staging all the footage for their documentary by terrorizing and torturing the natives, is as relevant today in our reality TV obsessed culture as it ever was.
One of the best zombie movies ever, it’s as simple as that. Lucio Fulci defined the undead in 1979 inspiring every other zombie movie that followed. Flesh ripping, guts munching, eye impaling brilliance plus it has a fight between a zombie and a shark, what more could anyone want.
The Full Banned List
01. Absurd (Aristide Massaccesi, Italy, 1981)
02. Anthropophagous the Beast (Aristide Massaccesi, Italy, 1980)
03. Axe (Frederick R. Friedel, 1977)
04. The Beast in Heat (Luigi Batzella, Italy, 1976)
05. Blood Bath (Mario Bava, Italy, 1971)
06. Blood Feast (Herschell Gordon Lewis, USA, 1963)
07. Blood Rites (Andy Milligan, USA, 1967)
08. Bloody Moon (Jess Franco, West Germany, 1981)
09. The Burning (Tony Maylam, USA, 1980)
10. Cannibal Apocalypse (Antonio Margheriti, Italy/Spain, 1979)
11. Cannibal Ferox (Umberto Lenzi, Italy, 1981)
12. Cannibal Holocaust (Ruggero Deodato, Italy, 1979)
13. The Cannibal Man (Eloy De La Iglesia, Spain, 1971)
14. The Devil Hunter (Jess Franco, Spain/West Germany/France, 1980)
15. Don’t Go in the Woods… Alone! (James Bryan, USA, 1980)
16. The Driller Killer (Abel Ferrara, USA, 1979)
17. Evilspeak (Eric Weston, USA, 1981)
18. Exposé (James Kenelm Clarke, Great Britain, 1975)
19. Faces of Death (Conan Le Cilaire, USA, 1979)
20. Fight for Your Life (Robert A. Endelson, USA, 1977)
21. Forest of Fear (Charles McCrann, USA, 1979)
22. Frankenstein (Andy Warhol’s) (Paul Morrissey, Italy/France, 1973)
23. The Gestapo’s Last Orgy (Cesare Canevari, Italy, 1976)
24. The House by the Cemetery (Lucio Fulci, Italy, 1981)
25. House on the Edge of the Park (Ruggero Deodato, Italy, 1980)
26. I Spit on Your Grave (Meir Zarchi, USA, 1978)
27. Island of Death (Nico Mastorakis, Greece, 1976)
28. The Last House on the Left (Wes Craven, USA, 1972)
29. Love Camp 7 (Robert Lee Frost, USA, 1968)
30. Madhouse (Ovidio G. Assonitis, USA/Italy, 1981)
31. Mardi Gras Massacre (Jack Weis, USA, 1978)
32. Night of the Bloody Apes (René Cardona, Mexico, 1968)
33. Night of the Demon (James C. Wasson, USA, 1980)
34. Nightmares in a Damaged Brain (Romano Scavolini, USA, 1981)
35. Snuff (Michael Findlay, USA/Argentrina, 1976)
36. SS Experiment Camp (Sergio Garrone, Italy, 1976)
37. Tenebrae (Dario Argento, Italy, 1982)
38. The Werewolf and the Yeti (Miguel I. Bonns, Spain, 1975)
39. Zombie Flesh-Eaters (Lucio Fulci, Italy, 1979)