Review for Video Nasties: Draconian Days
Video Nasties: Draconian Days follows on from Jake West's excellent 2010 documentary Video Nasties: Moral Panic, Censorship and Videotape. The documentary shows what happened after the Video Recordings Act of 1984 which essentially gave the BBFC the power to censor and the power as to what can and cannot be released to home video.
We again see how films were blamed for things like Hungerford, James Bulger and the scare that happened during the video nasty era was repeated with Rambo and Child's Play 3 used as scapegoats for these horrific incidents. It seems like those commenting were not surprised by this, but they were surprised by the convictions and prosecutions of people who traded in those films that had been banned. This part was quite shocking to hear about people having their homes raided for a few films and as with the previous time, the police didn't even know what they were looking for.
The role of the BBFC and their controlling powers are shown in more detail and it is actually quite scary how much power the man in charge, James Ferman had. Stories of how a scene from Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles 2 had to be changed because a string of sausages looked like nunchakas seemed ludicrous and his constant refusal to allow The Exorcist to be released was a sore point. Ironically, it was Ferman who wanted to allow pornographic films to be released with the introduction of the R18 rating.
Once he was left/fired many films such as The Exorcist, Texas Chainsaw Massacre were released without any cuts and without civilsation coming to an end like people thought.
This documentary is best watched along with the previous one and both are very interesting for those interested in film history and censorship. I found it very interesting and did not outstay its welcome and much like the previous one I could have easily watched more about how entities like the BBFC, Mary Whitehouse and others had such an effect on the film industry and censorship.
With much talk about censorship of the internet it will not be surprised if in another twenty years West creates another one as this does feel like a cyclical trend, but hopefully the next time people can look at these before they overeact again.
The film can be watched as part of the Arrow Streaming Service £4.99 a month/£49.99 Annual Subscription.