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Archiving the extreme in an age of conservatism

12/12/2013

Ever wondered what happened to all those provocative, trashy, freaky and borderline fictional extreme low budget films that were banned and heavily censored by governments? Those same strange underground titles film fans risked prison sentences for? Films like Driller Killer, Cannibal Holocaust and SS Experiment Camp. Avid horror fans Marc Morris (producer) and Jake West (director) lived through the era in which these exploitation titles appeared and then disappeared just as quickly during the '80s. A publicity stunt in which the distributor complained about the films to a government body in the hope of turning notoriety into dollars backfired when authorities took the extreme cover art at face value and ruled the simulated graphic content was not suitable for public consumption.

An underground tape trading circuit emerged in the wake of the controversy. Morris has detailed this history having published two books already on the subject while West has directed several horror films inspired by the European gore films banned at the time. After founding Nucleus Films in 2005 and having worked on the preservation of obscure grindhouse cult movies, Video Nasties: Censorship, Moral Panic & Videotape came about and as an extension of their interest in genre film and the cultural landscape of the Video Nasties era.

Videos Nasties: The Definitive Guide is currently out through Siren Visual.

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