Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Human Centipede

Freaks (1932)
Trapeze artist Cleopatra meets her demise at the hands of a horde of caterwauling sideshow performers after plotting to marry and murder the circus midget for his inheritance. One ending had Cleopatra turned into a 'human duck', with the flesh on her hands melted down and a her lower half permanently tarred and feathered. Rejected twice by the BBFC (1932 and 1952), before being passed with an 'X' rating in 1963.
The Wild One (1953)
Marlon Brando's iconic portrayal of brooding biker-gang leader Johnny Strabler fell afoul of the BBFC for its contribution to a catalogue of unruly behaviour – drunkenness, town-wrecking and the like – in The Wild One. It was fourteen years before the film gained an 'X' rating for distribution.
The Trip (1967)
Penned by Jack Nicolson and starring Peter Fonda as a spurned lover who takes LSD for the first time, The Trip doesn't strike one as the BBFC's usual bannable fare. An unhealthy glorification of LSD was officially given as the reason, although the sex and rock 'n' roll probably didn't help.

The Last House On The Left (1972)
Legendary American horror film director Wes Craven helmed this gruesome tail of the kidnap, rape and torture of two seventeen year old girls after a rock concert. "To Avoid Fainting Keep Repeating, It's Only a Movie" was the temerarious disclaimer on the advertisement posters; the BBFC went one step further to ensure no distress was caused – a blanket ban until 2002.

The Texas Chainsaw Massacre (1974)
Misanthropic chainsaw-wielding psychopath Leatherface proved to be too much of a terrifying so and so for the BBFC, despite director Tobe Hooper originally cutting down the on-screen gore in the vain hope of securing a 'PG' Rating. Not passed by the BBFC in uncut form until 1999, while a third installment in the original franchise, Leatherface: The Texas Chainsaw Massacre III was also banned in 1990.

Salò (1975)
Italian director Pier Paolo Pasolini's adaptation of The 120 Days of Sodom by the Marquis de Sade focussed on the violent, sadistic and sexually orientated torture of eighteen teenagers by corrupt fascists after the collapse of Mussolini's regime in 1944. Unsurprisingly, the BBFC of 1975 wasn't ready for the graphic depiction of the rape, murder and mutilation of children and the film was banned until 2000.

The Driller Killer (1979)
This brutal slasher became infamous as the the film which, according to then BBFC cheif Mike Bor, was "almost singlehandedly responsible for the Video Recordings Act 1984", which banned so-called 'video nasties' from distribution. Moral outrage was piqued by a series of advertisements taken out in UK film magazines which showed a man being drilled through the forehead; many complainants never even saw the film. The film was released uncut in 2002, and continues to inspires bizarre lyrical homages from death metal bands.

Visions of Ecstasy (1989)
18 minute short Visions of Ecstasy remains the only film ever to be banned in the UK due to blasphemy (under blasphemy laws repealed in 2008). The offending material featured Jesus on the cross being 'touched' by a sexualised representation of Saint Teresa of Ávila. The distributors contested the ban in the European Court of Human Rights, and lost, although there are now plans to release the film.

Mikey (1992)
An unfortunate victim of circumstance in Britain, Mikey was originally given an 18 certification, but was later banned for its depiction of a child killer in the wake of the murder of James Bulger. On the advice of child psychiatrists, who argued that the film could inspire children to imitate the actions of the protagonist, the BBFC also rejected a video certificate in 1996.

Grotesque (2009)
Torture porn coupled with "minimal narrative or character development" which "presents the audience with little more than an unrelenting and escalating scenario of humiliation, brutality and sadism" did for this, er, 'grotesque' Japanese slasher, according to the BBFC. A textbook exception to the rule of not judging a book by its cover (or a film by its name).