Directed by: Jake West
Here in America when it comes to film ratings, we have the MPAA (Motion Picture Association of America) that rates films on a G to NC-17 rating scale, and while no films are ever “censored” some are cut down to get a different rating so that there is a bigger market for financial success. I personally hate this scale and think that there should be two or three kiosks at each theatre with a listing of a detailed copy of what the film has, so that parents and people can make their own decisions, but I digress. Meanwhile in England, they have the BBFC (British Board of Film Classification) to where they actually censor films to fit within their own guidelines.
Note: I have not seen the first film in this series, but eagerly want to see it.
Video Nasties: Draconian Days picks up right after the first one ends, by having the first few minutes be a recap of ending of the 1970’s and the start of the 80’s and what that means for the home market. With the rise of James Ferman (the director of the BBFC from 1975 to 1999) and his censorship board for “the good of the children” he changed the way British people viewed cinema and the impact that would have on a generation. Now I have always been one who thought that violence and seeing it as a kid, never made me any more violent and, quite the opposite. While I do agree that hearing coarse language has in fact made me more vulgar, I have never seen any act of violence or sexual violence that made me want to emulate the act.
It was a different time, with home video just starting in the market and no one really knew the effects of what that could have on society as a whole, with the ability to pause, rewind, fast forward at the fingertips of any consumer, the BBFC expected the absolute worst when it came to violence or sex/rape with deviants being able to do what they will with the material. Of course, in this case as with every case, THINK OF THE CHILDREN! 🙁
The documentary flows at a wondrous pace that never feels slow or drags, and was completely riveting to watch, something that is a huge plus for documentaries and I. For instance, in most documentaries I usually start to lose interest around the hour mark and check my watch, but this one only felt like it was twenty minutes long. Listening to the interviews from the people who were actually censoring films along with some of the filmmakers gives a brand new picture of what it truly was like, and it makes me thankful for the system we have today (even though I think it needs changing).
I really can not recommend this documentary enough to those film fans that wish to discover what a different part of the film industry in other parts of the world. While some parts of it may be extreme in its showing of violence and rape, it leads to a great conclusion. See this film.
Presented in a 1.78:1 aspect ratio (sometimes switching to 2.35:1 for some trailer footage), Video Nasties looks great most of the time but is dampened by its source material. What I mean by that, is while the trailers/movie clips and interview footage looks really great, even for a dvd, the archive footage is very much in 240p quality. At times one can play the “count the pixels on screen” game.
Presented in a Dolby Digital 2.0 mix, Video Nasties does the best it can with the material it has. As I said in my previous section, a lot of material is from news footage and archive material that was from a different age, and as such gets quite muddy at times. The main interview footage sounds great, and the music pours in lovingly from the front, but the main issues is the muddy and at some times, unintelligible archive footage that can be difficult. Otherwise it gets the job done in the best way it can.
Packaging and Bonus Features
Packaging for the film comes in a glorious three-disc set that has some great artwork that really covers the entire film in a single image, and is what I love when it comes to poster artwork. Bonus features on the other hand are staggering, to say the least. All eighty films that were banned by the BBFC are included with an introduction explaining why it was banned and how it’s remembered in today’s time. It’s a fantastic watch, that’s equally fun and disturbing in its own way. Also included is an art gallery of the banned VHS covers that the BBFC decided on, it’s again great to see creative cover art that missing today.
Overall(not an average)
Video Nasties is a documentary that completely kicked my ass in terms of entertainment, educational and historical records that was a pleasure to watch from beginning to end. While the video and audio have an equal amount of plus and minus, the bonus features certainly make up for any losses making this set, a must have for Grindhouse/Video nasty lovers.