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Censor Sensibility

August 30, 2011

I have had what I can only describe as a lifelong antipathy for censorious groups and “moral” minority, pinhead paternalists so it is with some surprise that I find myself in a position of gratitude to the British Board of Film Censors, now known as the British Board of Film Classification (BBFC).

Following the recent daft and offensive decision by the BBFC to refuse a certificate for The Human Centipede II (Full Sequence), I have kept an eye on the progress of that film and in turn have more closely scrutinized other rulings by the organization. Their decision was daft on account of how easy it is to acquire films in this dizzying age of digital technology, a de facto ban in one country being largely meaningless provided the movie in question is both released and adequately sought after elsewhere. This is especially true where, as in this instance, a film has been shot in the UK with a British cast only to be denied a legitimate release there but subsequently intended for release in the United States at a later date. However, the BBFC ruling was also grossly offensive precisely because it was an elitist, authoritarian manoeuvre that explicitly removes one’s right to choose whether or not to view the film. A panel/committee/cabal of faceless, bureaucratic twats whom most of us have never met and certainly most of us do not know; sit as moral guardians in a position of deciding on our behalf precisely which films pose a potential risk of causing us actual “harm”, of corrupting us. Of course, precisely the same material does not have this effect on the staff of the BBFC presumably because they are of superior moral and intellectual fibre to the bleating hordes of plebs who are perpetually tottering on the brink of wanton depravity, one wrong horror flick away from being inspired to abduct scores of people and somehow attach them mouth to arse for their own insane pleasure.

Oddly enough, the hysterical and as-yet-entirely-unproven, assertion that weird and violent films inspire weird and violent copycat behaviour amongst audiences (how many car chases or murders have you been involved in?) was precisely the notion that Tom Six chose to critique and parody in The Human Centipede II (Full Sequence). Apparently, following the release of his earlier notorious film, Six found himself frequently quizzed by journalists as to whether he felt people watching the film would be influenced into trying to recreate human centipedes of their own. This proposition seemed so utterly ludicrous and stupid that it served as the inspiration for his second film, realized as a kind of meta-sequel wherein a man obsessed with the film The Human Centipede, kidnaps a group of people to make into his own centipede and thus satisfy his warped, sexually violent fantasies for scat-munching and improbably complicated surgical techniques. Essentially, it’s another rather elaborate and darkly realized joke from Six, just as the previous film was. Unfortunately, being the Orwellian scumfucks that they are, censors possess little to no sense of humour. In this instance, they resolutely failed to get the joke and instead took an obviously outrageous and silly film at face value and appear to have assumed some depraved sincerity in the end result.

Japanese splatter flick also refused a BBFC certificate

But I digress, as I often do. I had intended this to be a short, single paragraph piece thrown up purely for the purposes of gloating. You see, thanks to the actions of the BBFC against a daft horror flick sequel that I had been eagerly awaiting, I discovered a number of other films that have been refused certificates in recent years. I do not believe I would have heard of these films, nor experienced even a remote desire to watch them, had it not been for the fact that the British censors had taken it upon themselves to already decide on my behalf that they were somehow genuinely harmful and damaging to me. I now have in my possession the Japanese film Grotesque (2009) and the American film Murder Set Pieces (2004) and I would like to take this opportunity to thank the BBFC for indirectly publicizing these films and bringing them to my attention when they would otherwise have gone completely overlooked. Initial research suggests both films are rather poorly-made, abject pieces of shit but the gross affront that a group of self-appointed moral guardians have tried to place themselves in loco parentis regarding what I should or should not watch has all but ensured my demand to see them. Thank you, BBFC; you have been very helpful in furthering my adventures with warped, scuzzy B-movies. As a final act of defiance, I’m confident that I will undergo no detrimental psychological changes upon viewing them.

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