28 August 2011 | Rodrigo_Amaro
Restrained but Informative
Highly informative and relatively interesting "Ban the Sadist Videos!" approximates us with details about the infamous social and politic acts against what was considered to be a risk to the British society: violence, gore, sex, drugs, shocking and disturbing things...presented on recurrent films of the 1970's and 1980's. Thatcher government started to regulate what could be and what couldn't be presented on home video entertainment, something that only occurred on films released on theaters with films being edited by BBFC.
It is established here that films like "The Driller Killer", "Evil Dead" and "Cannibal Holocaust" were the major responsible for a wave of control on the films later called of "videos nasties" after lots of appealing publicity on newspapers urging its viewers to rent and watch a film with shocking scenes (theaters weren't so interesting anymore, now with VCR's available in most homes).
Silly moral crusader Mary Whitehouse and her extensive and successful campaign to forbid these films on British territory is greatly presented here, giving some insights on how dumb some moralists were since they never saw those films, only hearing what people would say about them. Laws were created, BBFC also censored or even banned some of the films (the funniest case was "The Best Little Whorehouse in Texas" considered as pornographic because of its title). The criterion of which films should be allowed or not to be released or edited was ridiculous and even "Apocalypse Now" had some troubles with this persecution.
All that in the name of the children's sake since they were exposed to them constantly, and society feared possible copycats (oh dear...) who were starting to appear, imitating film serial killers but this time killing real people in real life, finding their inspiration on films. Bottom of line: our society is dangerous because of the films it produces and not backwards, the moralists were saying.
The discussion stretches out for so long (there's the second "Ban the Sadist Videos!" which deals with more on this last subject of 'danger to the society'). Well made and providing classic moments of horror films and nice archive footage of news covering the subject this documentary is quite restrained in its presentation, lack so much energy that it almost becomes boring; and some informations and scenes are quite repetitive. The short interviews with Deodato, Craven and other masters of horror were very good just as much as the interviews with people who were part of the conflicts over the videos.
It's quite good but it only works if you don't know anything about the incidents portrayed here. I believe that people more versed on the subject won't find it much amusing or appealing. 8/10