Question about banned movies

marcaaron22

Active Member
Is it illegal to own a movie that is banned in many countries or that is banned in your particular country?

Can customs decline banned movies getting to their destination?
 

Hugh

Distinguished Member
As far as I know (And I'm happy to be corrected) it's not illegal to own a banned movie. But it is illegal to buy or sell a banned movie. You may have owned the film before it got banned. I don't think anyone could legally take away your VHS original of "Anthropophagus The Beast" unless they can prove it was bought/sold/traded AFTER it was deemed banned. Chances of this happening is slim to none. If you try to sell your tape, that could technically be a problem, but again, highly unlikely anyone will come after you. It's just too much trouble.

As for Customs, yes. They can and they will sieze any uncertified tape/disc that they see fit. Any title that they open and think may be a title that they BBFC haven't or possibly won't certify, or is a version with a different cut to the UK, they will sieze and send you a letter stating that it's been taken as it contravenes the obscene publications laws (I've had it happen back in the VHS days) and it will be destroyed. You can then appeal if you wish, but unless you've big pockets and are certain that the print you're importing is BBFC friendly, then you almost certainly will lose.

There are several sites that deal in banned titles, and ship from within the EU, so customs rarely take a look.



Edit: I'm planning on posting a thread detailing my quest to buy and view all 39 DDP "Nasties" in the next couple of days, so keep an eye out and feel free to ask away. I'll do my best.
 
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KRW

Active Member
Do the thread about the 39DDP. Did you get them all on VHS? Talk about deep pockets for a VHS Beast In Heat...

As for banned movies, I dont think its an issue anymore importing. If customs opened a box with 100 copies of A Serbian Film or something you might run into issues but I can't imagine them worrying about a single disc nowadays? Happy to be wrong there, as I've really no idea and have imported hundreds of films over the last 10 years and not run into a single problem. I ordered the Criterion Salo in the early DVD days and worried myself sick until it popped through the letterbox unmolested.

In the old days, something like an uncut Hellraiser 2 would have caused you problems. A friend of mine was threatened with jail time when he got busted with a copy of Cannibal Holocaust coming back from Amsterdam. Bloody awful time it was.

Still, for sheer glamour, nothing beats sweating your way through customs with A Clockwork Orange in your knapsack, hoping you won't get the hand on the shoulder. Like Midnight Express. And the rush when you made it through and showed it to all your mates.

Ordering online just isn't the same.
 
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IAN P

Novice Member
I still rate Men Behind the Sun as probably the nastiest I've seen. I'm sure Pooch mentioned worse ones in a previous thread on this very subject. Probably hidden on here somewhere.

My supplier (how bad does that sound:D) is long gone, so t'internet is the only place to acquire any on that infamous list.
 

Hugh

Distinguished Member
Almost forgot. There was a DVD released last year called "The Video Nasty Definitive Guide" which was a must buy for all horror fans.

Video Nasties: The Definitive Guide DVD Limited Edition: Amazon.co.uk: Ruggero Deodato, Neil Marshall, Christopher Smith, MP Graham Bright, James Ferman, Mary Whitehouse: Film & TV

Yep it was this great set that got me re-interested in the whole vide nasties again. A month or so ago, after watching them again, I decide to view them all, warts-an-all.

Really recommend everyone interested in 70's & 80's horror and "Nasties" should get this set. Trailers for the DPP39, the other 33 that beat the DPP and a new documentary on the whole "Nasties" debacle. Wotrth watching just to her Graham Bright MP saying, in all seriousness "These films not only affect children, but also dogs." :rotfl:

KRM, Wish I had the pockets for the VHS. No, I'm getting them on DVD, but replacing the new covers for resized versions of the old classic VHS covers.
 

Nyle

Active Member
I still rate Men Behind the Sun as probably the nastiest I've seen. I'm sure Pooch mentioned worse ones in a previous thread on this very subject. Probably hidden on here somewhere.

My supplier (how bad does that sound:D) is long gone, so t'internet is the only place to acquire any on that infamous list.


I just saw a scene from that film on YouTube (the part where the woman's flesh gets ripped from her hands) and nearly puked.
 

KRW

Active Member
It is astounding how much some of them sell for. I've got Flesh for Frankenstein but that's my only one and I found it in a charity shop. I did toy with idea of collecting them on VHS until I saw the prices. I do have a nice Texas Chainsaw Massacre Iver release though.

The video nasty film below is essential viewing. It's a little slice of UK film history that's so bizarre and weird. Affecting dogs, indeed.
 

marcaaron22

Active Member
Do any of the banned movies ever get shown on satellite tv in their uncut form?, i have a motorised satellite system and just wondering if any get shown on foreign satellite?
 

Nyle

Active Member
That's one of the tamer scenes.

Well, I'm going to try to watch it tonight. It'll probably warp me even more than I've already been warped but I guess it's worth a watch.

Also, does anyone know if the UK releases of A Serbian Film & The Human Centipede on Blu-ray are uncut?
 

DICKIEDUVET

Distinguished Member
Human Centipede is uncut, A Serbian Film is cut (not a bad thing) as it's a worthless piece of **** anyway!
 

Nyle

Active Member
Human Centipede is uncut, A Serbian Film is cut (not a bad thing) as it's a worthless piece of **** anyway!

I preferred A Serbian Film over The Human Centipede. Does anyone know where I can get A Serbian Film on Blu-ray uncut, and if The Human Centipede II will eventually come out uncut? Thanks.
 

DICKIEDUVET

Distinguished Member
Serbian is cut by 1 min in the US and 4mins over here, The Scandanavian release is uncut.

Not sure about HC2
 

marcaaron22

Active Member
How do I make sure I am getting the correct version (uncut) of the following:

A Serbian Film
I Spit On Your Grave
Grotesque
Last House On The Left
 

kingkarl

Distinguished Member
How do I make sure I am getting the correct version (uncut) of the following:

A Serbian Film
I Spit On Your Grave
Grotesque
Last House On The Left

LHOTL is now fully uncut in the UK mate :smashin:
 
Do any of the banned movies ever get shown on satellite tv in their uncut form?, i have a motorised satellite system and just wondering if any get shown on foreign satellite?

The Horror Channel are currently showing a season of previously banned movies .
Some were banned in cut versions but these broadcasts are uncut
 
How do I make sure I am getting the correct version (uncut) of the following:

A Serbian Film
I Spit On Your Grave
Grotesque
Last House On The Left

Both versions of I Spit On your Grave are cut in the UK.
Both are available uncut on US Region A locked Blurays

The original LHOTL has been uncut in the UK for a couple of years.
The US Bluray illustrates how 16mm film stock can be a bit pointless on Bluray
 
As far as I know (And I'm happy to be corrected) it's not illegal to own a banned movie. But it is illegal to buy or sell a banned movie.As for Customs, yes. They can and they will sieze any uncertified tape/disc that they see fit. Any title that they open and think may be a title that they BBFC haven't or possibly won't certify, or is a version with a different cut to the UK, they will sieze and send you a letter stating that it's been taken as it contravenes the obscene publications laws

.


It's not illegal to own a banned movie unless its content comes within the Dangerous Pictures Act which would be unlikely with anything except porn.

It is not even illegal to own a banned movie that contravenes the Obscene Publications Act however it is illegal to sell/supply any movie that does not have a BBFC certificate so while you could import an uncut I Spit On your Grave quite legally you could get done if you then sold it again.

Customs do not intercept movies that don't have BBFC certificates.
They can and do seize movies that could contravene either of the laws I mentioned above.

For example - with only 14 seconds missing from the UK version of Cannibal Holocaust you could import an uncut one without an issue where once it was felt the film would break the OPA and would get seized.

Regarding Men Behind the Sun: I think it would be the distasteful subject matter more than the tacky gore effects that would raise eyebrows with this movie although a UK release would most definitely be missing the scene where a real cat is put into a room filled with rats to be torn apart

Worth remembering that just because a film does not get a BBFC certificate does not mean it would breach the OPA

At the Camden film fair next saturday you could quite legally buy all the video nasties without breaking any laws , although the guy you buy them from would technically be breaking the law.
 

marcaaron22

Active Member
Do the cut versions still have the power to be shocking and disturbing? Or do you actually 'need' the uncut versions for them to work?

The reason I ask this is because I have a blu ray player so if I have to look at importing the uncut/banned versions, the blu rays have to be either region B or region free and for DVDs, region 2

With DVDs, I could probably get away with them being region 1,

As for VHS, I hate the VHS format, quality is rubbish, and I stopped getting VHS as soon as DVDs came on the scene,

The BBFC and the government have thought of everything haven't they, and now (if i have read correctly) if you get imports, you have to pay import taxes on anything over £15, and you have the prying eyes of customs to worry about too
 
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PoochJD

Well-known Member
Hi Marcaaron,

Do the cut versions still have the power to be shocking and disturbing? Or do you actually 'need' the uncut versions for them to work?

That's a very open-ended question, as it depends on the film, on what has been cut, how it's been cut, and what remains.

It also depends very much on your own tolerance threshold's!

Some cut films can still shock and disturb, and some won't. Again, it's all down to what has been cut, and what remains.

Lastly, I should point out about the legality of collecting banned or potentially obscene materials. For the most part, importing a non-BBFC certificated film (such as the fully uncut version of CANNIBAL HOLOCAUST or SNUFF 102) is technically legal. However, there are two things you do need to be aware of:

Customs can open and inspect any parcel, that they feel may contain "contraband" or "obscene" material. Now, whilst the law does state what "obscene" means (the tendency to deprave and corrupt the intended audience - reader or viewer), HMRC doesn't always toe-that-line, and if they view your copy of CANNIBAL HOLOCAUST and feels it is obscene, they may attempt to prosecute you. Initially, you'll be sent a letter saying that in their view, the film(s) are obscene, and thus they will offer you the choice of having the item destroyed, and that's the end of the matter, OR attempting to challenge their decision in law, via the courts.

Now, most people will simply just go with the item being destroyed, rather than risk going through the legal system, which is fair-enough. (Obviously, you won't be able to get a refund from the company you placed the oprder with, nor get a replacement, so you lose out financially, but that's a small price to pay.) However, you do have the right to challenge their decision. There are plenty of HMRC horror stories, where they've attempted to claim that a certain film is obscene, illegal, or whatever, and a member of the public has challenged their claims, and won, but you need to check out the law for yourself. Forewarned is forearmed!

Secondly, it IS illegal to send through the UK postal system, any item that contains material (visual, written, or other) that is of an "obscene" nature. Again, there is a legal definition of "obscenity", but that doesn't mean your average Royal Mail or HMRC employee will know what that definition is, and will apply it accordingly. Show them a few scenes from CANNIBAL HOLOCAUST, and they may well think that it's the most offensive and depraved thing they've ever seen! :eek: They may also decide to intercept such a parcel, it turns up on your doorstep, asking to be signed for, and then the police suddenly appear, and your home is being searched for obscene materials. I don't want to alarm anyone, and whilst this is unlikely, it has been known to have happened!

For the most part, collecting and importing banned films is unlikely to get you into any trouble, providing you are only importing single copies of films, for your own personal viewing. However, you do still have to be very careful, as even a non-BBFC approved Region 1 Disney DVD/Blu-Ray is technically classifiable as "uncertificated material". The chances of HMRC applying the law to that item, is highly unlikely, but they could if they wanted too.

If you are planning on importing controversial films, do some research beforehand so that you know what you are buying, and make sure you don't bulk-buy several contentious titles, in one go, in one order. Parcels with more than a couple of controversial or contentious titles, is going to attract attention from HMRC, and that's the last thing you want, especially, if you don't have any legal experience or challenging HMRC's decisions.

In all my years of importing, I've never had anything stopped or opened by HMRC, thank goodness, but you do need to be fully aware that there is that potential, especially with the strongest material, such as SNUFF 102, etc, etc! There's always a tiny element of risk and chance, in importing these titles, so just be careful!


Pooch
 
Lastly, I should point out about the legality of collecting banned or potentially obscene materials. For the most part, importing a non-BBFC certificated film (such as the fully uncut version of CANNIBAL HOLOCAUST or SNUFF 102) is technically legal. However, there are two things you do need to be aware of:
I can assure you it is NOT illegal to import unclassified films at all.
Customs can only seize material they feel is likely to be classified as obscene.
So while both the old and new versions of I Spit On Your Grave are cut in the UK they are both unlikely to be classed as obscene in a court of law so Customs have no grounds at all for seizing either of them.

Importing a film that is either cut or banned by the BBFC contravenes no laws unless it is obscene.
Back in the days of the late 90's and James Ferman it is quite likely that many of the banned movies could have been seized but since the relaxation of censorship and the release of most banned movies complete and uncut in the UK it is hard to think of any movies that Customs could legitimately seize that is not porn.
 

quarry2006

Well-known Member
Some great and informed answers here...and macarron might even thank you at some point!
 

Pecker

Distinguished Member
It depends what you mean by 'banned'.

It's illegal to own child porography, and things like that. But if you own an uncut import of a DVD that's cut in the UK, that's not illegal.

In some cases it may be quite legal to import. Customs are only authorised to sieze material under the 'depraved and corrupt' benchmark. So as an example, through the '80s you could see The Exorcist at the cinema, but not buy it on DVD. But if you imported it, they couldn't sieze it, as they'd be saying that film classified and seen by millions in the UK for a decade was 'obscene', so importing that was fine. If they siezed it you'd just tell them you'd be calling James Ferman to support you in court.

However, I Spit On Your Grave had been banned as obscene, so they could sieze that.

Steve W
 

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