Andy Deen, 46, is a man who knows his horror. Owner of the website UK Horror Scene, he is also the editor and director of the Triple Six Horror Festival, which runs May 27 and 28 at the AMC Cinema, Manchester. In between working on the website and pulling together details for the upcoming festival, Andy was able to give his thoughts in regards to censorship and horror in general.
Firstly, what memories did he have of the Video Nasty period. On this, he said: “I was a teenager when this happened and beforehand, you could just go into a store and rent whatever the hell you wanted. This changed and it became bloody serious. My main thought is the massive over-reaction to the films. Yes, there were a few extreme horror features but mainly they were just relatively poor shockers that were given notoriety by the press. I remember thinking at the time that I could be psychologically affected by watching some films. But I did watch them and that never happened.”
This idea of films being damaging in some way will always be an issue. But, people do watch these films all over the world and do not react in the way that certain aspects of the media would have you believe. In relation to this, Andy was asked whether he felt any of the films on the banned list was justified in being there. He said: “No, not at all. I am very anti-censorship in cinema, music and life in general. If you find something offensive then tough shit. It is purely subjective and what I may find offensive, like religion, others find comfort in. So I say live and let live and if I want to watch a gory horror film, so be it.”
This is all, in the end, subjective. The interesting point is despite all the media backlash and government crusades against these films, it did not seem to hurt the horror film industry much, in Andy’s opinion. He said: “It pushed people underground and gave us tape traders a sort of badge of honour and a feeling we belonged to a special, if somewhat illegal club. It did, I suppose have an effect on some filmmakers, distributors and suppliers but it sort of made horror cool.”
Andy does also feel the BBFC have been doing a good job in recent years. On this, he said: “I think the BBFC do a fantastic job and I fully support them. They have moved forward through difficult times and now I personally feel they are where they should be.
“Again, I am against censorship but I do understand some cuts in films, say for animal cruelty. I have seen Hate Crime and while I did not like it, I did not think it was worth banning. The aspect of Anti-Semitism comes into play, but then could you ban Life Of Brian? They did try! Also I think Human Centipede II was banned before nearly three minutes of cuts and again, I did not see the point. Also, Kôji Shiraishi’s Grotesque was banned but probably because it was awful as well as graphic.”