Censorship: The Public View

People who actively love the horror genre will defend it to the hilt, which is understandable. It is natural to defend what you love. But, it could be argued that their view will always be skewed and biased. So with that in mind, maybe it would be best to look at what members of the general public have to say regarding this issue. These are people also affected by censorship and banning, so their opinion is just as valid.

From the comments received, it seems a vast majority of people are against censorship, in some form at least. For example, Norman Teasdale said that we should “let people judge for themselves. If they do not like it, switch it off.” This sentiment is shared by Lee Robson, who said: “Nothing should be banned. There are certificate ratings there for a reason. One person’s hate is another’s like. Banning a film promotes it too. It encourages people’s curiosity to see why it was banned then they make their own judgment.” This idea of promotion is one that many people brought up, with Becca Philipson saying that she feels “that no banning is best otherwise it just promotes it.”

Cannibal Holocaust VHS cover

That is not to say the people feel that there is no justifiable reason for banning or censorship. Michael Cartin said that while he feels “unhappy about nearly any movie being banned,” he did also say that he supports censorship in some cases, saying “I do not feel so sure about Cannibal Holocaust because real animals were killed.” This is a valid point as it is probably safe to say that most people would not want to see real pain inflicted onto an animal or person. The other issue some people may have is exposing some of the cast to some adult situations, even in a small way. Christine Skeels said: “I am not comfortable with anything that shows a child being harmed or abused or in danger in any way because I do not like to think what the child actor must go through to act out their part. But, if the movie tells a story that needs telling, I do not know how you get around that apart from using CGI,” before adding that, unless something contains illegal content, she was “not sure anything should be banned.”

For some people, it was a tougher issue. Michael Loxley said that he feels “censorship is designed to keep certain topics and taboos in check with standards that protect us from certain topics. That is a good thing.

“Banning can be acceptable if a film disregards the moral code and breaks the censorship barrier. That however, is governing a very specific and in my opinion, very needed issue.” He did also say that “censorship seems to be an always out of date format that needs reclassifying in order to appropriately deliver a sensible censorship argument.” He was not the only person conflicted in some degree with their belief. Dale Mallon said: “Censorship is a very grey area for me that I have never been able to decide on. On the one hand, freedom of speech is not to be discarded lightly, as it is part of what makes this a free nation as opposed to somewhere like North Korea.

BBFC Logo

“On the simpler point of adult themes such as violence and gore, as long as there are clear warnings, I do not see why it should be banned. People old enough to see such movies in the first place are old enough to judge responsibly whether they should see it.” This last point seems the most popular amongst people. For example, Chris Taylor said that he does not “see a point in a rating system with 18 or upwards if it is going to be banned,” adding that he feels “banning also just makes people want to watch it more.”

In the end, it seems most people do not believe that banning, for the most part, is necessary. If a film is made for an adult audience, then it could be argued that those adults should make a decision about whether that is for them. It is the job of cinemas, entertainment stores and parents to make sure that a film does not find an unsuitable viewer. This point is summed up by RJ Phoenix, who said: “There is a way of ensuring that children do not see films that are unsuitable at the cinema, though this will be down to parents at home.”

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