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International - August 19, 2021

Censor: Video nasty film explores the power of horror

Censor: Video nasty film explores the power of horror

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Filmmaker Prano Bailey-Bond poses this question in her first feature film Censor, set in the so-called “video nasty” era of the 80s.

During that time, low-budget horror films were released directly to watch on home video recorders.

Bailey-Bond’s film explores how Enid (Niamh Algar), a film censor, slowly unravels after viewing a “nasty” that reminds her of her sister’s childhood disappearance.

Enid tries to solve the puzzle behind the film and its director, blurring the line between fiction and reality.

The Welsh director says her film “poses this idea that as humans we are so afraid of ourselves, that in some people’s minds we are just one step away from doing something terrible, as though you could just watch a film and your moral compass is completely thrown out of the window”.

She discusses the “social and political hysteria” around video nasties, saying: “When this new technology, VHS, came out, there was a boom in these lurid horror movies as these films could be delivered straight to video and so to our homes.

“The lack of censorship for these films provoked a public discussion that this new era would threaten our social psyche.”

Bailey-Bond argues that new forms of technology often provoke some form of cultural panic.

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