30 years after ban, infamous ‘video nasties' now streaming

Controversial films now found via Netflix, Amazon

It’s been 30 years since the British government passed the Video Recordings Act of 1984, tightening movie censorship practices amid public pressure. The infamous list of 72 controversial films, known as the video nasties, went largely unreleased or heavily edited in the U.K. until recent years.

With the popularity of streaming video services, the video nasties are more widely available than ever before. Of the original 72 pictures, 23 can be found through streaming or online DVD rental services like Netflix and Amazon Prime. Here’s the list of video nasties that can be found online through subscription services or one-time rentals:

A Bay of Blood (1971)

Where it can be seen: Streaming via Netflix.

Italian horror at its most gory. This infamous movie, also known as “Twitch of the Death Nerve,” has been credited as a big influence on the slasher genre of the 1980s. The movie was banned for cinema release in the U.K.

The Boogey Man (1980)

Where it can be seen: Streaming via Amazon Prime.

An American slasher picture, “The Boogey Man” was banned in Britain mainly because of its involvement of child actors alongside graphic violence as well as sexual content. The film spawned several sequels and co-starred John Carradine of “The Grapes of Wrath” fame.

The Burning (1981)

Where it can be seen: Netflix DVD rental subscription.

This slasher picture about an evil summer camp caretaker was censored in the U.K. for numerous violent scenes. The most controversial scene involved a woman being stabbed with a pair of scissors, in graphic detail.

Cannibal Holocaust (1980)

Where it can be seen: Netflix DVD rental subscription.

Arguably the most infamous video nasty that’s on this list, the Italian-made “Cannibal Holocaust” uses the found-footage style that would later be made famous by “The Blair Witch Project” and “Paranormal Activity.” The movie was banned in the U.K. for its gore as well as animal cruelty and director Ruggero Deodato was arrested on obscenity charges because some thought the film depicted actual human killings.

 

Contamination (1980)

Where it can be seen:  Digital rental via Amazon, iTunes, Google Play, Vudu and YouTube.

Another Italian film, “Contamination” is a sci-fi horror picture that was labelled a video nasty due to copious amounts of bloody special effects being used.

Dead & Buried (1981)

Where it can be seen: Digital rental via iTunes, Google Play and YouTube. Also via Netflix DVD subscription.

Like many of the films on the video nasty list, “Dead & Buried” was later cleared of obscenity charges and released in the U.K. This American horror film could have been lifted from a Stephen King novel as it centers on a New England town being terrorized by a series of grisly murders.

Delirium (1972)

Where it can be seen: Netflix DVD subscription.

An Italian thriller about a psychologist whom is also a violent sexual predator, responsible for killing several women. Sexual content and what was seen as graphic violence at the time got “Delirium” slapped with the video nasty label.

Don’t Go in the House (1979)

Where it can be seen: Netflix DVD subscription.

Another American horror movie, “Don’t Go in the House” centers on a killer that delights in burning his victims to death with a flamethrower. This film made it onto the video nasty list because of graphic violence and some thematic material involving children. It has since been released uncut in the U.K.

Don’t Go in the Woods (1981)

Where it can be seen: Digital rental via iTunes.

Banned in the U.K. until 2007, this American slasher picture was made on a shoestring budget of about $20,000. Like many horror films, it uses the woods as a creepy setting for the storyline.

Don’t Go Near the Park (1979)

Where it can be seen: Netflix DVD subscription.

One of the more bizarre plots on this list, “Don’t Go Near the Park” focuses on a pair of neanderthal siblings that have been killing for over 10,000 years. This is one of several video nasties which can only be rented through a Netflix DVD subscription.

Don’t Look in the Basement (1973)

Where it can be seen: Streaming via Amazon Prime, Epix, SnagFilms and YouTube.

Also known as “The Forgotten,” this horror movie uses the familiar setting of a mental hospital to set the mood for scares. Upon release, it shared a double-bill with fellow video nasty “The Last House on the Left.”

 

The Driller Killer (1979)

Where it can be seen: Streaming via SnagFilms and YouTube.

The movie credited with the creation of the legislation that spawned the video nasties list, “The Driller Killer” is an American slasher picture in which the killer uses the titular power tool as his weapon. British censors cut several violent scenes from the original release.

Eaten Alive (1977)

Where it can be seen: Digital rental via Amazon and Vudu.

Directed by Tobe Hooper, the man responsible for “The Texas Chainsaw Massacre,” this horror picture stars Robert Englund, the man most famous for later playing Freddy Krueger. The title comes from a sadistic character that feeds victims to his pet crocodile.

The Evil Dead (1981)

Where it can be seen: Streaming via Hulu Plus. Digital rental via iTunes, Google Play and YouTube.

The most well-known movie on the video nasties list, “The Evil Dead” spawned two sequels and a 2013 remake. This American film was banned in several countries upon release and was called one of the most violent movies ever made.

Evilspeak (1981)

Where it can be seen: Netflix DVD rental subscription.

An American occult movie starring Ron Howard’s little brother Clint, “Evilspeak” was banned thanks to its satanic plot elements and violent climax. Church of Satan founder Anton LaVey was allegedly a fan of the movie.

 

The Funhouse (1981)

Where it can be seen: Streaming via Xfinity StreamPix. Digital Rental via Amazon, iTunes, Google Play, Vudu, YouTube, Sony and Redbox Instant. Also through a Netflix DVD rental subscription.

The most widely-available streaming title on this list, “The Funhouse” was also directed by Tobe Hooper. Its stars include two-time Oscar-nominee Sylvia Miles in a plot that follows a group of teenagers trapped inside a carnival attraction.

House by the Cemetery (1981)

Where it can be seen: Streaming via Hulu Plus and Redbox Instant. Digital Rental via iTunes and Google Play. Also through a Netflix DVD rental subscription.

Another entry from the Italians, “House by the Cemetery” caught the ire of British censors because of a murder scene involving a fireplace poker. Several minutes of the movie were cut in the original release but have since been restored in DVD releases.

 

The Last House on the Left (1972)

Where it can be seen: Netflix DVD rental subscription. Digital Rental via Amazon, iTunes and Google Play.

The directorial debut of American horror icon Wes Craven, “The Last House on the Left” centers on a pair of young women that are abducted by criminals. The action takes place at a desolate home in the woods and left famous film critic Gene Siskel “repulsed,” after his first viewing. The picture was remade in 2009.

Let Sleeping Corpses Lie (1974)

Where it can be seen: Streaming via Hulu Plus. Digital Rental via Google Play.

This Spanish-Italian shocker was released under 15 different titles internationally, perhaps in an attempt to fool censors. The film’s plot combines Manson-esque murders with zombies.

Night Train Murders (1975)

Where it can be seen: Digital Rental via Google Play.

Another picture released under several different titles, this Italian thriller is notable for being scored by Ennio Morricone of “The Good, the Bad and the Ugly” fame. This flick was not released uncut in the U.K. until 2008.

Tenebre (1982)

Where it can be seen: Streaming via Amazon Prime.

Directed by Italian horror legend Dario Argento, this thriller follows a murder-mystery novelist that searches for a serial killer apparently inspired by his books. British censors took exception to the picture, heavily cutting it before its release under the alternate title “Unsane.”

 

The Toolbox Murders (1978)

Where it can be seen: Streaming via Redbox Instant.

Another video nasty that was remade in the 2000s, “The Toolbox Murders” is an American exploitation horror movie that follows a serial killer armed with a box of tools. The movie has never officially been released uncut in the U.K.

Visiting Hours (1982)

Where it can be seen: Streaming via Netflix.

With a cast that includes William Shatner and Lee Grant, this Canadian slasher movie could be called the most star-studded of the video nasties. As you might have guessed from the title, the majority of the film’s action takes place inside a hospital where a killer stalks a young woman.

CLICK HERE for the full list of Britain's 72 video nasties.

Follow this writer on Twitter @MrClintDavis.

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