Video Nasties: The Definitive Guide (2010)

DVD Cover (Severin Films)
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Connections: Video Nasties

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Julian Petley
Julian Petley
Marc Morris
Marc Morris
Andy Nyman
Andy Nyman
Xavier Mendik
Xavier Mendik
Christopher Smith
Christopher Smith
Review by Bill Wolford
Added: March 14, 2011
Everything you wanted to know about the video nasties, but was afraid to ask!

First of all, as an American reviewing this, I was not "there" when this all happened. Maybe that makes it even more enjoyable today. And it also makes watching what happened even more unbelievable and shocking, so let's get to it.

This set seems to be the be all, end all of what you need to know about video nasties all packed into a three-disc set running over thirteen hours in total. If you were a lucky bugger (and I wasn't) some of the early copies were sold with replica lobby cards advertising some of the nasties talked about in the film.

The set starts off with the documentary, Video Nasties; Moral Panic, censorship and videotape. While being greatly informative and interesting, I felt it was too short as the run time for this was only about 72 minutes. This could have run at least another hour without me losing any interest whatsoever, because the subject is so fascinating. It includes snippets of interviews from both pro and con camps. Mary Whitehouse, Graham Bright and others make appearances in new and archival footage, and the history of what happened with the early 80's videotape scare is made very clear, even if you weren't from England. Archival news reports as well as new footage from reporters is used to illustrate how intense this issue was in the day, and how it seems to have never really gone away entirely as censorship can still be found in movies new and old to this day in England.

While I found the documentary fascinating and should have been the meat and potatoes of this package, it is not. Surprisingly, its the extras which makes this set a must own for all collectors of horror cinema.

The extras on disc one (including two Easter eggs) are as follows. You get almost an hours worth of pre-cert video company identifications. This could be boring for some, but I enjoyed looking at them, and recognizing a few of them myself (Thorn-EMI for one). This will be more nostalgic for VHS tape collectors, and for those across the pond who have seen these often. Last on Disc one is an image gallery showing artwork from the 80 titles on the DPP's section 3 list. These are all VHS covers and look wonderful on the screen.

Disc two starts the amazing reviews and trailers of the video nasties. all original trailers are filmed with new introductions from some of the people who appeared in the documentary. Kim Newman, Marc Morris, Neil Marshall and other experts do the honors to introduce the nasties and their trailers. This portion concentrates on the 39 nasties that were successfully prosecuted in the UK courts. Plus you get another image gallery for those 39 video releases.

Disc three continues along the same path, with the guests introducing the trailers for the 33 nasties that were initially banned, but then acquitted and removed from the DPP list. Plus you get to see the image gallery for those covers as well.

All of the trailers look to be in the correct aspect ratio and seem to have been cleaned up as much as possible considering the rarity of some of them. The introductions are concise, insightful and genuinely honest about the material and you can learn what nasties seem to be the most popular, the best to watch, and which ones to avoid. To the collector though, the DPP list is a dream list to be able to collect all the nasties, good or bad, to be able to proudly say you own them all.

As I said in the beginning, this is a must own for all horror collectors. It will take you back in time with its documentary, and it will give you something to enjoy and study with its commentary and nasties trailers. I believe that this might be the final word on the subject of the video nasties And if not, surely it will rank among the most enjoyable. Go out and get yourself a copy of this now. 10/10.
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