BBFC rejects GROTESQUE
The BBFC has made the now rare decision to reject new Japanese horror Grotesque (reviewed here only a couple of weeks back) for an 18 certificate classification. Although local councils still have the power to overrule BBFC decisions on what can be shown theatrically, it means widespread distribution is almost impossible, and video distribution illegal and liable for prosecution under the Obscene Publications Act. The film was due a DVD release by 4 Digital Asia, who’ve previously brought the likes of Tokyo Gore Police to the UK and clearly didn’t expect this decision given the marketing activity that's already kicked off.
BBFC director David Cooke has stated: ''Unlike other recent 'torture'-themed horror works, such as the Saw and Hostel series, Grotesque features minimal narrative or character development and presents the audience with little more than an unrelenting and escalating scenario of humiliation, brutality and sadism. The chief pleasure on offer seems to be in the spectacle of sadism (including sexual sadism) for its own sake… Rejecting a work outright is a serious matter and the board considered whether the issue could be dealt with through cuts. However, given the unacceptable content featured throughout cutting the work is not a viable option in this case and the work is therefore refused a classification.''
The issue here (as aired in the comments section of Onderhound’s review) seems to be intent and overall scenario, rather than specific instances of violence, towards which the board has been increasingly lenient in recent years. Whilst I’m not in favour of film censorship for the most part, I have to question the artistic integrity of this effort. Or rather I would, if only I could see it…