Video Nasties Make Me Happy!!
I have a rule when it comes to writing OF ANY KIND: write the serious shit (i.e.: short stories, scripts, creative fiction) when stone cold sober. Blog when you are drunk or drinking. It lends a certain honesty to the proceedings, even if it is a "false honesty". I'll take it where I can get it, ya dig?
This is one of those honest posts. I was sitting around the house on a Friday night before beginning the work week again and I needed some cheese to watch. I was nursing the last 1/3 of a bottle of REALLY DAMN GOOD 16-year Lagavulin. It's primo. Take my word for it. King of the Islays.
Anyways, I started off with "Deadtime Stories". Truth be told, it was a fairly run-of-the-mill late 80's horror anthology. Nothing impressive, aside from a couple of novel ideas and better than expected SFX. Not a negative experience. I spent a few loopy minutes trying to decide what to watch. I wanted a documentary. I like documentaries, especially when they deal with movies or weird shit or sex or (every so often) socially conscious subjects. What can I say? I'm a Renaissance Man, but I'm not Socrates. I'm just a man.
So, I stumbled upon a series called "Video Nasties". I've heard the term before, of course: the aforementioned "video nasties" were a list of films that were banned by the BBFC (British Board of Film Classification.......meaning the fucking censors) in the 80's and 90's. Said documentary is about various films targeted by the BBFC and the inside stories of their time trying to monitor (specifically) the home video explosion of the 80's and 90's.
If you know me then you know that home video is a subject that I feel very strongly about. It's a huge part of my life. I've often said I was raised at the video store. That's not a knock on my sainted mother, who did a fantastic job of raising my brother and I and teaching us right from wrong. It's simply the truth. My weekends consisted of a stack of movies (mostly horror) and another stack of video games, followed by some Dungeons and Dragons. If you're judging me for that entire statement then you can kindly go fuck yourself with a barbed-wire baseball bat.
What really blew me away (aside from the nostalgia of so many great movies/box cover art/stories of discovery) was what the poor bastards in England had to go through just to watch a quality horror film. That's bad enough, but the real zinger is the message that's underneath all that.
Did you know that the standards imposed by the BBFC were so strict that there were LITERALLY conventions where tapes were traded on the black market with bullshit labels??! Did you know that they had customs agents at the airports who confiscated fucking videocassettes of shit like "Child's Play 3" and "Texas Chainsaw Massacre". Did you know that "The Exorcist" wasn't LEGAL in England until 1999??????!!!!! Really??
That shit just blows my mind. It truly does.
I've always had a hang-up about censorship. It offends me on a deeply personal level. No degree or job title or status in society (earned or otherwise) gives you the right to tell me what is right for me or my family or my children. Who the fuck do you think you are? Where do you draw your power from? What imagined well of righteousness gives you the confidence to tell me what I can handle?
Truly...........that is at the heart of my issue with censorship. I can concede that you may know better than I what is "good for me" in a work environment. I listen to my boss because he has been playing this game one fuck of a lot longer than I have. I listen to my wife because she has "the sight". She knows all of my bullshit front to back and knows when I am about to cross into territory that I can't handle. Hell, I listen to my kid because she has a purity of observation that supersedes all of my filters that I put on shit.
But a CENSOR??! Man, go fuck yourself (and make it rough). You're going to tell me that I can't handle the material presented because of breeding or class or education level? So what if I find it entertaining? Does that make me a sicko because I find a film like "I Spit on Your Grave" to be a classic? I think not. There's a strong feminist message there. It's your narrow-minded misogyny that gives you the guilt, sir or ma'am.
The shocking exists to show us how bad it can be and help us appreciate all that we have. Doesn't it comfort you that your life is so much better than that? I'd hope so. It certainly comforts me.
And if I just enjoy it for the gore, nudity, & general depravity of it all? Who are you to judge me?
Isn't that God's privilege and His alone?