The Hollywood Reporter posted news that the British Board of Film Classification (the BBFC is the UK equivalent of the MPAA) is banning ‘Full Sequence’, the sequel to the foreign horror film ‘The Human Centipede’, for being “sexually violent and potentially obscene.” Aren’t the days of banning films over yet?
The BBFC was great at banning movies in the last century, but ‘Full Sequence’ marks only the second film to be banned in the 2000s. In the 1970s, the BBFC blocked ‘The Last House on the Left’, ‘The Exorcist’, ‘A Clockwork Orange’ and ‘The Texas Chain Saw Massacre’. Meanwhile, the only films to be banned nationwide in the United States since 1969 were all due to legal issues such as copyrights, licenses or lawsuits.
The only other movie to be banned in the UK this century is 2009’s ‘Grotesque’, a graphic Japanese horror film whose plot description resembles that of ‘Full Sequence’. According to IMDb: “An unnamed doctor has always had everything he’s ever wanted, but that has only made him develop more extreme and depraved needs. He kidnaps a young couple in the prime of their life together and forces them into a game of torment that slowly extinguishes their hopes for survival.” Reviews describe this torture-filled snuff film as containing sequences of extreme mutilation – all for the sexual pleasure of the psychopathic central character. Apparently, ‘Full Sequence’ depicts how the new ‘Human Centipede’ doctor also gets off while mutilating living beings. The BBFC doesn’t approve.
The BBFC’s official statement reads: “The principal focus of The Human Centipede II (Full Sequence) is the sexual arousal of the central character at both the idea and the spectacle of the total degradation, humiliation, mutilation, torture, and murder of his naked victims. … It is the Board’s conclusion that the explicit presentation of the central character’s obsessive sexually violent fantasies is in breach of its Classification Guidelines and poses a real, as opposed to a fanciful, risk that harm is likely to be caused to potential viewers.”
While I enjoy my fair share of gross horror movies, personally, ‘Full Sequence’ doesn’t sound like my masochistic cup of tea. But for some people it is, and they should have the right to choose to see it or not. Aside from the sexual arousal part, ‘Full Sequence’ doesn’t sound all that different from the original ‘Human Centipede’, which the BBFC didn’t ban.
‘The Human Centipede’ didn’t perform well in the UK, so ‘Full Sequence’ presumably wouldn’t either. There’s only one tiny audience that ‘The Human Centipede’ appeals to, and that’s the type of audience that will find a way to see if they have to – legally or not. Banning it from theatrical and DVD releases will only force those who want to see it to hop onto BitTorrent and download it illegally. The BBFC may be able to stop it from being shown in theaters or being available at the local video store, but someone who really wants to see it will find a way.
[Source: The Hollywood Reporter]
the bbfc’s statement is how i feel towards reality television. it should be banned as well. 🙂
Count me among those excited for this one, or maybe the only one.
I cannot even begin to imagine wanting to watch this film or, for that matter, its predecessor. It sounds like utter garbage, to put it mildly.
That said, I wonder how the Board arrived at the conclusion that the film “poses a real, as opposed to a fanciful, risk that harm is likely to be caused to potential viewers” (at least consenting adults). Were the Board members who reviewed the film harmed? If so, how? Did the viewing of the film much resemble the viewing of the opening of the Ark of the Lost Covenant in the first Indiana Jones film? (“Don’t look at it…keep your eyes shut!”)
Sounds like either the Board or the filmakers had their heads up someone’s ass. Pun intended.
I don’t really understand this. Is it really “banned”? I don’t think it is, the BBFC just won’t give it a rating. Like the MPAA the BBFC isn’t a government organization so they have no way of enforcing if ‘HC2’ was sold in the UK under a “Not Rated” or “Unrated” label.
There’s no such thing as ‘unrated’ in the UK. All films/videos sold in UK shops must have a BBFC certificate. If the BBFC refuse to certify it, effectively the film is banned in the UK. The only exception to this is films ‘exempt from classification’, which is usually only used for documentaries, etc…
The rules for cinemas are different, but a film refused classification is extremely unlikely to be shown in a UK cinema.
Thanks for the clarification. Here in the states if the MPAA refused to give the movie a rating they’d just sell it unrated. I’m sure there would be places like Wal-Mart that would refuse to carry it, but they’d be able to sell it nonetheless.
I’m not sure the MPAA refuses to rate films, other than films that are not submitted in accordance with whatever the MPAA’s submission guidelines are. I think that if a film is released as unrated, it’s either because the film (or that specific cut of the film) was never submitted in the first place or else because the studio/producer/whoever chose to reject the rating the MPAA assigned.
From what I’ve read the second film is much more detailed.
The first film put a lot of emphasis on realism, but didn’t show anything too explicit. It was basically just rated 18+ for the idea.
The second film is supposed to take place mostly in the character’s head but what happens is a lot more graphic. (Masturbation with barbed wire, close-ups of excrement being passed into mutilated mouths, etc.)
Wasn’t interested in seeing the first film and I’m even less interested in seeing the second.
What I find interesting (and disappointing) about this article is how quickly you passed over the issue of films being banned & censored in America.
It seems to me that banning or censoring a work of legitimate art (like Abel Ferrera’s Bad Lieutenant, which made (authorised) use of a rap song which itself had used an unauthorised Led Zeppelin sample) for reasons of copyright is a far more serious concern than the BBFC banning a piece of extreme torture-porn.
I’m not saying that what the BBFC did was right or wrong, but censoring on the basis of extreme depravity is more reasonable than censoring on the basis of ‘copyright infringement’
About the whole “people will torrent it,” incidentally, I think that’s the point.
If the BBFC wants to discourage this type of horror, then one of the most realistic ways to do that is by making it difficult for studios to make money on it.
Wether British citizens torrent the film or avoid it completely, the filmmakers won’t make money from them either way. Smart move on the BBFC’s part.
The way that we came to accept films like this into our society were through the desensitisation theory which shows how over a number of decades our world has been slowly drip-fed different ideas that are now seen as normal. Such as homosexuality shown on TV screens today that is totally acceptable, but go back thirty years and it would have been unacceptable. In thirty years The Human Centipede will probably be a children’s daytime TV show compared to what is to come.