Censorship is a disease that has been apparent since long before the eighties’ video nasty epidemic. Folk had very thin skin back then, sex was something totally outlawed unless in the comfort of one’s own boudoir, and after wedding nuptials had been exchanged. Even then, you were still required to wrestle off a corset and unlock a chastity belt before you could actually embark on some good old lights-off missionary. Grue had no place back then either; the effect would be lost in translation in black & white and, again, prudish attitudes allowed not for anything resembling bloodletting.
It was the sixties when film censorship really reared its head. While peace-loving hippies were prancing about on acid, clad only in daisy chains and sowing their seeds at Woodstock, legislation was beginning to be put in place to halt the insurgence of such blasphemy. Of course, it was the 1980s when the shit really hit the fan in mid-oscillation as the tabloids decided that escalating violence was due to the upsurge in violent films hitting the marketplace with increasing regularity. Having laid the blame squarely on horror’s doorstep, the police were called into action in a number of raids; whereby they seized copies of these immoral pieces of filth.
In 1983 the BBFC named and shamed the supposed ringleaders of exploitative cinema, banishing them to some ram-shackled warehouse where they watched them in privacy, whilst smoking all the cannabis they’d pillaged from the youth on their daily beat. It was all pretty shambolic to say the very least; highlighted by the fact Tobe Hooper’s hardly blood-saturated Funhouse was one of the movies chastised, purely through clerical error, for sharing mantles with another, more deserving piece now known as The Last House on Dead End Street.
Poor hapless David Grant from Obsidian even served time for the distribution of Roman Scavolini’s Nightmares in a Damaged Brain, where he no doubt lost his anal virginity all to become known as a martyr. It all amassed to one of the most ridiculous knee-jerk reactions ever seen and now, thirty years on, many of the renowned nasties are available uncensored with R rating.
Certain films have been held accountable for particular atrocities since, including Child’s Play 3 no less which, two years after its release in 1993, shouldered the blame for the murder of 2-year old Jamie Bulger at the hands of two pre-pubescent boys. Child’s Play 3?! What next, Bambi getting blamed for an Amazon forest fire?!!!
Even now in our desensitized society, works are still being considered misogynistic; lambasted for glorifying violence and Matt Farnsworth’s The Orphan Killer is living, breathing proof of this narrow-mindedness. Upon receiving mail from the German Board of Classifications, Farnsworth was more than a little befuddled to learn that his Social Media Slasher and piece de resistance had been classed as unfit for public consumption.
That alone was all well and good but the fact that he hadn’t even submitted it in the first place was of eternal mystification to him. Had they simply preempted any endeavor to release the film? Was it that repugnant? Of course not, it isn’t exactly Disney but by the same token it isn’t immoral either. It’s a slasher, plain and simple. Granted, it is thought-provoking and highlights the cause and effect of stealing a child’s youth and replacing it with torment and cruelty but, if anything, that just makes it more relevant.
Whatever their reasoning, it is no skin off Matt Farnsworth’s nose, on the contrary. Bad press = wider exposure so danke Deutschland for helping to spread the word that little bit farther. It would be intriguing to know what the censors would’ve made of TOK had it dropped into their laps; likely much shaking of heads and rolling of eyes. Its multitude of gloriously implemented dispatches linger a little too long to sit comfortably with such puritans.
Thankfully Matt had the courage of his convictions and self-distributed his magnum opus as the concept of this fine film festering in some dusty archive for twenty years would be too much to bear. Now, two years on, you can purchase it on iTunes and be watching it the same evening. Thank the heavens above, and burning pits of hell below, for technology.
Truly, Really, Clearly, Sincerely,
Keeper of the Crimson Quill
First Knight of TOK
Copyright: Crimson Quill: Savage Vault Enterprises 2013
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