(Mouse over each image for a list of Alternate Titles)
Almost completely unremarkable, this is perhaps the most boring of all the cannibal pictures. It isn't as violent as the other examples. It isn't original in any way. It doesn't provoke its audience in any memorable effort. Directed by Allan Steve, “Cannibal Terror” is a mere rip-off of other more concentrated cannibal movies, including the jungle setting, and the inhuman torture displayed by the jungle's natives. It is probably persecuted because it was lumped in with the pictures that it attempted to imitate more so than it being violent all in itself. See “Cannibal Holocaust” for a better all-around example of the genre.
*CURRENTLY NOT AVAILABLE ON REGION 1 DVD
While there are some sequences in “Contamination” in which someone's chest may explode, the violence throughout the film is not near enough to suggest it's inclusion on the DPP's list. The violence is not overly effective, and becomes less so as the film progresses. The tone of the film is also all wrong, as there is no underlying sense of dread, or even unease. Anyone who's witnessed a Luigi Cozzi film, such as “Contamination” will attest that his skill as a director is limited at best, as he is completely incapable of establishing any type of atmosphere. The censors may have overreacted slightly when it comes to “Contamination”, as there's really nothing to be so up in arms about.
One of the more effective films on the list, “Dead & Buried” is very well made and scripted, contains a unique enough concept developed to a satisfying twist, and enough gore to satisfy most. The uncut release features a particularly gruesome effect for anyone who can appreciate a good bit of eyeball gore. Both shocking and atmospheric, “Dead & Buried” is one of the only mainstream American releases to appear on the list.
Tobe Hooper's follow up to the immortal “Texas Chainsaw Massacre”, “Death Trap” is unworthy of its director's skills. It comes across as terribly ineffective, and even boring. Where “Texas Chainsaw” was effective in suggesting violence without graphic depiction, “Death Trap” relies more on shocking the viewer with bargain basement effects. The result is sometimes laughable. Based on a true story about a motel owner hacking up patrons and feeding them to his pet alligator, “Death Trap” may be worth seeing for fans of the director. Robert Englund also has a cameo.
A precursor to the cannibal movies that followed it (although nowhere near as adept), “Deep River Savages” (or “The Man from Deep River ”) was a fairly original concept when it premiered. Schlockmaster Umberto Lenzi helmed this picture, and it is probably among his better efforts. It is anchored by a surprisingly above-average performance by leading man Ivan Rassimov, who is easy to cheer for in his role taking on at different times a Thai gang, and two different native tribes, and coming up the victor of all three battles. It is sad, however, that while this movie is filled with cruelty, violence, and plenty of sex (almost pornographic amounts), that Lenzi would take his material so seriously. He seems to have wanted to make an art-house picture, and this is not the story to do it with. I suppose that it is nothing new with Umberto Lenzi, who has nary a particularly good picture in his filmography. Rassimov just happened to make this movie slightly more watchable than most.
“Delirium” is a film about a Vietnam vet who gets hired on by a group of people to bring about vigilante justice on the city's crime. It just so happens, that vigilante justice is just the kind of thing that sets the vet off, and he becomes a raving women killer. Go fig! The interesting thing about “Delirium” is that it doesn't feel like most of the other films on the list. It actually has more of a… well… “Vigilante” feel; definitely low budget, but the subject material is more of a hybrid low-brow action film with some ultra-violence thrown in for good measure. The way the gore just happens to fit into parts of a movie that the viewer feels as though they should know inside-out anyways, allows one to walk away not just disgusted, but also slightly enamored. Sure there is still plenty of camp. And the movie overall isn't very good. But for those who still rent those old VHS tapes in the big old boxes (remember those things?), and think that they are going to see something on the ordinary end of low-budget crap, will be pleasantly surprised. The horror elements fit just uncomfortably enough for “Delirium” to be a memorable film.
*CURRENTLY NOT AVAILABLE ON REGION 1 DVD
Another gem from Jesus Franco, “The Devil Hunter” features a common theme among the Video Nasties: crazy cannibal natives! Actually there is only one really demented native, and he calls himself “The Devil;” hence the title. For some reason, this crazy native tribe feels as though they need money, and crazier yet they feel that by doing horrible things to a kidnapped model is the best way to go about getting that cash. The ultimately failed concept comes to a head as the Indiana Jones wannabe hero (the title role) finally saves the day (but not before plenty of torture). The only moment of particular note would be a scene where “The Devil” literally eats out his victim. Not well done, but not a commonality in cinema nonetheless.
*STILL BANNED IN THE UK
*CURRENTLY NOT AVAILABLE ON REGION 1 DVD
The title sounds lame, but “Don't Go into the House” is one of the better examples of filmmaking on the list. Unlike other Video Nasties, “Don't Go into the House” is devoid of camp, and actually goes right for the jugular. The main character, the killer, was an overly abused child who finally gets revenge on his mother by burning her alive. Then he proceeds to repeat that same act again and again on other women that he happens to meet. I am reminded of that scene in “The Thing from another World” when I see the flaming bodies in “Don't Go into the House,” because there was a time when filmmaking couldn't fake the flames and there was real danger involved with fire. There is a bluntness and reality in Joseph Ellison's direction that we don't see nearly often enough nowadays. The tangible pain that characterizes Ellison's film allows it stand above other movies in this genre. “Don't Go into the House” was truly deserving of its ban.
Four young campers, backpacking through the mountains, find themselves being pursued by a machete-wielding manic. How's that for an original concept? Dominated by bad acting and terrible dialogue, “Don't Go into the Woods” should be a guilty pleasure to those of use who enjoy a movie that's ‘so bad, it's good.' The violence is excessive, if not totally believable, as nearly everyone our group encounters is hacked to bloody bits. There is no attempt to establish these people as anything more than fodder for our backwoods psycho - just pure mayhem of the most humorously violent kind. This film is still banned in the UK for the amount of violence contained within.
Larry Foldes wrote and directed this bore of a horror shocker that features not only relentless nonsense, but also terrible… well, terrible everything. The plot could be neat, as it focuses on two people who are supposed vampires (although are far more cannibalistic than familiar vampire lore tells us), and have a strange set of rules (including virgin sacrifice and mortal soul exchange) for their immortality to take effect. How it adds up to not going near the park is truly beyond me. It seems as though the number one thing that the Government's Department of Public Prosecutions looked at as being ban-worthy was the eating of human guts, which definitely takes place in “Don't Go Near the Park.” But everything else, even the nudity, the film seems to be shy about. Don't waste your time.
While considered a minor classic, there's not much here to suggest its inclusion on the Nasties list, but who am I to judge… In its favour, the film has a distinctly 70's grittiness, which certainly helps the atmosphere of the film, which is at times (very rarely) quite tense. The film suffers throughout most of its running time, however, as it's quite slow paced, and doesn't really pick up until the final sequence. Overall, a snoozer.
Abel Ferrara's “The Driller Killer” was made notorious because of its cover art which featured an actual scene of cordless drill murder. It is this cover art, which was used in great multitude by many magazines that spurned the Video Nasty government movie bans. They saw the bloody face of a drilled victim, and decided that enough was enough. They were going to ban cinema of this gruesome nature, as they saw no artistic merit behind the violence, and perceived it in the vein of pornography with more dangerous consequences for its viewers. In reality, “The Driller Killer” is no more violent and really no better than most other horror films of its time. Ferrara wants to achieve more than the low-budget genre allows, but at this point in his career his direction was nowhere near the level that he would be at while directing movies like “Bad Lieutenant” and “Body Snatchers.” “The Driller Killer” is more of a curiosity for horror fans (for the cover art and what it inspired), and for fans of Ferrara 's later work.
What can I say about Sam Raimi's “The Evil Dead” that everyone doesn't already know? Probably not a heck of a lot. It is probably the most famous of all the nasties, and also definitely among the most technically sound. Raimi did things far beyond what his miniscule budget should have allowed, including the creation of the shakicam which imitate the crazy camera movement of high-budget action films on a much more risky zip-line rig. It is often mistaken for a comedy, but this is puzzling to me as it houses several scenes of a genuinely disturbing quality, and managed to stay in my mind long after the movie ended. Its sequels were comedy unabashed, and obviously intentional. That “The Evil Dead” is lumped in with the other two as comedy-horror hybrids is unfair to it. Sam Raimi's directorial debut is also his masterpiece. “The Evil Dead” is one of the great horror pictures of all time.
It's hard to look back at a film like “Evilspeak” and understand what would warrant an ‘X' rating. Sure, it's violent, but the gore is terrible by today's standards (obviously), but it's a curiosity to me how it could have warranted the banning of the film in the UK , and the dreaded ‘X' rating, even in 1981. The story regarding a young student at a Military Academy seeking revenge on his tormentors, through a rather unnatural combination of black magic and his computer, is nothing new or exciting, although it is a unique combination. While not exactly memorable, the film is hardly bad, with a sympathetic protagonist (played well by Clint Howard in one of his only leading roles) and an excessive amount of gore during the films final sequence.
Starring vampire film veteran Udo Kier, “Expose” is towards the tamer end of the nasties. Other than a rape scene that resembles the one in Sam Peckinpah's “Straw Dogs” (a movie that I thought was banned with the rest of the nasties, but I was surprised when I found out it wasn't), and some murderous subject matter, there is really nothing too objectionable in “Exposé.” It is sad, because I really like Udo Kier playing the leading man, but “Exposé” is full of contrived plot twists that don't make sense, and it makes for pretty unintentionally brainless viewing. Not worth watching for the violence, means that it really isn't all that worth watching at all.