Video nasties is a term coined by the U.K in 1982 to describe the group of videos deemed to be extremely violet for release. At the time the Video Recordings Act of 1984 had not been passed through, so these films were available to purchase by everyone. the Video Recordings Act posed a stricter censorship on films.
One video nasty that I am going to be talking about is Evil Dead because it is the only that I have seen. Evil Dead is a 1981film directed by Sam Raimi and got it’s “Video Nasty” title due to various scenes containing “excessive gore, violence and terror”, although the video was well received be critics, and remains a cult classic. However one scene that critics appear to be almost-unanimous in their disagreement in is the “tree-rape scene” which involves a woman being attacked and eventually raped by a tree possessed by demons.
Another notorious video nasty is a film called SS Experiment Love Camp. SS Experiment Love Camp is a 1976 film directed by Sergio Garrone. The genre of the film is commonly known as “Nazi Exploitation” (films surrounding Nazis commiting criminal acts of a sexual nature) and is centred around a Nazi Officer looking for a testicle transplant. This video nasty was officially titled as a video nasty by the Obscene Publication Act. This video nasty is an example, of a video nasty that perhaps would still receive the same feedback if released in today. The cover photo of this film was a major talking point as it’s main focus is a woman tied upside-down to a cross, naked. This would appear to be extremely sacrilegious to many today, so I can only imagine the reaction to this film in 1976 (considering how much of a part religion played in society in 1976).
I think the problem at the time with video nasties, was not necessarily the content. Many of these films contain a level of gore and violence not dissimilar to the level shown today in cinemas in 15-rated films if not 18-rated films. The problem that many people had with the video nasties was the fact that these films would not as readily available if they were in the cinema. Anyone of any age could buy these films in the video stores, exposing adult themes to a young audience. The campaigning and highlighting of the worst video nasties, had an unwanted, adverse effect on them, increasing their popularity and notoriety. This has led to many of the video nasties being remade, as their notoriety will mean that they are more likely to make money.