AnonymousJune 11, 2021 at 10:20 AM
Do you remember the Video Nasties scare of the 1980s? You don’t really need to, not in order to appreciate “Censor,” a British psychodrama about a film censor’s personal connection with the violent movies that she reviews and rates for a living. Realistically, all you need to know about the Video Recordings Act of 1984 and the attendant moral panic that it inspired is: there were a few successfully prosecuted films (30+), as well as some brow-beating editorials, legislation, and protests, and a bit of under-the-counter consumerism.
Today, the Video Nasties—a varied assemblage of disturbing movies that includes “Blood Feast” and “Faces of Death”—are a handy symbol of period-specific suppression. They’re also still a good Rorschach test for personal anxiety. The makers of “Censor” run with the latter interpretation, and do a fine enough job of contextualizing one woman’s struggle to understand why she’s attracted to sleazy horror movies.
The answer is simple enough to be reductive, but still basically true: mousy Enid (Niamh Algar) has unresolved family trauma, and she’s processing it through her work as a film censor at the British Board of Film Classification (BBFC). Enid’s particularly triggered by a controversial news story: a Brighouse resident supposedly saw and was inspired to both kill and eat the face of his wife after watching “Deranged,” a real 1974 horror about a serial killer necrophiliac. Somehow, the British press have discovered that Enid and a fellow censor gave a pass to “Deranged,” despite also requiring “extensive” cuts
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