At last, censors crack down on sexually violent films that corrupt teenage boys' mindsThe British Board of Film Classification has announced it will tighten guidelines which will see more films banned Campaign groups said that the decision was 'long overdue'The move follows outrage over the release of Human Centipede II last year which had initially been banned
07:36 GMT, 11 December 2012
Crackdown: An 18 certificate will no longer be sufficient to protect some viewers from sexually deprived and barbaric films with some set to be banned or have scenes cut
Sexually violent horror films will finally face a crackdown by censors over fears they distort the way teenage boys view women.
The ‘long overdue’ decision comes following research which found widespread public concern over the increasing number of sexually depraved and barbaric films being fed to British audiences.
The British Board of Film Classification has announced it will tighten guidelines over such films which will see more banned, or scenes cut from the content to protect vulnerable viewers.
Vivienne Pattison, director of campaign group Media Watch UK, said: ‘This decision has been long overdue.
‘Films have become increasingly more violent and the regulations have allowed that to happen.
‘This is what the public wants. People are saying enough is enough.’
The decision follows anger last year over the release of Human Centipede II, a film which includes graphic torture, rape and mutilation.
The BBFC initially banned the film but then agreed to reverse the decision if significant cuts were made.
Campaign groups welcomed yesterday’s move, branding such films as ‘torture porn’ which dehumanise victims of rape and violence.
David Cooke, director of the BBFC, said that there is no 'one size fits all rule' when it comes to classifying films, but Judy Reith, director of Parenting People says that anything that protects children and enables parents to manage what their children are viewing is a 'supportive move'
Barbaric: The British Board of Film Classification has announced its decision to tighten guidelines following uproar last year over the release of the Human Centipede II, pictured, which was initially banned
The report by the BBFC found: ‘[Audiences] are concerned about young men with little experience, and more vulnerable viewers, accessing sadistic and sexually violent content, which could serve to normalise rape and other forms of violence and offer a distorted view of women.’
It found that cinema-goers supported BBFC intervention – even with films rated 18 – to remove depictions of violence on the grounds that they may be harmful.
Brutal: The film Antichrist by director and screenwriter Lars von Trier, pictured, was criticised for featuring scenes of genital mutilation
Viewers were particularly worried about films which make scenes of sexual or sadistic violence look appealing, which could reinforce the suggestion that victims enjoy rape.
The research is all the more potent in the age of internet, where youngsters can access 18-rated content online without having to prove their age.
The BBFC concluded its policy did not ‘capture all the issues’ and as a result has strengthened its guidelines for films by including a list of ‘indicators’ it has to assess the film against before suggesting cuts or classification.
David Cooke, director of the BBFC, said: ‘There is no “one size fits all” rule for any theme under the BBFC classification guidelines, as long as what is depicted is within the law and does not pose a harm risk.
‘Once again the public have told us that context, tone and impact, and a work’s overall message, can aggravate a theme, or make it acceptable, even in cases of sexual and sadistic violence.
‘The decision as to whether and how to intervene in scenes of sexual and sadistic violence is complex, but drawing out and applying these aggravating and mitigating factors is helpful in arriving at a decision which balances freedom of expression against public protection.’
In recent years there has been a trend for increasingly dark, violent and sexually violent films including Lars Von Triers’ Antichrist, which had scenes of genital mutilation.
There has also been Michael Winterbottom’s The Killer Inside Me, which depicts brutal violence against women, and Wolf Creek, which showed rape, torture and crucifixion.
Mrs Pattinson added: ‘We know that it is easy for youngsters to access this kind of material, either via DVD or streaming it online. They are vulnerable to this content. I have issues with films like The Human Centipede. They are dehumanising the victims and treating them as lumps of meat.’
Graphic: Wolf Creek features scenes of rape, torture and crucifixion while The Killer Inside Me shows violence against women
Judy Reith, director of parenting organisation Parenting People, added: ‘Anything that protects children and enables parents to manage what their children are seeing is a supportive move.
‘Violent material can frighten people, it can make people curious and it can make them feel that something like that is acceptable for one person to do to another.
‘It’s important to keep that regulation in there to protect impressionable minds.’
The BBFC has banned only two films in the past three years – The Bunny Game and Grotesque, because both featured ‘sexual sadism’ for its own sake. It said that giving either film a rating would involve a ‘risk of harm’ to viewers.
The BBFC rejects films only rarely, preferring to give advice about how appropriate cuts would achieve the preferred certificate.
If a film is banned it means it cannot be released in the UK and showing or supplying it is illegal.