The BBFC has rejected the DVD Grotesque. This means that it cannot be legally supplied anywhere in the UK. The decision was taken by the Director, David Cooke and the Presidential Team of Sir Quentin Thomas, Alison Hastings and Gerard Lemos.
Grotesque is a feature that focuses for the majority of its running time on the sexual assault, humiliation and extreme torture of a male and female victim. The central character abducts, restrains, strips and masturbates both the man and the woman. After this he inflicts grave injuries on the restrained couple, including amputation, eye gouging, castration and evisceration. The torture becomes even more extreme, leading to the gory and violent death of both hostages. The film ends with the killer choosing his next victims.
David Cooke, Director of the BBFC said:
"Unlike other recent 'torture' themed horror works, such as the Saw and Hostel series, Grotesque features minimal narrative or character development and presents the audience with little more than an unrelenting and escalating scenario of humiliation, brutality and sadism. The chief pleasure on offer seems to be in the spectacle of sadism (including sexual sadism) for its own sake." "It is the Board's carefully considered view that to issue a certificate to Grotesque, even if statutorily confined to adults, would involve risk of harm within the terms of the Video Recordings Act, would be inconsistent with the Board's Guidelines, and would be unacceptable to the public. The BBFC has a strict policy on sexual violence. With portrayals of sexual violence which might eroticise or endorse sexual assault the Board may require cuts at any classification level. "Rejecting a work outright is a serious matter and the Board considered whether the issue could be dealt with through cuts. However, given the unacceptable content featured throughout cutting the work is not a viable option in this case and the work is therefore refused a classification." "Rejecting a work outright is a serious matter and the Board considered whether the issue could be dealt with through cuts. However, given the unacceptable content featured throughout cutting the work is not a viable option in this case and the work is therefore refused a classification."
Under the terms of the Video Recordings Act distributors have the right to appeal the Board's decision.
Note for Editors
The Video Recordings Act makes clear that harm is not to be interpreted narrowly as behavioural harm, but may also include more insidious risks, and the Board follows this approach in having regard to, for instance, moral harm and possible desensitisation. The correct legal definition of the harm test was clarified by Mr Justice Mitting in his ruling of 24 January 2008 at the High Court. In that ruling he stated that 'The task of the Board [...] is to have special regard to any harm that may in future be caused to potential viewers'. The Act also makes clear that harm is not the only issue to be weighed in the balance.
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