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Blu-ray Review

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Starring: Niamh Algar, Nicholas Burns, Vincent Franklin and Sophia La Porta
Distributor: Second Sight Films


Certificate: 15
Release Date: 31 October 2022

Enid (Niamh Algar) is a film censor in 1980s Britain at the height of the ‘Video Nasty’ era. She spends her days carefully watching and assessing gruesome horror films. She not only takes her job very seriously, but is intense to the point of aloofness, becoming increasingly distant and alienating her work associates. Clearly, something is going on. Is she being deeply troubled by the films, or does she suffer psychological problems of her own, exacerbated by the violent and visceral nature of the films? When she views the film Don’t Go in the Church, a particular scene triggers a suppressed childhood memory which spirals her off the edge of a psychological precipice so that her distinction between reality and fantasy is blurred, with devastating consequences...

This is an interesting one. I find it difficult to believe there was any real discussion about which period in Britain’s censorship history the film should be set in, as the so-called Video Nasty era of the 1980s was not only the most notorious but also the most over-sensationalised. Rather than dress the people and backgrounds in the upper middle-class to rich bracket of big hair, padded shoulders and lavish businesses, it was instead given the look of the common working class, humdrum and dull and downtrodden. The video shops are portrayed as both treasure troves of sometimes illicit material and seedy behind-the-counter transactions. This setting allows not only screened segments of fictitious gory horror films, but more importantly a character study of Enid. So, essentially we get a cold case mystery draped in a psychological thriller. Enid suffers from post-traumatic stress disorder sparked when her sister went missing when they were children. The memories have been suppressed, but partly triggered by a familiar scene in a horror movie she is reviewing for cuts. Niamh Algar is spot on as Enid, who goes through life at least somewhat removed from the outside world. The concluding scenes are particularly surreal, with created lighting effects and video static revealing what may very well be snippets of the real world. Censor is something completely different, as they say, and will leave viewers discussing what they think they have seen for some time. Watch out for director and co-writer Prano Bailey-Bond in the future.

Following the Limited Edition Blu-ray 2-Disc box set from Second Sight Films comes the standard issue – which to me seems little different. There are still two discs, the second of which incorporates a veritable plethora of extra features: There is no soft cover book and art cards, but virtually everything else appears to have remained intact: the three Audio Commentaries with cast and crew (one including author and film critic/historian Kim Newman, an Executive Producer on the film; Six in-depth Interviews with cast and crew (including Music Composer Emilie Levienaise-Farrouch); the Making of Censor; Deleted Scenes; a Screening Q & A; Nasty short film; Enid’s Gaze: Alexandra Heller-Nicholas on Censor; My Nasty Memories by David Gregory; Prano Bailey-Bond in Conversation with BBFC Compliance Officer David Hyman; and Ban the Sadist Videos! Feature Length Documentary on British censorship in two parts. This documentary is worth the entrance money alone, so-to-speak.


Ty Power

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