ARTICLES

LATEST | FEATURES | INTERVIEWS | NEWS | FRIGHTFEST | REVIEWS

Brand New - Interview About Censorship With Allan Bryce
By James Whittington, Wednesday 6th October 2010

Allan BryceDuring FrightFest 2010 Jake West premiered his new stunning documentary, Video Nasties: Moral Panic, Censorship And Videotape which forms part of a 3-disc set entitled Video Nasties: The Definitive Guide. Afterwards a team of experts took to the stage to discuss the subject. One of them was Allan Bryce, a man who has written books on such a subject and was editor of Dark Side Magazine for two decades. Here he discusses the subject of video nasties as well as his opinion on censorship.

HC: Have you always been a big fan of horror cinema?

AB: Yes, I guess because when I was growing up in the 60s my imagination was stimulated by shows like The Outer Limits and The Twilight Zone and particularly Tales of Mystery and Imagination and Jonathan Miller’s wonderful Omnibus adaptation of the M.R. James story, Whistle and I'll Come To You. I was too young to get in to see all the 'X' certificate movies and spent a lot of time fantasising about how scary they would be if I could! Mags like Famous Monsters fed my interest, and I was a voracious reader of sci-fi and horror, my favourite authors being Ray Bradbury, Richard Matheson, Robert Bloch and the underrated Fredric Brown (The Screaming Mimi). Fredric Brown's Nightmares and Geezenstacks was my favourite book for a while… must buy a new copy some time. I used to buy the Aurora monster models too, and my bedroom wall was plastered with posters from 50s horror flicks. My parents were very worried about my mental health, as I recall. They still are, come to think of it.

HC: What was the first title you saw that was actually classed as a video nasty?

AB: Probably the 'Strong Uncut' version of Zombie Flesh Eaters released by VIPCO. I’d seen this earlier at the cinema in a cut version alongside The Toolbox Murders and it didn’t make much of an impression on me. The uncut one was a revelation, however, that eye-popping shower scene and the zombie scoff sequences shown in all their offal-spilling glory. I must have screened the video dozens of times for my mates back in the day. It also made me realise just how much we in the UK had been missing out on thanks to the squeamish interfering nannies at the BBFC.

HC: Did you think it deserved the “nasty” label it had been given?

AB: Not really. Yes, it was fairly nasty, but the violence was not sexualised and it was rooted in pure fantasy. To me, Zombie Flesh-Eaters was like an EC horror comic brought to life, and the gore scenes were absolutely necessary to its appeal. If I were to apply the nasty label to any films on the list it would have to be films like Last House on the Left, I Spit On Your Grave and some of the Nazi-themed flicks like Beast In Heat, which did indeed leave a nasty taste in the mouth.

HC: There was a “witch hunt”, where video stores were raided for banned titles and lots of innocent tapes were confiscated; can you recall which titles got caught up in it?

AB: This has been fairly well documented over the years, but the one that amused me the most was Samuel Fuller’s WW2 drama The Big Red One, which was seized by some overzealous boys in blue. I’ve always tried to figure out what they thought the movie was about. The Big Red… What? Any film with Zombie or Cannibal in the title was fair game also. A friend of mine, Mel Donovan, had a company called Colourbox, and he distributed Hollywood Chainsaw Hookers. He wasn’t allowed to write the word ‘Chainsaw’ on the video sleeve, so he had to draw a picture of one in between the words ‘Hollywood’ and ‘Hookers.’ One that has always confused me on the list was The Funhouse, because Tobe Hooper’s film was a relatively respectable Universal picture that got a mainstream cinema release. I’ve been told that this was because of some confusion with The Last House on Dead End Street, a grim little no-budgeter that was also known as The Funhouse… but I never saw a copy of this in the UK until it was put out on DVD Stateside some years later.

HC: Some of the cover art was extremely poor or deliberately shocking; do you have a favourite and if so why?

AB: I Spit On Your Grave was by far my favourite cover. The first time I saw it on a poster beside a stall in Epsom market renting DVDs, I sort of stopped dead in my tracks, gawping! I think it sums up the sex and sleaze elements of Video Nasties to perfection. I also have a fondness for The Amazing Mr. No Legs, though this never made the Nasties list.

HC: Do you think films and computer games can influence people in real life?

AB: We are all subject to many different influences in our day-to-day life, including things our friends say to us, stuff we see on the news and read about in newspapers, books and magazines. So in this respect it may be possible to make a case that films and computer games have a big influence on our lives. Most of us are quite sensible enough to deal with those influences and carry on as honest and decent members of society. I personally believe that trying to blame your bad deeds on watching video nasties or violent video games won’t wash. There are some bad people out there. I believe Hitler liked watching Hollywood musicals.

HC: What are you thoughts on censorship as a whole?

AB: At one point I thought it was a bad thing, now I just think it is pointless. In the Internet age there’s nothing that’s taboo any more. Censorship in the UK is a revenue-raising process just like traffic cameras. We must all be our own censors. Obviously as a parent there are things I don’t want my children to see and be disturbed by, but only up until they are old enough to make their own decisions.

HC: Do you think any of the titles that were on the DDP and remain unreleased should be on shelves and uncut today?

AB: Very few remain unreleased, and I can’t honestly say that I’m desperate to see the few that haven’t been. The big joke of the whole Nasties phenomenon is that it granted undue gravitas to a lot of movies that would otherwise have been long forgotten.

HC: You were the editor of Dark Side Magazine for over twenty years, how sad was it for you when it ceased publication?

AB: Fairly sad, although the situation was that my partner in the business was in poor health and had other problems to deal with. Ken and I had been partners for 20 years and we always got on well, which is quite a feat in itself. I like to think we were quite influential back in the day, and I know the magazine is still looked upon with great fondness. I’m currently negotiating to bring Dark Side back with a different publisher so we’ll see what happens on that. I’ve never made any money out of the title but enjoy doing it as a tribute to the monster mags of my youth, plus it gives work to a lot of aspiring genre writers out there… yourself included, James!

HC: So what projects are you working on at the moment?

AB: I’m editing and producing a great many ‘top shelf’ magazines under a bewildering number of pseudonyms, working on my first novel and screenplay, and writing EPGs (Electronic Programme Guides) for Sky, so probably busier than ever. Onward and upward…

HC: Allan Bryce, thank you very much.

You can see Jake's documentary in the stunning 3-disc set Video Nasties: The Definitive Guide which is out on DVD October 18th with a RRP of £24.99.


MORE ARTICLES
"It's the most zombified time of the year!" Anna and the Apocalypse is coming to Blu-ray
Posted in News, Thursday 10th October 2019
Anna and the Apocalypse Bluray cover

What better way to celebrate the festive season than with a zombie apocalypse Christmas musical?

Anna and the Apocalypse is set for its UK Blu-ray debut on 2 December in a feature packed double-disc edition, courtesy of Second Sight.

It's Christmas time and the sleepy Scottish town of Little Haven is under threat from a zombie apocalypse, forcing Anna (Ella Hunt) and her friends to fight, slash and sing their way to survival, facing the undead in a desperate race to reach their loved ones. But even zombies can't stop the teen drama: will Anna's best friend John (Malcolm Cumming) reveal his true feelings for her, or will her smu...

SHARE: READ MORE
Terry Pratchett's Discworld comes to vinyl for the first time this November
Posted in News, Thursday 10th October 2019

Terry Pratchett's Vinyl Discworld is a 15LP vinyl audiobook box set featuring seven classic stories, which will be released on Friday 29th November.

Following the very successful Good Omens, Doctor Who and The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy releases on vinyl, Demon Music Group presents Discworld featuring the following stories:
Mort
Wyrd Sisters
Guards! Guards!
Eric
Small Gods
Night Watch
Bonus non-Discworld story Only You Can Save Mankind

41 Discworld novels were written, set on a fictional flat planet, balanced on the backs of four elephants, which in turn stand on the back of a giant turtle. It is estimated that more than 80 milli...

SHARE: READ MORE
Interview with Lars Klevberg, director of Child's Play (2019)
Posted in Interviews, Thursday 10th October 2019
CHILDS_PLAY_Universal_2D_BD_Pakcshot_UKIt was the remake everyone was against! The interweb was ablaze with negativity but director Lars Klevberg and his team managed to pull off one of the best horror movies of 2019. Here he chats about the smart shocker, Child's Play.

HC: How nervous were you taking on a re-imagining of such a beloved concept and franchise?

LK: I was in fact very nervous the minute I signed on to do the movie. Before that, I worked relentlessly for weeks to get the job, but immediately after getting it my body had a very stressful reaction. I was fully aware of the legacy I was about to re-open so, I didn't sleep one minute that night.

HC: W...

SHARE: READ MORE
13 nights of scares as Horror Channel presents a Haunted Halloween Season
Posted in Features, Tuesday 8th October 2019

For thirteen nights, from Saturday 19th October to Thursday 31st October at 9pm, Horror Channel presents a Haunted Halloween Season, a supernaturally spooky selection of the scariest movies, including the UK premiere of the ghostly chiller The Unspoken and the channel premiere of the terrifying thriller Pay The Ghost, starring Nicholas Cage.

Other highlights include Damiano Damiani's diabolical prequel to The Amityville Horror - Amityville II: The Possession. James Watkins' spine-chilling remake The Woman In Black, starring Daniel Radcliffe, Ti West's The Shining slacker-style indie sensation, The Innkeepers. the 2008 US remake of The Eye, starring Jessica Alba and box-offi...

SHARE: READ MORE
Interview with Chris Bavota, co-director of Dead Dicks
Posted in Interviews, Sunday 6th October 2019
ChrisBavota_DeadDicks

Horror is the perfect genre for getting across very serious issues. Dead Dicks, which is showing at Grimmfest today does exactly that by looking at the sensitive subject of mental health. Here co-director Chris Bavota talks about this intriguing movie.

HC: How did you and co-writer and co-director Lee Paula Springer first meet?

CB: In case people don't know, Lee and I have been married for almost 10 years and we have 2 young daughters. Making movies somehow came as a natural evolution of that but wasn't really a part of our lives until about three or four years ago. We originally met back around 2004 through a mutual friend and honestly, we didn't really ge...

SHARE: READ MORE
Interview with Robi Michael, writer and director of Every Time I Die
Posted in Interviews, Saturday 5th October 2019
Robi Michael

Grimmfest 2019 is well underway and one of the stand out movies so far has been Every Time I Die from director Robi Michael. Here he chats about this gripping movie.

HC: Was there one person or movie that you saw that made you want to be a director?

RM: Hard to think of one person or movie, because as long as I remember, it was clear to me that all I want to do is make movies - I was in love with films and decided to pursue it from a very early age. I was too young to realized what it takes to make movies or what is the job of a director. I can say that an early big influence in story telling is the legendary graphic novel writer, Alan Moore. Books like "Watchmen" and "V for...

SHARE: READ MORE
Arrow Video FrightFest announces line-up for Halloween 2019 event
Posted in Frightfest, News, Thursday 3rd October 2019
FF19-Halloween logoArrow Video FrightFest continues on its highly acclaimed and hugely successful Twenty Bloody Year rampage with a fear-packed journey through Halloween traditions, religious deviance, unstoppable maniacs, warped fairy tales, terrifying board games and the very rules of horror themselves.

The popular Halloween all-day event returns to the Cineworld Leicester Square on Saturday 3 November and the 12-hour monstrous marathon embraces four UK premieres, one European and one International premiere.

The day kicks off with the European Premiere of Josh Hasty's Candy Corn. With an impressive all-star genre cast (including Tony Todd, who exec-produces), an innovative iconic killer...

SHARE: READ MORE
"We are all aliens until we get to know one another". Space 1999 lands on Horror
Posted in Features, Thursday 3rd October 2019

Imagine it is the 1970s, the space race has been won and news of trips to the moon are fading from public interest. But you want to see more than just people playing golf and taking rock samples there. You want to see the human race make a base there, to use it as a launch pad to help reach further into space and maybe one day we could populate it.

Step forward Gerry and Sylvia Anderson who in 1975 gave the world one of the finest and most adventurous Sci-Fi TV series ever made, Space 1999.

The premise is straight forward and smart: It is the (then) future and a base has been built and manned on the moon. Tragedy strikes on September 13th 1999 when an nuclear explosion causes th...

SHARE: READ MORE
Interview with Tom Botchii, director of Artik
Posted in Interviews, Wednesday 2nd October 2019
Tom Botchii

Grimmfest 2019 begins tomorrow and Horror will be there bringing you news of all that happens as well as three Facebook Live events on the 4th, 5th and 6th of October.

One of the movies showing is Artik from director Tom Botchii so we chatted to him about this superb, brutal shocker.

HC: Where did the idea for Artik come from?

TB: The idea of Artik came from two things -
1) Getting my car broken into and seeing the initials A-T-K tagged on the wall behind it. When discussing with police they said that stands for a local gang member named ARTIK and when he spray paints ATK it means that you're marked and he or one of the other gang members is coming back to brea...

SHARE: READ MORE
Interview with Rob Grant, director of Harpoon
Posted in Interviews, Monday 30th September 2019
Rob Grant director

Grimmfest 2019 is only days away and Horror Channel will be there delivering all the info you'd want from this fear-filled festival as well as bringing to you three Facebook Live events on 4th, 5th and 6th October.

Here we chat to Grimmfest regular Rob Grant about his superior psychological shocker Harpoon which is showing at the festival this year.

HC: It's been a couple of years since we last chatted when Fake Blood played at Grimmfest, what have you been up to since then?

RG: Been very busy... was a director for hire on Alive. that I unfortunately had to miss at last year's Grimmfest due to an illness in the family, made Harpoon and been travelling around ...

SHARE: READ MORE
Want to know all about Ghosbusters? Cleanin' Up the Town is for you!
Posted in News, Monday 30th September 2019
Cleanin Up the Town

Celebrating 35 years since Ivan Reitman's cult favourite Ghostbusters manifested on the big screen, Cleanin' Up the Town: Remembering Ghostbusters is heading for cinemas in the new year. Directed and produced by the brother and sister team of Anthony and Claire Bueno, the film pays a fitting tribute to the whole creative team behind the global phenomenon that continues to enchant audiences to this day.

Cleanin' Up the Town: Remembering Ghostbusters, is the definitive retrospective documentary, resulting from twelve years of research and production. It charts the making of the original 1984 Ghostbusters, featuring interviews with director Ivan Reitman, and lead cast Dan Aykroyd, S...

SHARE: READ MORE
Kim Newman's Anno Dracula 1999: Daikaiju rises in October
Posted in News, Sunday 29th September 2019
Anno Dracula coverr

Anno Dracula helped shape the landscape of modern horror; described as "compulsory reading" by Neil Gaiman, "a Gothic epic that knocks almost every other vampire novel out for the count," by Christopher Fowler and "the definitive account of that post-modern species, the self-obsessed dead" by the New York Times, the series continues to be a bestselling cult classic followed by a legion of fans.

In Anno Dracula 1999: Daikaiju Newman brings his trademark blend of Gothic stylings and pop culture references even closer as fan favourite characters and terrifying monsters crash in to the new millennia...

Vampire princess Christina Light is throwing a New Year's Ev...

SHARE: READ MORE
Articles Archive: 2019 | 2018 | 2017 | 2016 | 2015 | 2014 | 2013 | 2012 | 2011 | 2010 | 2009 | 2008 | 2007 | 2006
PICK OF THE WEEK
Curse Of Chucky
CURSE OF CHUCKY
Saturday 19th October
10.55 PM
The Messengers
THE MESSENGERS
Wednesday 23rd October
9.00 PM
Stir Of Echoes
STIR OF ECHOES
Tuesday 22nd October
9.00 PM