Written by: George Pacheco on February 16th, 2015
Theatrical Release Dates: UK, March 1st, 2014
Director: Jake West
Writer: Jake West
Cast: Stephen Thrower, Alan Jones, Kim Newman, Marc Morris
DVD Release Date: February 10th, 2015
Approximate Running Time: 840 minutes
Aspect Ratio: Various
Sound: Dolby Digital Stereo English
DVD Release: Severin Films
Region Encoding: Region 0 NTSC
Retail Price: $29.95
Director Jake West turned the documentary world on its ear in 2010 with his masterful film Video Nasties: Moral Panic, Censorship & Videotape, an informative and affecting picture which detailed the infamous era in British history where horror and exploitation video cassettes were being seized and banned across the country, with many otherwise innocent shop owners and film fans suffering penalties as severe as expensive fees and even jail time.
Subtitled The Definitive Guide, West’s first Nasties doc not only told the story of those individuals who lived through the political and personal turmoil of the English video scare, but also came packaged with trailers and informative commentary-from such respected critical voices as Alan Jones, Stephen Thrower and Kim Newman-for every single one of the seventy-two “Video Nasty” films which were banned under Margaret Thatcher’s England in the 1980s.
This long awaited second volume is presented in the same fashion, this time discussing the eighty-two addition films which were a part of the secondary list of films which were a part of the Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP) “Section 3” list of films which, although not prosecuted, were still subject to seizure and destruction by customs and the police. All of these films are presented with their original theatrical trailers, as well as commentary from the aforementioned critical voices and more, all of whom give the viewer an exhaustive amount of trivia and behind the scenes information about all of these cult, crazy contraband films.
Video Nasties Vol. 2 also includes a new, full length documentary from West titled Draconian Days, which continues the story where the first volume left off, focusing specifically upon the career of former British Board of Film Classification director James Ferman from 1975 to 1999, as well as the emergence of a cult film underground and black market culture within Britain’s burgeoning fanzine culture.
It’s more of a fascinating and troubling story of power, influence, ignorance and paranoia, as West ‘s interview subjects tell the tale of living under the constant fear of police intrusion into their personal lives and home video systems. Draconian Days possesses just as much power and passion as West’s first volume, if not more, as it proves that the BBFC’s power over these movies didn’t stop just at the dawn of the VHS and video era, but on clear on through into the nineties and beyond.
Severin’s package here for Video Nasties: The Definitive Guide Vol. 2 is immense, clocking in at over three hours of information, history and fun. Audio and video quality is top notch, as is to be expected from a Severin release, while extras include a look back at classic British fanzine covers, photo galleries and a number of surprise Easter eggs. All in all, this volume is a must buy, first day purchase for any self respecting fan of cult film who wants to know about the fight distributors, directors and fans had to take simply to enjoy a video.