Censor trailer brings audiences back to the age of video
The new horror movie Censor goes all out on Video Nastys. In the early 1980s there was a surge in uncensored low budget horror and exploitation films that were released on videotape. Since these movies weren’t theatrically released, it allowed them to bypass movie rating laws via a loophole. The phrase “Video Nasty” originated from the National Association of Viewers and Listeners around this time and has become the popular term for these very bloody and steamy videos. The main concern was that the movies were to blame for an increase in crime and violence at the time. Those films that were slapped with this tag included both iconic and cult films such as Evil death, Basket checkout and The thing.
The story behind Video Nasty is honestly an interesting subject to delve into on its own. But it also makes Video Nasty a genius backdrop for a psychological horror story, which is the directorial debut of Prano Bailey-Bond, Censor, is eager to deliver.
Censor tells the story of Enid (played by Niamh Algar), cinema censor, proud of his work. She seems used to exposing herself to the bloodiest and most disgusting images on a daily basis. But when a mysterious gang begins to unlock hidden memories of their past, they’re determined to find the answers to questions left untouched for years. Enid sets out to find and investigate the director of this tape, but the further she goes, fiction and reality begin to coalesce in the most gruesome way.
Prano said in an interview for Golden Derby that it was his love for Video Nasties as a child that laid the groundwork for Censor. “I’m a huge fan of movies from this period. I sort of grew obsessed with the evil Dead, which was one of the problematic films here in the UK at the time. She added: “The first idea I had was whether a censor was starting to believe these films affected them. If they really believed in censorship, what if a censor believed so much that he thought it was going to affect their own brain? “
In the trailer alone, it looks like a very promising ride through the mind of our main character. Bright red video flashes contrast beautifully against the darker, darker shots of reality (which appears to be). Prano also stated that Censor was shot in 35mm to stay as authentic as possible to movies shot in the 80s.
“Most of the time when we watch horror it’s a safe space to scare us because we know it’s not real.” Says Prano in an interview with IMDB. “And, in that sense, I think horror can be pretty cathartic.”
Censor premiered at the 2021 Sundance Film Festival earlier this year, releasing in theaters on June 11 and On Demand on June 18. Since his Sundance review he has already made some promising reviews, he currently holds an 88% score on Rotten Tomatoes. While this is Prano Baily-Bond’s first feature-length directing credit, he is also credited with writing the film starring Anthony Fletcher.