It’s no secret that when it comes to horror movies most fans want to be scared beyond belief. If being scared is the point of this genre, can there be such a thing as too scary? There is a fine line between scary and just down right disturbing and there have been many cases where the movie was so out there a panel decided it must be banned. Some movies are banned before they are released into the wild and other movies may be pulled for different reasons after they hit the shelf. Whatever the case may be, let’s take a look at five movies that were either banned before, or after release.
Warning: Spoilers ahead!
1-The Last House on the Left (1972)
This film was Wes Cravens directorial debut and revolves around two teenage girls who are abducted, raped and murdered in the woods by a group of thugs. One of the thugs takes a necklace given to one of the teens and wears it to a nearby house where it turns out, the teen lived with her parents. After the parents over hear them talking about the killing they go out into the woods to find their teenage daughters’ lifeless body. In their grief they make the decision to exact revenge and return to the home with the thugs still in it. The remainder of the movie follows the parents picking the thugs off one by one in colorful ways, one even involving a chainsaw. The movie was met with mostly good reviews however the violent scenes were deemed too much for some countries to handle and was banned. The film was finally shown in the UK in 2009.
2- The Texas Chainsaw Massacre (1974)
Directed by Tobe Hooper and staring one of slasher films most iconic characters, Leather Face, The Texas Chainsaw Massacre was an instant classic. The film has so many jump scares and full on terrifying moments that had people screaming in theaters all around the world. One of the scariest parts of this movie was that it claimed to be “based on true events” showing people that these types of monsters really did exist. This claim however was not entirely true as the only truth in the movie was part of Leather Faces character was based on the crimes of murdered Ed Gein. This film started an entire franchise with 8 movies and countless references that is still going strong to this day. It took 25 years for the UK to release the film due to its violent and “video nasties”. France would also ban this movie for five years after its release.
3- Faces of Death (1978)
Next up is a documentary style film written and directed by John Alan Schwartz. Faces of Death was one of those movies that seemed unreal at the time, a true “snuff” film for anyone who took to heart the true stories aspect of the film. It was a movie that would sit behind other films on shelves across the country to keep it hidden from children and respected guests. The film is about a pathologist who has taken an interest in the transitional periods of life and death. We watch with him as he goes over film footage he has received from all around the globe from mummified corpses to a man being torn apart by an alligator. One scene that stuck out to most viewers was a monkey being killed and its brains devoured out of its head at a table. It was later determined that most of the deaths were faked however the film boasted at being “banned in over 40 countries”. The ban was true however for the UK, Australia and New Zealand. It was also edited before release in countries including Germany.
4- Cannibal Holocaust (1980)
This Italian film directed by Ruggero Deodato was written by Gianfranco Clerici and freaked critics out with its first viewing! The film is about an anthropologist named Harold Monroe who enters the Amazon Rainforest with a rescue crew looking for a lost film crew. They went missing while searching for and attempting to film a tribe of cannibals. Unfortunately, all the rescue team is able to recover is some found footage of the film crew that was located with their skeleton remains inside a tribal shrine. While reviewing the found footage it is discovered that the film crew treated the natives horrible and even staged a massacre where they burned them alive in their huts.
The film was full of not only horrible scenes against humans but also animals and has been the target of censorship and outrage since its release. Because of this the film has been marketed as “banned in over 50 countries” and is still a controversial movie even in today’s market.
5- Antichrist (2009)
With one of the most graphic and sexual starts to any movie, its no surprise that so many people were in an uproar with this movie. Antichrist stars William Defoe opposite Charlotte Gainsbourge and follows them as they deal with the death of their toddler (that we witness five minutes into the movie while watching an extremely graphic shower sex scene). The couple retreats to a small cabin in the woods to try and get passed the tragedy of losing their son, soon after however Defoe begins to have violent visions and his wife’s sexual appetite begins to get abusive. This film was actually written in 2006 while Lars Von Trier was in the hospital dealing with depression and anxiety. The film won many awards including Best Actress in the 2009 Cannes Film Festival however immediately after its release, controversy surrounding the film began. With many violent as well as sexual parts to this movie, there were two versions made available called the ‘Catholic” and “Protestant” the latter being the uncut version. Nine years after its release the film was banned in France. This may not be your typical “horror” movie; however, the dark psychological aspect of the movie is nothing if not frightening in many scenes.
That sums up the list of our five banned movies. As you can see they were not all banned for simply being scary however, for one reason or another, critics and spectators alike found scenes in each of these movies to be horrific. This is not an all-inclusive list however as there are many movies that have been banned all around the world.
Written exclusively for TheLastPicture.Show by Jacob Ruble
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