For those of a certain age, the phrase ‘video nasties’ would ring a few bells. Back in the 1980′s a slew of videos were released with titles such as Cannibal Holocaust, Driller Killer, Nightmares in a Damaged Brain and The Toolbox Murders (here’s a good list of some more)
Back in those days, the lack of any real regulatory system for the newfangled video tapes which were available to children caused uproar and finally led to stricter censorship for video than cinema releases.
Now with internet based movies, the lack of a film classification system is causing a similar problem. Although we have yet to see any ‘internet video nasties’ as original internet content is still in it’s early stages.
Mark Dawson the chief digital officer for the British Board of Film Classification was interviewed by the Daily Telegraph, is hoping that he can persuade film companies and the big digital retailers and services to pay for their creations to be classified for online consumption. He admits he has no legal back up for this.
Currently classification covers DVDs and movies that are provided on a USB stick, but does not apply to digital content and downloads from online providers such as Netflix, or Amazon.
The good news is that the original content providers such as Netflix are playing ball and have submitted their big online only TV show, House of Cards for classification.The Washington based political drama consists of 13 internet episodes which were rated by the BBFC as a 15 rating, with one getting an 18 rating.
However the next release from Netflix could be a gore-fest. Hemlock Grove will be released on April 19, and some episodes are directed by Eli Roth of Hostel fame. If this new show is full of unpleasant material that becomes available to minors, then Netflix can release it anyway.
Dawson is hoping the online industry will play ball and does not want new powers to regulate them saying, “If self regulation doesn’t work then there is the possibility of new legislation. It would take changing two words in the law.”