In the UK during the early 80′s, the flood of horror movies available on home video created a moral backlash. Politicians singled out 72 films, the “Video Nasties“, to be censored or banned outright. Today’s matchup features two of them:
Inferno is the second film in Dario Argento‘s Three Mothers trilogy. The first, Suspiria, is the most famous. Mother of Tears, the finale, was released almost thirty years after Inferno. The best I can say for the third movie is that it offers an excellent head squashing scene, and Asia Argento stars in it (I am a fan of Asia’s). Inferno is much more similar to Suspiria, stylistically speaking, than Mother of Tears. What links them all (aside from Dario Argento) is that each film deals with one of the “Three Mothers”, a trio of witches. With Inferno, the antagonist is the Mother of Shadows, who is touted in the movie as being the cruelest of the three (I didn’t notice anything in particular that supported this claim).
Compared to Suspiria, Inferno isn’t as memorably gory. I counted a few instances of knife violence and a couple of animal attacks (rats, cats). There was also one guillotine-style killing. None of which were particularly shocking. I’m not sure why Suspiria didn’t receive the Video Nasty label instead. This much-lauded double murder scene from Suspiria‘s opening is more brutal than anything in Inferno:
Out of the initial 72 Video Nasties, 39 of the films were deemed nasty enough to be declared officially obscene. The Burning was one that made the list. Unlike Inferno, which is art-horror, The Burning is a summer camp stalk ‘n’ slash flick. The killer cuts his way through the teen campers with a pair of gardening scissors. There are numerous bloody attacks throughout, starting with a hooker stabbing and reaching an impressive crescendo when an entire raft full of campers is massacred.
In addition to Inferno and The Burning, Netflix has five other Video Nasties available for instant viewing:
This one’s currently the #1 ranked Video Nasty on Flickchart and doesn’t really need an introduction. It is one of the most gruesome and over the top out the movies listed here, if you haven’t gotten around to watching it yet.
I think the violence in Dead and Buried is some of the most disturbing. People get knocked off in a variety of unpleasant ways. One poor guy is set on fire and later gets a syringe stabbed through his eyeball. Dan O’Bannon, the screenwriter for Alien, also wrote the script for this film.
This was directed by Tobe Hooper, who brought us The Texas Chain Saw Massacre. Personally, I think that movie is more intense than Eaten Alive, which is about a madman with a scythe and a pet alligator running around killing people. There’s also a cannibal film called Eaten Alive! that came out a few years after Hooper’s movie. I haven’t seen it in a while, but I’m pretty sure that it’s more offensive.
I barely remember anything about this from when I watched it a few years ago. William Shatner has a maddeningly insignificant part, if I recall, even though he’s mentioned as a star.
This is the only other movie on this list, along with The Burning, that was among the 39 nastiest flicks. Like The Evil Dead, The Last House on the Left is one of the better known Video Nasties. Roger Ebert even endorses it. The scenes of violence are actually pretty severe. Unfortunately, the rest of the movie is poorly put together, which diminishes the impact. I think the remake is a better film. If not as gritty.