Give me that old time moral panic

I haven't got a DeLorean and I have no Libyan terrorist contacts to get the plutonium for the 1.21 gigawatts necessary to go back in time, but I still managed to go back to the 80s this weekend, just by reading the papers.

The Sunday Times takes us back to 1983 with 'Stop this debasing film', a headline that must have had subs reaching for their thesaurus to find an alternative phrase for 'Ban this sick filth'. The story covers the breaking news that 'SS experiment - Love Camp' was re-released uncut nearly three years ago. The film that apparently kicked off the original video nasty moral panic in 1982.

The article undermines itself right from the beginning, mentioning the internet in its opening. Even if the film disappeared from the shops, it would only take a couple of minutes to get hold of a copy online. That doesn't stop the paper using 1980s style misdirection with:
. . . the film SS Experiment Camp, which is on sale in the high street alongide [sic] U classified movies . . .
Yes, it's sold alongside U rated films, but since it's an 18, kids can't buy it.

The Express predictably sensationalises and exaggerates things further, going with the front page splash 'Outrage at sick nazi DVDs for sale'. Of course, this paper doesn't shy away from the f word of a quarter of a century ago, saying:
As the Government reviews the laws surrounding game violence, the Sunday Express today demands action to sweep this filth off our shelves.
Bloody hell, is it just me or is that Visage playing in the background?

The Express uses 'I spit on your grave', 'Cannibal holocaust' and 'Faces of death' to justify the plural in the headline, although none of these films are about nazis. If hacks at the paper had any clue, they'd have looked for 'SS Hell Camp', 'Ilsa she wolf of the SS' and 'Ilsa the wicked warden'.

Both stories miss the main thing that most people will notice first when watching most of these films. They're so embarrasingly bad you're more likely to laugh than be sickened. You can see more realistically depicted violence on the average episode of CSI. Here's the opening line of a 5 star review of SS Experiment - Love Camp on Amazon:
This film is so bad I have given it five stars as you really have to see it to believe that film-making can be so atrocious.
They were all made on stupidly low budgets over 30 years ago. Despite the Express calling them "extreme reality" films, they're about as realistic as an episode of Thunderbirds directed by kids with a twenty quid budget. This is what the BBFC apparently had to say about giving the film an 18 certificate in 2005:
"The content of the film is in fact very mild and poorly executed. If anything, it was the title of the film and its original packaging that led to difficulties, rather than the content. The idea of the film may, of course, be offensive to some but that is not a good enough reason to cut or reject it. We would only cut or reject a film for adults if the content was illegal or harmful. "SS Experiment Camp" is neither illegal or harmful, just tasteless."
And they can't be causing that much of a problem. It took nearly three years for anyone to notice 'SS experiment - love camp' had been re-released. The others were released between four and six years ago. Still, it's never too late to panic.

Me? I'm off to watch Knightmare and drink Quatro.


Chris said...

Knightmare! Used to scare the crap out of me that did. "Quick move MOVE before it *squish*"
If you haven't already seen it, have a watch of Bad Dreem, a Knightmare spoof.
Part 1 Part 2
Side splittingly hilarious (IMO)

septicisle said...

Talk about slow on the uptake. These films are almost certainly harmless because of the incredibly low production values that makes them far more laughable than frightening or depraved. Offensive yes, dangerous no. The point about Cannibal Holocaust et al is also irrelevant, as all three of those films mentioned are still heavily cut.

Five Chinese Crackers said...

Ha! The Knightmare spoof was about as scary as Cannibal Holocaust. And the incidental music was about as good.

Top notch stuff.