Video Nasties: Draconian Days ★★★★★

Just as essential as its predecessor. A tirelessly informative and passionate piece about the darkest era in film censorship history.

The Definitive Guide: Part 2 is the companion piece to Jake West's superb Moral Panic, Censorship & Videotape which examines 'The Section 3 List' of the Obscene Publications Act where 82 films were deemed "obscene" and likely "to corrupt" British society. These titles became liable to be seized by police which was urged on by a virus-like campaign by the piggy-backers in the Daily Mail resulting in hundreds of VHS tapes being burned in bonfires that wouldn't be out of place during the era of Nazi Germany. The Draconian Days documentary is a far more superior and confident piece of filmmaking which boasts terrific research and interviews. The gripping hook of West's doc is how it exposes James Ferman ruling of the BBFC with an iron fist - making erroneous cuts to harmless trash and making obnoxious (and pessimistic) remarks about how "video nasties" affected the working class only. The film works best when it's reminding you of the mis-judged hysteria that was caused by the Video Recording Act and the hopelessness it promoted, from the universal hatred of Fulci's The New York Ripper and the unwarranted links between the Hungerford massacre to Rambo and the Jamie Bulger murder to Child's Play 3. It's becomes very apparent that the British government needed a scape-goat for what was wrong with its country, the Video Recording Act was its answer: draconian in every sense of the word - you're not insane, it's the VHS tape with the bad tracking. Preposterous.

With nearly 14 hours of footage and extras this will pretty much consume your weekend but it has to be seen to believed, especially for those who were born after its time. Utterly vital for any film enthusiast.

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