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Horror film so sick it was branded 'risk to society' is banned in the UK

Tom Wood

| Last updated 

Horror film so sick it was branded 'risk to society' is banned in the UK

A horror film was once branded as a ‘risk to society’ by censors and banned from showing in the UK. Unfortunately we can't even provide you with the trailer, though you can watch this video instead. Maybe we'll show you the trailer later.


As we approach Halloween, you’re probably looking for some spooky viewing to get you into the mood.

Instead of traipsing through the old classics like A Nightmare on Elm Street or Hellraiser, how about watching something that is truly disturbing instead?


You’ll need subtitles, but if you can find it, any horror fan will have their credentials put to the test by Grotesque.

Released back in 2009, this Japanese film was so disgusting and unsettling that the British Board of Film Classification refused to even issue it with an 18 certificate, which is the highest they can offer.

That means that no-one was able to see it, because refusal of the highest age certificate effectively banned the film from release on these shores.

You’ll have a job getting your hands on a copy, then.


So, what was it that the organisation found so deplorable about it?

A still from Grotesque. Credit: Ace Deuce Entertainment
A still from Grotesque. Credit: Ace Deuce Entertainment

Well, there’s a bit of an explanation on the BBFC’s website.

They explain: “The film was submitted for video classification in July 2009 and viewed by several Examiners and the two Senior Examiners.


“It was then referred upwards to the Head of Policy, the Director and the Presidential tier (consisting of the President and two Vice Presidents) for further viewing and consideration, as is the case with controversial works.

“After much debate and deliberation, and with various opinions expressed, the film was finally rejected in August 2009.

“This means that it cannot be legally supplied anywhere in the UK.”

They continue: Although Grotesque was for the most part considered to be a well-made film, there is minimal narrative or character development.


“For the majority of its runtime of 75 minutes, the focus is on the sexual assault, humiliation and extreme torture of the couple, who are kidnapped at the start of the film and subjected to a horrific ordeal until they are murdered at the end.”

The censoring board’s account goes on to say that the film contravened strict guidelines and policy because it ‘endorses and eroticises sexual violence’.

The board also points to scenes which include ‘acts of extreme torture, including amputation, castration and eye gouging’.

Credit: Ace Deuce Entertainment
Credit: Ace Deuce Entertainment

The website adds: “Towards the end of the film, the man is subjected to evisceration in order to attempt to save the woman and they are both murdered.

“The killer is then seen selecting his next victim as the film ends.

“There is a strong element of humiliation, brutality and sadism in the torture, which contravenes the Guidelines.”

Those guidelines – by the way – state: “If a central concept of the work is unacceptable (for example, a sex work with a rape theme); or if intervention in any of the ways noted above is not acceptable to the submitting company; or if the changes required would be extensive or complex; the work may be rejected, i.e., refused a classification at any category.”

Because the whole film contains these things, no cuts could be made that would make it classifiable.

So, it was rejected and remains banned to this day.

Which probably means you’ll have to find something else to watch this Halloween.

Maybe that’s for the best though.

Featured Image Credit: Ace Deuce Entertainment

Topics: TV and Film

Tom Wood
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