025: Horror certification

In this Podcast Short, Jeff leads the team in a discussion of how films in the UK came to be regulated by the BBFC. We discuss the advisory nature of the certification and the gulf between certificates in the UK and US. We ask the question, “why is the BBFC so frightened of Horror Movies”?

This weeks show:

From the Manger to the Cross (1912)

This is the movie that started it all. Whilst audiences and Clergy enjoyed this reverential depiction of the story of Christ. UK Jewish community leaders describing it as “An artistic triumph“. The Daily Mail was outraged! This led to the formation of the BBFC and the first two classifications for movies in the UK, The ‘A’ (Adult) and the ‘U’ (Universal) certificate.

Wikipedia link: From the Manger to the Cross

Freaks (1932)

This very disturbing movie, (even to a modern audience) was banned outright in the UK. It remained a banned movie in the UK until 1963. This is the movie that effectively destroyed director Tod Browning‘s career.

Wikipedia link: Freaks

The Island of Lost Souls (1932)

The British star Charles Laughton stared in this banned movie alongside Béla Lugosi. The BBFC described this movie as “against nature and God“! It was eventually released in the UK uncut in 2011 with a ‘PG’ certificate.

Wikipedia Link: The Island of Lost Souls

The Monster Walks (1932)

Another movie that was banned in the UK, until it was finally given a certificate in 2010 (78 years after it’s release). This was one of the first movies to be screened on American TV in the 1940’s!

Wikipedia Link: The Monster Walks

Black Moon (1934)

Staring Hollywood legend Fay Wray in her last horror movie, this movie was banned in the UK for many years. The reason for the ban is shocking and this type of prejudice would have no place in the modern BBFC!

Wikipedia Link:Black Moon