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NSFW – The 13 Most Entertaining Video Nasties

For those who don’t know, the Video Nasties are a group of films that were banned in the UK several decades ago as they feature content that was considered too extreme for the market. If you were a filmmaker looking to make a name for yourself with the most sexual or violent film during the ’70s and ’80s, this was a list you hoped to rule.

Some films made the VN list incidentally; they simply could not avoid the brand. But to be honest, some were destined to be labeled, and that’s part of the reason the films were made to begin with. No one can claim I Spit on Your Grave wasn’t shot with the design of rustling jimmies. Well, jimmies it did indeed rustle, and the “Video Nasty” moniker was quickly attached.

The same can be said for many others, and if you happen to be on the hunt for the perverse or controversial, the Video Nasties are must-see flicks. The majority are mediocre affairs, but some are surprisingly enjoyable films while a few more hold cultural relevance, deserving of a look if for no other reason than historical insight. There’s certainly history to be found in the group, and we’re out to ensure that you engage in at least a single viewing of these 13, which are amongst the very best of the bunch.

Video Nasty

Tenebrae: Remember when Dario Argento was consistently pumping out top notch giallo films? You’ve got to head back to the late 1970s and early ’80s to experience that stretch of Argento’s career, but it’s a trek worth making. The man had an amazing knack for creating palpable tension (what the hell happened??) and gruesome murder sequences and stood as the king of giallo as a result. Tenebrae, while almost identical to a number of Argento’s other films (Deep Red in particular), is one of his career highlights, and though it found a home on the dreaded Video Nasties list, it’s a tame film by today’s standards. Do yourself a proper justice and track it down… and while you’re at it, include Suspira, the aforementioned Deep Red and Inferno as well. You won’t regret it.

Tenebrae

The Last House on the Left: Wes Craven left moviegoers in stunned silence in 1972 when he rolled out the highly controversial The Last House on the Left. The film is a gruesome, sadistic picture that has a very guerrilla vibe to it. Some of the things the performers were asked to do for the shoot border on nauseating (including a scene in which one victim is forced to urinate in her pants), and the gritty cinematic style only enhances the vile moments. The look of the movie clearly sets it apart from the norm. Far apart. More than 40 years after release, The Last House on the Left will still spark disgust and sympathy in equal measure.

The Last House on the Left


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Matt Molgaard

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