Posts Tagged ‘Severin’

axe

Directed By: Frederick Friedel 

Starring: Leslie Lee, Jack Canon, Ray Green, Frederick Friedel, Douglas Powers, Hart Smith, Scott Smith

Synopsis: Three killers are on the run, and stumble upon an isolated farmhouse that is the home of Lisa and her paralyzed grandfather.

Thoughts:
Axe is a pretty typical exploitation story, and something we’ve seen done multiple times, and often done better. Three criminals are on the run and looking for a place to hide. They find an isolated farm with a vulnerable target, in this case, a young girl named Lisa, who is caring for her paralyzed Grandfather. The criminals terrorize and humiliate Lisa, driving her over the edge until she snaps and exacts her revenge.

The film was originally released as Lisa, Lisa in 1974. As you can imagine, the title didn’t do a lot to attract viewers, so it was retitled as Axe, as well as California Axe Massacre, in an obvious attempt to ride the coattails of The Texas Chainsaw Massacre. The title change eventually attracted the attention of the British Board of Film Classification, which placed Axe on the list of Video Nasties. Why Axe landed on the list is a bit of a mystery. Perhaps it was due to the cover, or that it was a young girl enacting revenge, but in reality, the majority of the action occurs off screen. This movie could have been much gorier, and even much darker had the director decided to.

Frederick Friedel filmed another movie at the same time as Axe, The Kidnapped Coed. Years later, Friedel would cut the movies together as The Bloody Brothers, creating a “twisted crime epic” as described by Severin Films. Severin, put out a rather amazingly extensive edition of Axe and The Kidnapped Coed, as well as Bloody Brothers. I’ve yet to watch either The Kidnapped Coed or Bloody Brothers, but for fans of 70s exploitation, it’s a pretty great set.

Overall, I found Axe to be on the boring side. There were some creepy elements to it at times, but it didn’t have much in the way of shock value, especially when comparing it to something along the lines of Last House of the Left or I Spit on Your Grave, which are the benchmarks in the revenge exploitation genre.

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How Nasty Is It?
Not very nasty at all. While it hints at some darker themes, most of the action takes place off the screen. In my opinion, this title landed on the list mostly due to its cover and theme.

Seize the Video Nasties!

Posted: January 16, 2017 in List, Opinions
Tags: ,

What are Video Nasties?

If you’ve spent much time in and around the horror genre, you’ve heard the term Video Nasty. It seems that many genre films from the 70s and 80s have somehow become associated with the term, but there are very specific lists of movies that were Video Nasties.

In the early 80s, the British Board of Film Classification (BBFC) and Mary Whitehouse led a campaign to prosecute certain titles for obscenity. The result was the Video Recordings Act of 1984, which required all video releases to appear before the BBFC for certification (as well as demands for edits). For many years, the UK would become one of the most heavily censored countries in all of Europe.

To learn more about the proceedings and public reaction, check out the Severin releases of Video Nasties: The Definitive Guide (there are two parts). In addition to some great documentaries, there are trailers for every Video Nasty film, even the Section 3 list, which are not really considered the “real” Video Nasties.

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Available from Severin Films.

In total, there are 72 movies included in the Section 2 list, 39 of which were actually prosecuted. It is those 72 movies that I am going to look at over the coming months (some of which I’ve already reviewed). There are some very well-known titles in this list, such as Evil Dead, Zombie and The Beyond, but there are also a lot of fairly obscure titles. This also applies to the quality of the movies. Some of these are pretty poorly made, which in some ways, creates a sort of grindhouse charm.

Although this was a dark time for horror enthusiasts in the U.K., the BBFC brought attention to many films that may never have been popular.  In fact, the Video Nasty list is often used as a check list of sorts, movies that are “extreme” enough to have been banned

Without further ado, here is a list of the films, with links to reviews that will be updated as the year goes.

Section 2 Prosecuted Films:

  1. Absurd
  2. Anthropophagus: The Beast
  3. Axe
  4. A Bay of Blood
  5. The Beast in Heat
  6. Blood Feast
  7. Blood Rites
  8. Bloody Moon
  9. The Burning
  10. Cannibal Apocalypse
  11. Cannibal Ferox
  12. Cannibal Holocaust
  13. The Cannibal Man
  14. Devil Hunter
  15. Don’t Go in the Woods
  16. The Driller Killer
  17. Evilspeak
  18. Exposé
  19. Faces of Death
  20. Fight for Your Life
  21. Flesh for Frankenstein
  22. Forest of Fear
  23. Gestapo’s Last Orgy
  24. The House by the Cemetery
  25. The House on the Edge of the Park
  26. I Spit on Your Grave
  27. Island of Death
  28. The Last House on the Left
  29. Love Camp 7
  30. Madhouse
  31. Mardi Gras Massacre
  32. Nightmares in a Damaged Brain
  33. Night of the Bloody Apes
  34. Night of the Demon
  35. Snuff
  36. SS Experiment Camp
  37. Tenebrae
  38. The Werewolf and the Yeti
  39. Zombie Flesh Eaters

Section 2 Non-Prosecuted Films:

  1. The Beyond
  2. The Bogey Man
  3. Cannibal Terror
  4. Contamination
  5. Dead & Buried
  6. Death Trap
  7. Deep River Savages
  8. Delirium
  9. Don’t Go in the House
  10. Don’t Go Near the Park
  11. Don’t Look in the Basement
  12. The Evil Dead
  13. Frozen Scream
  14. The Funhouse
  15. Human Experiments
  16. I Miss You, Hugs and Kisses
  17. Inferno
  18. Killer Nun
  19. Late Night Trains
  20. The Living Dead at Manchester Morgue
  21. Nightmare Maker
  22. Possession
  23. Pranks
  24. Prisoner of the Cannibal God
  25. Revenge of the Bogey Man
  26. The Slayer
  27. Terror Eyes
  28. The Toolbox Murders
  29. Unhinged
  30. Visiting Hours
  31. The Witch Who Came From the Sea
  32. Women Behind Bars
  33. Zombie Creeping Flesh

Video Nasties

 

I’ve been aware of this little gem for a couple of years now, but seeing as how it was only available in the UK, I never got around to importing it. So, when it was announced that Severin would be releasing this in the US this summer, it immediately hit my must buy list.

A couple of weeks back while perusing the various vendors at Texas Frightmare Weekend (which is one of the best cons around), I came across Severin’s table and their usual goodies. I was surprised to see a couple of copies of Video Nasties among the usual offerings, seeing as how it doesn’t street until June 3rd! I quickly grabbed a copy, along with The House on Straw Hill, which happens to be a Nasty, as well as a great release.

To start off the party, Disc 1 has the outstanding documentary Video Nasties: Moral Panic, Censorship, and Videotape, which is directed by Jake West (Doghouse, Evil Aliens). It features interviews with genre filmmakers as well as some great footage taken from the 80s. This is a great look at the insanity of the BBFC and the Video Nasty list. I would have bought this documentary on its own, but wait, there’s more…

Discs 2 & 3 contain trailers for all 72 films targeted by the BBFC (the 39 that were successfully prosecuted, plus the other 33 that were on the list at one point in time). This isn’t your typical stash of trailers though, each and every one is introduced by different film historians and journalists and can be played as a feature, making for an exhaustive runtime of 13 hours and 58 minutes across all 3 discs.

Not only is this a must buy for fans of the movies on the list, but I really think this is a must buy for ALL genre fans. Censorship is a vile practice, and it’s important to understand our past, so we don’t make the same mistakes in the future. This set is not only entertaining, but very informative. Don’t delay, add it to your collection now.

Here’s the link to Severin’s store: https://www.severin-films.com/store/product_info.php?products_id=173