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Non-Review Review: Censor

Censor is a love letter to the era of so-called “video nasties” and an exploration of the moral panic that tends to encompass discussions of the genre.

Niamh Algar plays Enid, the eponymous moral guardian with a traumatic back story who has committed herself to protecting the nation’s sanity by watching and rating the low-rent horrors flooding the market. Over dinner conversation, Enid takes offense when her mother asks if she has seen any good movies recently. “It’s not entertainment, Mam,” Enid snaps. “I’m protecting people.” It’s very clear that Enid believes this, taking meticulous notes and engaging in rigorous debates about exactly how much eye-gouging the public can tolerate.

The Green Night.

On the surface, Censor is a movie with a plot that loosely suggests something akin to Hardcore or 8mm. Throughout the film, hints are dropped about Enid’s traumatic past, including the mysterious disappearance of her younger sister while the two girls were playing together. When the latest film from a provocative auteur named Frederick North crosses her desk, Enid seems to recognise one of the on-screen victims. Is her sister still alive? Has she been swallowed by this world of exploitation horror cinema? More to the point, can Enid finally rescue her and bring her home?

The beauty of Censor lies in how co-writer and director Prano Bailey-Bond plays with this familiar set-up, building a movie around the idea that horror movies are a form of escapism for moral guardians as much as the intended audience, a space into which these people can project their own nightmares and anxieties without ever having to confront the reality of the world around them.

Signalling concern.

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New Podcast! The Escapist Movie Podcast – “Censor is a Celebration of and Exploration into Classic “Video Nasty” Horror”

The Escapist have launched a movie podcast, and I was thrilled to join Jack Packard for the twentieth episode of the year. We discussed two interesting new horror releases: the restoration of George A. Romero’s long lost The Amusement Park and director Prano Bailey-Bond’s celebration of the “video nasty” era with Censor. We really enjoyed both of them.

You can listen to back episodes of the podcast here, click the link below or even listen directly.

District 9 – The Sci-Fi/Comedy

Okay, I still have nothing but kind words for the Irish Film Classification Office, but I noticed their information piece on District 9 this morning and found it hilarious. Either we’re getting a very different cut than the rest of the world or someone at the office was not really paying attention when they were watching the film:

Spoof sci-fi comedy.

Spoof sci-fi comedy.

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