A dirty word around these parts, censorship. It has never been seen favourably by the tape collecting community as so many great films previously unseen on these shores were butchered by the British Board of Film Censorship at theatres across the nation and then laterly to even greater depths under the BBFC as the post cert era developed.
The availabilty of home viewing and its unregulated offerings gave film fans new hope of seeing such uncut delights that had only been mentioned in euro covering press or when a cunning executive sourced them from the depths of the worlds film vaults. Sadly that was not always the case, whilst many distributors would output their wares without interferance, Go sadly did not.
It's quite possible that some of the censoring dished up was for economic reasons, as the production costs of cassettes were very high due to the price of magnetic tape at the time. It made sense in some ways that say a 95 min film should be trimmed to fit on an E90 as opposed to a more expensive E120, ...... well, sense to the accountants anyway.
It's also quite plausible that some of the censored prints were purchased this way, the masters having already been doctored for other regions around the world or the aquisition of a title having already been released and amended by another distributor.
Many prints often came from previously submitted theatrical prints that had been censored by the BBFC already, Vampix is quite a famous example. And of course there is also the fact that the heat was becoming unbearable in the industry kitchen regarding adult content, violence and regulatiiom. Therefore a toned down variant of certain films was seen as a safer alternative so the imminent distrubtor got out his scissors.
There were two areas of censorship that we want to cover.The films themselves, classics like Cannibal Holocaust were rudely treated as large swaves of print were removed or the delicously named Violation of Justine which was completely butchered.
The second area was in the advertising room where some absolutely hilarious antics took place. The pressure mounting from the self appointed guardians of our nation meant that the publishers of the times magazines becan to take a harsher stand on what they were prepared to print and here's where we begin.
Censorship in the press
As already noted, Go had a ferocious appetite for advertising largely no doubt due to it's ownner having cut his commercial teeth in this industry. His knowledge and experiance was paramount to the companies future success. Lurid artwork was almost always mirrored from sleeve to advert and vice versa. However as the magazines recieved more and more complaints they were forced to temper their efforts. Often at short notice it would appear, check these out!
Demons (white sleeve)
A number of ads were seen across the domestic and trade press landscape for this. title. It was always going to be contentious ..... well the sleeve does depict a naked nun on a cross!
Both ads were taken from Continental Film & Video, not a magazine known for its prudity. The advert on the left taken from the May issue and just a month later in June some hasty censoring has taken place. A hand written note placed across the page to protect the blushes of the poor impailed nun. A seemingly desperate occurence of self censorship required to meet ever changing attitudes. For me this sums up the cowboy, pioneering aura that this era represented. This ad actually went to print like this which is a crazy thought in the modern world. Things wernt finished with the Demons sleeve just yet though....