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Monday, June 7, 2010

Here's something you don't read everyday...

A landmark event in British censorship took place over the past couple of weeks, one in which I was lucky to be - a small - part of. Dario Argento’s Inferno is due for release later this year from Arrow Video, but the BBFC decided that a 5 second scene of a mouse being eaten by a cat (!) was obscene and would damage the British public, and thus demanded its removal.

Upon hearing this news uproar ensued from genre fans, ranging from confusion over the BBFC’s logic to refusal to purchase the British edition due to the omission. Boutique companies like Arrow Video need all the support they can get from us fans of Cult film; and a group of members, including myself, over at Cult Labs decided to question the BBFC on their logic over this cut. Some said it was a fruitless endeavour that would not result in anything other than a waste of our time; others continued to bitch and moan about waiting on the uncut version to be released. After receiving this email from the BBFC, things weren’t looking good:
Dear Phillip Escott

Thank you for your email and interesting comments.
I should point out that no decision has been made about INFERNO. We have not classified this work, and it would not be appropriate to comment on a title under consideration.

As you know, the BBFC has a statutory obligation under the Cinematograph Films (Animals) Act 1937 to ensure that no scene "was organised or directed in such a way as to involve the cruel infliction of pain or terror on any animal or the cruel goading of any animal to fury" in regards to works intended for cinema release in the UK. The same consideration is also given to works released on video and DVD. This approach was endorsed by the Home Office at the time of the designation of the Video Recording Act 1984 and subsequently supported by legal opinion.

The BBFC takes its legal obligations very seriously. If our examiners have any doubts or concerns over the treatment of animals in the works they view, assurances of well-being are sought from the distributors and / or film-makers. Expert veterinary advice has also been taken on a number of occasions to determine whether cruelty towards animals has been involved during the making of a film. Cuts will be made to films or DVDs where there is clear evidence of on-screen cruelty, or the makers are unable to provide convincing assurances.

While a cat eating a mice is a natural, real-life occurrence, if such an incident has been "organised or directed" specifically for the purposes of being filmed - rather than captured on film while occurring naturally as in a wildlife documentary - and involves the cruel infliction of pain, we are legally required by the Act to remove the scene. I hope this explains the situation for you.

Yours sincerely,

J L Green
Chief Assistant (Policy)

Well, who’d have thought that taking 10 minutes out of our day would overturn the BBFC’s original decision to cut the movie? Not many, but it’s happened! For the first time in recent history the BBFC have waived an initial cut after peer pressure from the public! Yes folks, us, the people, have been able to apply common sense to a senseless decision and one of Dario Argento’s finest movies can now be enjoyed, for the first time on British shores, uncut!!

Will it be the definitive edition of the film release? Only time will tell. For British fans however, this release has made a little bit of history, and for that it certainly deserves our support. Here’s to letting the BBFC know that we are adults, and wish to be treated as such; though a well-done is indeed due to the BBFC for taking in to consideration our comments on the issue and taking a second opinion on their initial cut. 2010, finally a year in which British genre fans had their opinion taken into consideration in this ever-crazy country we live in!

For those on the fence about buying this release due to BBFC interference, you no longer have to worry; this release will be fully uncut and by the looks of things – packed with some juicy extras! At long last, Argento’s masterpiece will once again be available within Britain; it’s only taken 20 years!


- Reversible sleeve with original and newly commissioned art work

- Double-sided fold out Poster

- Collector’s Booklet featuring brand new writing on Inferno by Alan Jones, author of Profondo Argento

- High Definition Presentation of the film (1080p)

- Optional 7.1 DTS-HD/2.0 Stereo Audio


- Introduction to Inferno by star Daria Nicolodi

- Dario's Inferno (16 mins interview with Dario Argento)

- Acting in Hot Water: An Interview with Daria Nicolodi (18 mins interview)

- The Other Mother: Making the Black Cat (16 mins) In 1989 director Luigi Cozzi (a long time friend and collaborator of Dario Argento) decided to make the unofficial follow-up to Inferno and 'complete' the Three Mothers legacy. This feature looks at the torrid history of The Black Cat, with plenty of clips too!

- Dario Argento: An Eye for Horror (57 mins) Mark Kermode narrates this documentary on Argento’s career including interviews with George A. Romero and John Carpenter

- The Complete Dario Argento Trailer Gallery [18 films]

- Easter Egg (5 mins of Dario Argento in English, with random memories of Inferno)

Pre-order this essential release here for the DVD or here for the Blu-ray.

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