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Collective Remembrance, Empirical Evidence and the Search for Historical Accuracy in the History of the 'Video Nasties'

MCKENNA, Mark (2018) Collective Remembrance, Empirical Evidence and the Search for Historical Accuracy in the History of the 'Video Nasties'. In: History of Moviegoing, Exhibition and Reception (HOMER) Network Conference, 26–28 June 2019, University of the Bahamas, Nassau, The Bahamas,. (Unpublished)

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Abstract or description

In the early 1980s, a moral panic erupted in the United Kingdom over the perceived threat that horror videos posed to moral fabric of British society. Dubbed the ‘video nasties’, the videos were a loose collection of international horror films that were banned following a hyperbolic press campaign (cf. Barker, 1984). Though once decried as obscene, in the intervening years the ‘video nasties’ have gone through a process of remediation, becoming rarified cult objects, and the period that gave rise to them is now nostalgically remembered as a Golden Age of Exploitation (Bryce, 1998). Facilitating this reappraisal, are a range of specialist distributors and publishers creating a variety of products to appeal to this market, and reinforcing the dominant view that this was indeed a golden age for exploitation. Many of these publications rely explicitly on personal recollections to construct and reinforce a history in which the industry was as exploitative as the films they released, and where the independent sector was dominated by morally and ethically dubious figures. With academic attention focussed on issues of censorship, or addressing the moral panic more generally, this version of this history has gone largely unchallenged and press discourse has often stood in place of historical accuracy and empirical evidence. Indeed, with emphasis elsewhere, many academic accounts have simply repeated this press discourse and in doing so accepted many of the claims made against the industry. This paper begins to challenge this dominant view of the industry, and will scrutinize the role that memory has played in this positioning.

Item Type: Conference or Workshop Item (Paper)
Faculty: School of Computing and Digital Technologies > Film, Media and Journalism
Event Title: History of Moviegoing, Exhibition and Reception (HOMER) Network Conference
Event Location: University of the Bahamas, Nassau, The Bahamas,
Event Dates: 26–28 June 2019
Depositing User: Mark MCKENNA
Date Deposited: 26 Feb 2019 10:47
Last Modified: 26 Feb 2019 10:47
URI: http://eprints.staffs.ac.uk/id/eprint/5288

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