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Don't be afraid it's only business

MCKENNA, Mark (2020) Don't be afraid it's only business. In: Screening Censorship, 16-17 October, 2020, Ghent University.

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Abstract or description

As prone as the British appear to be to moments of spontaneous moral panic, it is important to recognize the forces that instigate, underpin and amplify these moments, and to acknowledge that these forces are rarely benevolent, or even for that matter, spontaneous. In 1982, just as home video was finding a foothold in the United Kingdom, a moral panic erupted about the advertising that was being used to promote an array of horror films that had been imported from Europe and America and released to conservative British marketplace. These films became known as the ‘video nasties’, a disparate collection of unrelated films of varying qualities that were grouped together on the basis that they transgressed the boundaries of respectability. While many of these films were, and remain, difficult and challenging works, it important to recognize that it was not a sense of public outrage or moral propriety that led to the films being banned, it was simply that the organizations and institutions involved stood to benefit from the frenzy of a moral panic. Though this was not immediately obvious. The moral panic famously led to the introduction of the Video Recordings Act, which Martin Barker (1984) and Julian Petley (1997) have explored as a convenient deflection for the Conservative Government, whose reputation had been badly damaged in their previous term. However, what has received far less scrutiny is the benefit of the introduction of the Video Recordings Act to the major film studios and their role in its introduction. This paper will explore this history and will consider how the Video Recordings Act reshaped the British video industry.

Item Type: Conference or Workshop Item (Paper)
Faculty: School of Computing and Digital Technologies > Film, Media and Journalism
Event Title: Screening Censorship
Event Location: Ghent University
Event Dates: 16-17 October, 2020
Depositing User: Mark MCKENNA
Date Deposited: 21 Oct 2020 10:34
Last Modified: 24 Feb 2023 14:00

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