Scissor Act

The Arts

I’ve long been fascinated by the world of Soho Square’s film censors. We were supposed to call it a Board of Classification but I think they just lost that right with the outright banning of ‘Human Centipede 2: Full Sequence’.

Back in the sixties we had John Trevelyan, who brought a more liberal approach to the role of Chief Censor than his predecessors claiming: “We are paid to have dirty minds”. But Hammer director Roy Ward Baker said “Trevelyan had that schoolmasterly habit of pigeon-holing people. If you were in the box marked ‘art cinema’ you could tackle anything, however controversial: sex, violence, politics, religion – anything. If you were in ‘commercial cinema’ you faced obstruction and nit-picking all the way. He was a sinister mean hypocrite, treating his favorites with nauseating unctuousness.”

Trevelyan’s daughter became a psychotherapist and married a murderer. Whether one approves of Trevelyan or not, today’s censors are a far less accountable and more faceless bunch.

The only interesting thing about the staggeringly dull ‘Human Centipede 1’ is that it’s a horrible idea which is never graphically shown in the film. The sequel features the grand old bete noir of the BBFC, imitation of a nasty video.

The curse of living through the eighties’ ‘video nasty’ scare created by the Daily Mail and publicity-grasping MP Graham Bright (sic) is knowing where this will go. History tells us that in five years’ time children will be watching it and laughing.