Saturday, 2 February 2013

Human Centipede 2 vs Salo vs The BBFC

I always told myself that if a topic came up that suited it, this blog (and the original VNAW) would occasionally contain articles other than reviews. After only 89 weeks, such a topic has finally come up.

The bias (in my opinion) showed by the BBFC in the way "art" films are treated differently to more mainstream Horror films prompted me to e-mail the BBFC's press department.

Rather than editorialize, |I will present my email, and their reply, in full. I will save my opinion of the exchange for the comments section; where you are welcome to join me.

Dear Ms Anderson,

I run a blog dedicated to banned, previously banned, and controversial movies. The subject this week is Pier Paolo Pasolini's Salò, or the 120 Days of Sodom.

While I personally found the movie repugnant in almost every conceivable way, I never the less applaud the BBFCs desision, in 2000, to pass the work uncut; In a free society, poor taste is no excuse to curb freedom of expression.

With this thought, as specifically the content of Salò in mind, I was hoping that someone at the BBFC could take a few moments to consider the footage exhumed, at the Board's insistence, from Tom Six's Human Centipede 2: Final Sequence; Bering in mind that, like "poor taste", "artistic merit" is entirely subjective.

I would be grateful if you could explain to our readers why two movies, seemingly so similar in content, have received such different treatment.

I look forward to your reply.

Dear Will,

Thank you for your email. With regards to Salo and Human Centipede 2 (Full Sequence). The BBFC website provides BBFCinsight or case studies for most films, explaining why they received the classification they did. We are often asked to compare two works and their classification but this is not something we practice since every film work must be classified against the guidelines as a unique work in its' own right. You can find a case study on the classification of Salo at

The press release explaining the reasons for refusing to give a rating to Human Centipede 2 can be found here:

A press release regarding the decision to pass Human Centipede 2 with cuts can be found at:

The BBFCinsight for Human Centipede 2 is also available here:

Note that Salo was first submitted before the BBFC introduced its' Classification Guidelines, although even once these were introduced in 2000 (following the first large scale public consultation exercise) the film was still regarded as neither illegal nor harmful within the terms of the new Guidelines and therefore the BBFC agreed to classify the film 18 uncut for cinema exhibition.

Human Centipede 2 was submitted under the 2009 Classification Guidelines and you'll notice that unlike Salo, the press release states that "It is the Board's conclusion that the explicit presentation of the central character's obsessive sexually violent fantasies is in breach of its Classification Guidelines and poses a real, as opposed to a fanciful, risk that harm is likely to be caused to potential viewers."

I hope this is helpful in completing your article

Kind regards,


1 comment:

  1. I really feel that everything the BBFC have said about HS2 could easily be said about Salo.

    Especially when you considered that most of what got cut from HS2 was shit splatters.