DVD content was unacceptable for classification in the UK film regulator says

Out-Law News | 07 Jun 2011 | 3:43 pm | 2 min. read

A DVD was too sexually violent and potentially obscene to be sold in the UK, the British Board of Film Classification (BBFC) has ruled.

"It is the Board’s view that there is a genuine risk that this video work, The Human Centipede II (Full Sequence), may be considered obscene within the terms of the OPA," David Cooke, Director of the BBFC said in a statement.

"The principal focus of The Human Centipede II (Full Sequence) is the sexual arousal of the central character at both the idea and the spectacle of the total degradation, humiliation, mutilation, torture, and murder of his naked victims," the statement said.

The BBFC is an independent regulator of films, DVDs and video games and classifies 'video works' for viewing in the home in accordance with UK law.

Editing scenes was not a possible solution to omit explicit content, the BBFC said.

"The Board considered whether its concerns could be dealt with through cuts," Cooke said in the BBFC statement.

"However, given that the unacceptable content runs throughout the work, cuts are not a viable option in this case and the work is therefore refused a classification,” Cooke said.

The BBFC said that the film was a sequel to The Human Centipede (First Sequence), a film which it had classified as suitable for adults aged 18 and over. The sequel breached guidelines for an '18' film, the BBFC said.

"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," the BBFC statement said.

“To issue a certificate to this work, even if confined to adults, would be inconsistent with the Board’s Guidelines, would risk potential harm within the terms of the [Video Recordings Act], and would be unacceptable to the public," Cooke said in the statement.

The Video Recordings Act obliges the BBFC to consider the likelihood of video works being viewed in the home and the harm people may cause society by interpreting violence, sex, drugs and other sensitive issues the works broadcast.

"In considering these issues, the BBFC needs to be mindful of the possible effect not only on children but also on other vulnerable groups," the BBFC said in a guide.

The BBFC's Classification Guidelines say that the organisation can decide material is unfit even for adults aged 18 or over in exceptional circumstances.

An exception may be "where material or treatment appears to the BBFC to risk harm to individuals or, through their behaviour, to society – for example, any detailed portrayal of violent or dangerous acts, or of illegal drug use, which may cause harm to public health or morals," the BBFC's Classification Guidelines (40-page / 2.15MB PDF) provide.

"This may include portrayals of sexual or sexualised violence which might, for example, eroticise or endorse sexual assault," the Guidelines provide.

The Guidelines are updated every four years and the current version was published in June 2009.

The BBFC decision means The Human Centipede II (Full Sequence) cannot be legally supplied anywhere in the UK.