At the height of the 1980s horror movie boom, with slasher movies and other genre features pushing the limits of gore, sex, and violence on the big screen, not every country was as welcoming as others when it came to viewing these films. America's Motion Picture Association of America made an enemy of franchises like Friday the 13th and other properties, but their UK equivalent, the British Board of Film Classification, took things a step further at the time and outright banned some of the movies from being shown or even owned in the country, while mandating that others make drastic cuts to be exhibited.
Among the many movies that was subject to these censorship efforts was Sam Raimi's 1981 classic The Evil Dead. The BBFC recently took to Twitter to reveal a link to their website that recounts the history of the film's life in the UK, including the cuts that were made to it, but one person that wasn't hearing it was the film's star, Bruce Campbell. In their tweet, the BBFC said The Evil Dead "had an interesting classification history," to which Campbell responded: "Let's be clear. Your system back then was draconian and myopic. Thankfully, your multi-year 'ban' only stoked interest in the film and made it #1 on video in the UK when it was finally released. Thanks for nothin.'"
To his point, Campbell is right. With every movie the BBFC demanded cuts to or outright banned the desire to see it only grew for horror fans. Movies like Cannibal Holocaust, I Spit on Your Grave, and The Last House on the Left were bolstered by their demands that they were was too obscene for the public to view. The BBFC's history of The Evil Dead's rating and cuts got very detailed, noting that throughout the years the film had about two minutes cut out of it to meet their demands. To illustrate how quickly standards change though, the uncut version of the movie was resubmitted in the year 2000 and passed without cuts.
Let’s be clear. Your system back then was draconian and myopic. Thankfully, your multi-year “ban” only stoked interest in the film and made it #1 on video in the UK when it was finally released. Thanks for nothin.’ https://t.co/5w2BkW4Oru— Bruce Campbell (@GroovyBruce) August 18, 2021
Were it not for the BBFC's "draconian and myopic" system though we may not have some of our favorite genre filmmakers from across the bond. Director Edgar Wright has previously credited Raimi and his Evil Dead movies with being a major influence on his journey toward becoming a filmmaker.