LONDON (Hollywood Reporter) - In a rare movie, Britain’s censor has banned the DVD release of “Murder-Set-Pieces,” a low-budget American horror film in which a serial killer rapes and tortures his victims, including young children.
The rejection by the British Board of Film Classification means Los Angeles writer/director Nick Palumbo’s second feature cannot be legally supplied anywhere in the U.K.
The last time a DVD was banned in the U.K. was December 2006, when the BBFC gave the thumbs down to Vince Benedetti’s “Struggle in Bondage,” a pornographic film that consisted of scenes of women tied up and struggling while humiliated and crying.
A BBFC spokesperson said the distributor of the “Murder-Set-Pieces” DVD, Philadelphia-based TLA Releasing, has 42 days to appeal the decision, but noted that the DVD might run afoul of obscenity laws.
BBFC director David Cooke said the board considered trying to cut the film to allow it a release here.
“However, given the unacceptable content featured throughout, and that what remains is essentially preparatory and setup material for the unacceptable scenes, cutting the work is not a viable option in this case, and the work is therefore refused a classification,” Cooke said.
Richard Ross, TLA’s executive director sales for North America and the U.K., said the company was “shocked” by the ban, and was considering whether to appeal.
“We wanted to retain the director’s original version,” he said. “When we bought it, we hoped to release it unedited and thought we’d be able to do that in the U.K. We don’t want to release the same version that Lionsgate released (in the U.S.).”
The film was released in North America in January 2007 by Lionsgate with an “R” rating for “grisly bloody violence, disturbing images, strong sexuality and nudity, and for language,” according to the Motion Picture Assn. of America.
"It was, however, an extremely truncated version," Palumbo said on his MySpace page (www.myspace.com/67165653O). "They cut 23 minutes from the film, rendering it incomprehensible."
Palumbo said the uncut version has been released in Scandinavia, Spain and the Netherlands.
His film, which lists “Herman Goering” as an executive producer, revolves around a Las Vegas serial killer who dispatches 30 or so victims in a variety of sadistic ways. According to the publicity materials, it was banned from every film festival in North America.