Hate Crime: A Modern Day Video Nasty!


Three years ago I was given the opportunity to review a low-budget found footage/home invasion/crime movie from a young, upcoming genre director; James Cullen Bressack. Fast forward to 2015 and news broke out a couple of days ago that our ‘trusty’ board of classification over here  in the UK, the BBFC had refused to classify the movie subsequently making it the fourth banned film in the country in recent years joining The Bunny Game, Grotesque and The Human Centipede 2 (which eventually was released with cuts). The film is Hate Crime, a raw and brutal depiction of the suffering of a Jewish family terrorized by neo-nazi thugs. Along with Funny Games, Hate Crime is a home invasion film that deliberately pushes the boundaries to shake up its viewers, its an exercise in pure terror which should be the intention when making this kind of horror film. When I watched the film back in 2012, I was shocked, sickened, thought-provoked and somewhat upset, not because of the brutal imagery that plays out on screen but because the film served as a reminder that even when the credits roll, incidents just like this happen in real life and that is a harrowing thought to take away with you. Hate Crime impressed me in several ways, its found footage angle was done well, and unlike many other films that use this method it actually served a purpose. It also takes place in real time making the piece highly effective with a sense of high octane realism at play.


Bressack recently spoke out about the film’s banning saying he found it”unbelievable that a film that shows little to no on screen violence and no nudity was actually banned” and that “it just shows the power of what is implied and people’s imagination and is a testament to the fact that the same crimes that happen in the world are truly horrifying.” This was actually something I applauded; Bressack’s technique of pulling the camera away from the moments of violence and sexual abuse made the scenes even more traumatic and powerful.


After viewing the film I had my suspicions that it was inevitably going to generate controversy outside of the horror community, the film’s content is horrible but its meant to be, its a depiction of something nasty that does go on in real life which is understandably hard to stomach. Sadly racism of this degree is out there. There is also the argument of film being an escapism therefore is a film as brutal as this necessary when we are reminded of despicable incidents like this happening in the news all the time. Films about true life whether autobiographical or not are constantly being made so this should be no different. It goes that little bit further than the glossy Hollywood home invasion movies but you don’t see The Strangers, You’re Next or The Purge not seeing the light of day with essentially the same concept and similar themes!

The Strangers film

The BBFC have justified their reasons behind rejecting Hate Crime for classification, which can be read here. When interviewing Bressack back in 2012 ahead of its UK premiere at Grimm Up North Horror Festival I asked if he was worried about the BBFC’s reaction to which he said: “We hope we’re not banned.  Despite its extreme brutality, much of Hate Crime’s violence takes place off screen.  Plus, its message is strong and important.  Particularly in Europe where anti-Semitism is growing.  We hope everyone who wants to see it gets to.”


I personally stand by the belief that anyone over the age of 18 should be able to watch whatever they like, its not harming anybody.There is no reason why this film shouldn’t be available within the public domain. The disheartening factor is it seems that independent films are judged much more harshly than mainstream movies, it doesn’t help encourage upcoming indie filmmakers to be brave with their art. The case of Hate Crime strongly echoes the debate over Axelle Carolyn’s supernatural drama Soulmate that was threatened with an outright ban if cuts weren’t made to a scene depicting a suicide attempt to prevent ‘imitable behaviour’; despite the scene being completely vital to the film’s story and character development.



Its despicable and contradictory particularly when we have a film that blatantly conveys child suicide (The Woman in Black) slapped with a harmless 12A certificate, meaning any child under 12 is ok to see it when accompanied by an adult and a film that includes a scene of a baby being raped (A Serbian Film) despite being passed with cuts, the edits made makes it ten times worse! A Serbian Film is actually now available on youtube in full. The controversial baby rape scene has been justified as acting as a ‘metaphor’ for life in Serbia, so how is  Hate Crime any different in what it depicts as a reflection of anti-Semitism in society, a universal threat.



It begs the question, who is really qualified to be censoring films. Films are subjective, we are all capable of making our own decisions on what we subject ourselves to. There are scenes of rape, violence and graphic murder in many genre films, so why is Hate Crime being singled out here, because its an easy target being a low budget indie film? It goes to show that the BBFC haven’t got their arse out of the 80s!

download (1)

On that note, please keep supporting independent film.

My 2012 Review of Hate Crime.

Hayley Alice Roberts.

Hayley’s Horror Reviews.


5 Responses to “Hate Crime: A Modern Day Video Nasty!”

  1. I wasn’t alive during the 80s (born in 1992)but I’ve been reading and watching a bit about it recently and it sounds like the whole Video Nasty moral brigade was just full of people who had next to no knowledge about the genre or the content they were viewing.

    I’m with you, the BBFC should not be banning films because, as an adult, I should be able to decide what I can and cannot watch, and with the internet what is the point? I could easily watch it.

    Is it illegal for me to own the DVD or is it only illegal to sell?

  2. Hayley's Horror Reviews Says:

    Thanks for reading my article. I was born in 89′ so missed the nasties panic as well but have learned so much from Jake West’s documentaries and from horror fans who experienced it first hand. Was an awful time to be a genre fan, a video store owner and an indie filmmaker. I completely believe it was the government trying to detract from real problems in society at the time. You’re right, they used to just edit a load of violent scenes from films together to back up their so-called outrage in government but weren’t actually showing these clips in the context, it was a ruthless way to go about it.

    Exactly. Hate Crime for example is a very eye-opening film, its horrible but its portraying something that does happen. We should be allowed to make our own decisions.

    I think you could buy the DVD as a US import possibly. I’m not sure how it works.

    As you’re interested in video nasties, just wanted to share a short documentary I made along with my friend at the Abertoir Horror Festival last year where we asked people to talk about their memories of the nasties panic.

    • Awesome stuff, always interesting to hear what it was like for the horror fan during that era.

      I watched the Jake West documentaries as well, they are informative and fascinating docs.

      Not only did they edit together random scenes but many of these scenes caused MPs to vomit (or so they say), I just wonder what the last horror film they watched was and whe, and I agree that the government used video nasties to blame for the country’s social issues when it was most likely the Tory Party’s policies which caused high unemployment, street protests and so on.

      I coincidentally was planning to watch The Burning last night, influences are clear but it was a good horror film. Quite notable it was the first film Harvey Weinstein ever produced.

  3. Hayley's Horror Reviews Says:

    I agree, West’s documentaries are very insightful and paint a realistic picture of what it must have been like back then.

    It is all very sketchy and of course, it was an easy scapegoat in place to avoid taking responsibility for the actual problems going on.

    Ah cool, I really enjoyed The Burning, I think its pretty decent and might prefer it to Friday the 13th. Interesting how Tom Savini chose to do FX on The Burning over Friday Part 2. I’m glad The Burning didn’t become a franchise, makes it that more unique. I did write an article on it if you want to check it out: https://mshayleyr1989.wordpress.com/2014/10/20/halloween-month-the-burning-1981/

  4. i think the reason why they what it to stop is beauess there is young kids wacthing tv and moives and they have these things on her and my did care when i was younger but he does not care any more beauess i am 16 about to be 17 in july 8 .

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