I’m sure most of you Fellow Fans out there are familiar with “Video Nasties”, that list of films compiled by the British National Viewer’s And Listener’s Association (NVALA) back in the eighties that charged violent, horrific movies with the degradation of society. They put together a list of over 70 films that they insisted should be banned, that doing so was necessary to protect society from such “obscenity”; viewing such materials, they said, could drive one to violence.
Ultimately, all they really succeeded in doing was providing an ass-ton of free publicity to these films, and ensuring that films like The Driller Killer and Cannibal Holocaust would become household names among horror fans. As always happens when someone says “you shouldn’t do this”, it becomes the ambition of many to do that very thing. With all the controversy surrounding this period in horror film history, I’ve often wondered why no one ever took advantage of the hubbub as an element of a horror story itself.
Mario Covone’s comic Video Nasty steps up to the plate with style. We look back in time to 1983; on a rainy night in England, we’re witness to a brutal and seemingly senseless murder. The police are stymied; we learn this is the second of such bloody crimes of late, and authorities have little to go on. The Court of Public Opinion, however, has already passed its judgment; home video has just hit the bricks, and there’s public outcry that, of course, those damned obscene, bloody horror films are to blame; these crimes are obviously (is there a note of sarcasm there?) precipitated by the violence found on those horrid videotapes. Responding to this public pressure, the government is looking for an excuse to put these so-called “video nasties” in a clamp; these murders seems to be a good one. However, the lead detective in the case doesn’t really give a fart in high wind about political angles; he seems genuinely interested in solving the crime. Nonetheless, in order to keep his job, he’s forced to investigate the video stores and the films they rent (giving us, the readers, our eyes to see through as he forms his opinions of the films and, I’m guessing, censorship). A producer of direct-to-video films is also in the mix, trying to be a defending voice of the genre (and save his own career in the bargain), but finding few friends in the effort.
The writing is tight and flows well; the personalities of the characters are well-defined, and the language and situations are believable and gripping. Vasilis Logios’ artwork suffers from some inconsistency from page to page, but the overall strength of his art makes this irrelevant. The panels are dark, foreboding, the use of shadow very adept; Logio’s style is unique and very effective in this work. I find the story an attention-grabber, shining a light on a period of history (that I find particular interest in) where the question of censorship was strongly asserted and challenged, wrapped in a horror tale.
I’ve had the gracious opportunity to read the first two issues of this six-part horror series, and I honestly have to say I’m eager for the other four. I’ve so many questions: Who the hell was that murderer? Is there a supernatural connection? Will the detective expose his kids to these “nasties”? How will this all blow up in regards to the attempt at censorship?
Personally, I’m interested, folks; I’ll definitely be finding a way to see how this all comes out.
Latest posts by Andrew Thompson (see all)
- IN MEMORIAM — GEORGE ROMERO 1940 – 2017 - July 17, 2017
- Anticipated PITCHFORK Hits DVD / Blu-ray This Month - May 3, 2017
- Filmmakers Unleash Terrifying OWLMAN On Unsuspecting Urban Explorers - May 2, 2017