OF THE NASTY
Nigel Wingrove & Marc Morris
published in 1998 by Redemption Films, The Art of the
Nasty was - at the time - an innovative idea - a book
packed with rare British video sleeves from the golden age of
pre-certification, including all the convicted video nasties and
a whole lot more besides. Since then, the idea has been copied
by several imitators - with FAB Press and co-author Morris themselves
having another stab at the market a few years ago - but this original
version remains the best.
well as the 39 official Nasties, the book features near-misses
- those films that were just as unsavoury as the banned titles
but which somehow evaded the beady eye of the law - and a wide
assortment of horror, sex, trash and sleaze from those glory days.
It's fair to say that you just won't see sleeves like these again
- often unique (to say the least) interpretations of the flms
from renegade distributors out for a quick buck, the cover art
ranges from the sublime to the ridiculous - never moreso than
in the case of The Steel Claw, a 1960's war film
packaged to look like a gory slasher!
makes The Art of the Nasty stand out from the
crowd is Wingrove's introduction, which neatly tackles the political
and social history that made these films so notorious back in
the early 1980's; this new edition has an update that shows just
how far we have come (a long way, but not nearly far enough) since
those dark days.
I am to criticise the book, it would be for the layout - it looks
great, but invariably, the format - one large illustration flanked
by two smaller ones per page - leads to frustration whenever you
might disagree with the authors' choices. The films they see fit
to reduce to smaller illustrations are sometimes the ones I would
have preferred to see large and lurid, and vice versa. But that
is inevitable in a world where beauty is in the eye of the beholder.
To give each title equal space would probably have pushed the
Art of the Nasty - unlike its imitators - is a pretty
comprehensive history of those early, wild west video days in
Britain. If you only buy one book of Nasty images, make it this
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