Screened as part of NZIFF 2021

Censor 2021

Directed by Prano Bailey-Bond

A captivating journey into the early 80s moral panic of the “video nasty”, Prano Bailey-Bond’s audaciously meta retro-horror conjures the nightmare visions of David Lynch and Lucio Fulci.

UK In English
84 minutes DCP


Niamh Algar
Michael Smiley
Nicholas Burns
Vincent Franklin


Helen Jones

Executive Producers

Andy Starke
Ant Timpson
Kim Newman
Naomi Wright
Lauren Dark
Ollie Madden
Daniel Battsek
Mark Burke
Kimberley Warner


Prano Bailey-Bond
Anthony Fletcher


Annika Summerson


Mark Towns


Emilie Levienaise-Farrouch


San Francisco 2021


In her bold, wildly accomplished debut feature, Welsh filmmaker Prano Bailey-Bond re-imagines the moral hysteria of the Thatcherite “video nasty” era as a deliciously meta, purposefully disturbing piece of psychological-horror.

It’s the early 80s, and Enid (Niamh Algar) and her team of film censors spend their hours in dingy screening rooms, coolly scribbling down notes and assessing a litany of gut-churners before releasing them into the public. When a grisly murder occurs, supposedly mimicking a horror film that has slipped through their scissors, Enid finds herself at the centre of an escalating media frenzy and questioning her role as a moral guardian. Meanwhile, repressed trauma from her past resurfaces, threatening to loosen her already-slippery grip on reality.

Awash in throbbing, seductive neon hues, Censor is a retro genre aesthete’s dream, steeped in attentive period detail and atmosphere (lurid fake film titles, surreptitiously acquired, behind-the-counter VHS rentals). As with its closest sensory cousins, Videodrome and Berberian Sound Studio, this is sharply stylised film-within-a-film phantasmagoria of the highest order, with Algar’s committed, unusually affecting performance grounding each heady detour into blood-spattered surrealism with empathetic force. — Aaron Yap

“This thrilling, dizzying debut... is a nostalgic treat for anyone old enough to remember the infamous ‘video nasties’ scare of the early 80s. Yet beneath the retro surface lies a more universal tale about the power of horror to confront our deepest fears – a timeless celebration of the liberating nature of the dark side.” — Mark Kermode, The Guardian

Declaration of Interest
The staff and trustees of NZIFF congratulate Incredibly Strange programmer Ant Timpson on his involvement in this film as Executive Producer.