Censor 2021

Directed by Prano Bailey-Bond Incredibly Strange

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.

Nov 05

Embassy Theatre

Nov 13
Sold Out

The Roxy Cinema

UK In English
84 minutes DCP
R16
horror, graphic violence & offensive language

Cast

Niamh Algar
,
Michael Smiley
,
Nicholas Burns
,
Vincent Franklin

Producer

Helen Jones

Executive Producers

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

Screenplay

Prano Bailey-Bond
,
Anthony Fletcher

Cinematography

Annika Summerson

Editor

Mark Towns

Music

Emilie Levienaise-Farrouch

Festivals

Sundance
,
Berlin
,
San Francisco 2021

Elsewhere

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.