Seriously? OMG! WTF? » Germany bans movies they deem too violent like Hostel 2
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[ # ] Germany bans movies they deem too violent like Hostel 2
July 6th, 2008 under Eli Roth

On June 10th, this year, Germany passed new, stricter censorship laws, banning movies they deem too violent. Hostel 2 had been censored in Germany during its theatrical release (the censors felt the comical scene of kids playing soccer with head at the end was too violent – I'm not kidding) so the horror fans there felt cheated, and were waiting for the unrated DVD. The German fans have always been incredibly supportive of me, and it was very frustrating for all of us that even the R rated version of Hostel 2 could not be seen. On June 10th, 2008, the uncut DVD was officially listed as illegal in Germany. I got several reports of police in Munich raiding video stores and pulling the DVD off the shelves. Let me repeat that: three weeks ago, German police were going into video stores and pulling Hostel 2 off the shelves because the government censored it. This is disturbing on many, many levels. When a government censors any creative work like this, it sends a very dangerous message that the violence in these movies is real. We're talking about a DVD – where you not only can hear me explaining how we did every kill in the film, but you can then watch a behind-the-scenes special showing us applying the make up to the actors during the scene. When people ask me "how could you kill all those people?" I have to explain to them that we didn't kill anybody – that there is no actual violence in my films, it is simply a representation of violence. But what's really dangerous is that this is the beginning of the end of free expression for any artist who wants to make a film in Germany, or show their work there. Once the government starts with the horror movies, who's next? Someone's deciding what is decent and what is not, and politicians never stick up for violent work, because that makes them look like they are publicly endorsing actual violence. They will vote to go to war and actually kill people to 'defend freedom', but vote against allowing violent movies. Will they also ban Pasolini's anti-facism masterpiece "Salo?" Will they start censoring paintings they deem too violent? Will they ban the work of Cormack McCarthy – our most celebrated author – because it's too violent? Did they read "The Road" or "Blood Meridian?" What about those amazing German DVD labels (who I don't want to mention here so as not to raise any red flags) who put out those rare Italian films from the 70's that I can't find anywhere else? And most importantly, what about the fans, who now risk going to jail simply for purchasing a DVD – something everyone else in the world (except New Zealand and Singapore, where I was also banned) can watch?

I hear people complain about the MPAA all the time, and I just wish they could be in my shoes for a day. The MPAA is not a government organization, they are an organization hired by the studios to self-police. They actually listen to you – you can have a discussion with them – and they work with you to protect the integrity of your film within the boundaries of a rating we all created specifically to avoid government interference. We can thank the MPAA for allowing us to have all the horror movies we have today in cinemas – they are our allies. And even if your film gets trimmed your film has an afterlife on the unrated Blu Ray. But in Germany the fans are not so lucky anymore. They are censored by their government, and the police will arrest you for buying or selling a DVD they feel is too dangerous for the public to see. I understand the German sensitivity to violence. And it is no secret there are numerous references to the holocaust in both "Hostel" films (bodies being incinerated at a factory of death, the torturer speaking German, Paxton speaking German to show he speaks the same language as his torturer, etc.) so perhaps the censorship is a little personal. But I have always said my films do not inspire violence, but rather discussions about violence, and I suppose if that comes from this then my objective has been achieved. I went to Germany for all of my films and had an amazing time with the fans as well as the journalists – they were all really cool, and really got it. But I do feel these politicians completely missed the point of both films and are treating them as if I truly killed people, when it in fact this act of censorship is far more dangerous than anything I could ever do in a movie. The movie's pretend, but this, unfortunately, is very real.

Eli Roth just blogged this about the censorship going on in Germany and I had to share what he wrote with y'all. As a lover of horror movies, I would be horrified to see them go away. And what is deemed too violent in their eyes? What might deemed too violent for one person, might be OK to someone else? What are they going to ban next Schindler's List, Life is Beautiful or anything they have a problem with it until it is country full of a G-Rated movies? Back in the '70s they arrested Harry Reems and others here in The States for their parts in a movie called Deep Throat, (things I learned by watching Swingtown on CBS) could you imagine going to back time where our rights to see what we wanted is taken away from us? I could not, and I hope no other country takes that stance. So go out and rent a horror movie like Hostel 2 or a porno movie like Deep Throat and take a minute to appreciate that you are able to watch what you want when you want! 

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