With cinema now well over a century in age, there has been plenty of time for filmmakers to produce material that is considered so heinously vulgar, morally corrupt or downright disgusting that it gets banned. Censorship in the cinema has been a long and winding road, with merits and distinct flaws on both sides of the argument. Some believe that cinema should be unshackled from censorship, set free to run a mock as a boundless means of artistic expression devoid of a totalitarian governing body. Others propose that censorship should be tightened, seeing the medium as a potentially influential and corruptive force when viewed through the wrong eyes.
Whatever your thoughts are on this age old debate, the number of films that have been banned in the cinema’s history represent a fascinating barometer of history’s diverse cultural and ideological limits. Ranging from the hideously depraved, the politically subversive to the tragically misunderstood, cinema’s most infamous banned movies foreground a superb range of what the general public/”The Man” find – or indeed found – unacceptable.
Join as as we delve into cinema’s most visually perverse and morally upsetting depths (probably not the most cheerful sentence to kick start a countdown but hey, it can’t really be helped!).
10. The Profit
Easily the least offensive entry on this list, Peter N. Alexander’s 2001 film The Profit acts as an interesting example of a banned movie through its relationship with the dastardly Church of Scientology. The film charts a paranoid cult leader called L. Conrad Powers (L. Ron Hubbard, anyone!?) and his work as the spiritual leader of the “Church of Scientific Spiritualism”. In spite of the director’s claims that “the movie is fiction and has nothing to do with Scientology”, the lines of correlation were too much to bare for the absolute nutters over in Scientology HQ.
As such, a 2002 court order blocked distribution of The Profit in the USA, a ban that was lifted by the courts in 2007 but distribution remained blocked in spite of this due to the movie’s producer (Bob Minton) seemingly siding with the Church of Scientology – many suspect he was a mole planted into the film’s production by the church themselves. Pretty scary stuff, unveiling the hidden depths of power behind the closeted religious faith of Scientology.
This article was first posted on January 13, 2013