Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Studio-S & Videovåldet

Studio-S & Videovåldet
(Studio-S and the Video Violence)

Sweden, 1980
TV Show+Movies, approx. 16hrs
Distributed by: Studio-S Entertainment

This boys, and girls is the shit!

Never mind the videonasties… here’s the moral panic! The one show that put the Swedish video debate right up front and centre and caused a national panic unlike anything ever seen before. And this all happened before the infamous British Nasties controversy.

The programme Studio-S, a weekly debate show aired on Swedish TV, but only one single episode was so potent that it changed the country forever. At this point in time their where only two channels in Sweden. No cable, no satellite, nothing. Just Channel 1 and Channel 2. Here where voices being raised in parliament about the easy accessibility of violent and sexual deviant videos. Most of the movies seemed to be filled with sadistic death and perverted sex. Obviously something that parents wouldn’t want their kids to be watching. And things took a turn for the worse when it was noticed that some of the titles on display in the video stores had previously been banned theatrically in Sweden. Remember this is the country that has the oldest ever board of censors!

So being the only forum to discuss the growing problem, national television got in on the game. They sent out a meaty press release proclaiming that they where going to scrutinise the new phenomena of rental video’s and their content. They where also going to air clips from the programme and warned sensitive viewers of the material to be show.

Now just imagine what this meant to me as a young lad going on eleven… I can’t really remember how I came to see that show, but I certainly remember laying headlong down the staircase, sneaking a peak out of the side of my eyes, trying my damndest not to be caught by my parents who where sat watching. We obviously had a video recorder and the stuff that we where allowed to watch is certainly stuff I would never have shown my own kids at that tender age. Wei Lo’s, Bruce Lee vehicle, Fists of Fury 1972 and Ivan Hall’s Kill or Be Killed 1980, where amongst the first films I ever saw on video and they undoubtedly where a vital part of laying the foundation of my passion for alternative cinema. Anyway, my restrained view, and jackass-like balancing trick down the staircase, never really allowed me to see much of the show or the clips, but holy crap did that audio stay with me for a long time. Just imagine hearing the audio of Leatherface’s first appearance in the hallway, snatching up Teri McMinn, dragging her into that back room, hanging her on that meat hook and cranking up that Poulan 245A chainsaw and not seeing the images to accompany it. Boy, my imagination went rampant. The weeks that followed saw my mates and I talk about nothing but that show and the movies we made up claiming to have seen on rented tapes where certainly stuff that still is way too wild to ever have been made, and only a short while later we where crossing off the corrupting titles of that list of no-no’s. And when we worked our way through them, there was loads more to go through, that’s when I fist encountered the Italian stuff!

Nevertheless the programme generated a horrific spin that saw rental shops raided, new laws passed demanding age limits be mandatory and anyone renting tapes to minors and even displaying a range of titles would be taken to court. A bunch of blokes where taken to court and fined and a couple more in it’s wake. Obviously time changed and new things where determined to be dangerous and the focus shifted. Today nobody really raises an eyebrow about video violence and the age limits for watching movies have also become a lot more modest. But back then that one show created a wildfire of moral panic and definitely spawned a whole generation of horror movie fans.

Amongst them the legendary Sven-Erik Olsson, called by some, the funniest man in Sweden. However more than a funny guy, SEO is also a true enthusiast who, not only has a string of hilarious movies to his resume, but has also been a driving force behind a lot of really classic genre cinema releases for the last decades. Recently he’s been getting smaller movies up on national screens to critical and box-office acclaims. Four years ago he named his company Studio-S after the infamous programme and for the last few years he’s been releasing titles connected to the show and finally a long labour of love has been birthed. The Studio-S & Videovåldet box set.

Here for the first time since the second of December 1980 when it first aired, the Studio-S programme is finally released in its entirety. Uncut, uncensored and complete with clips, crying parents, fuming politicians and angled journalism at it’s best. It’s a true piece of Swedish history. But it doesn’t stop there, because this is one of the most spectacular box sets ever released in Sweden, because it also EIGHT DVD’s in all! Apart from Studio-S, there’s a beautiful two-disc version of Tobe Hooper's Texas Chain Saw Massacre 1974 and single discs of Dennis Donnelly's The Toolbox Murders 1978, Ulli Lommel's The Boogeyman 1980, David Scmoeller's Tourist Trap 1979, Hooper's follow up to T.C.M., Eaten Alive 1977 and Norman J. Warren's Terror 1978. The main disc is also filled with some fantastic extras, how about Måns F.G. Thunberg’s ten minute retrospect on video violence - featuring Jake West and Mark Morris of the VideoNasties documentary, and a outstanding trailer reel with 25 of the movies that where deemed to violent to be seen in Sweden compiled by the one and only wiz kid Stefan Nylén and a terrifyingly detailed breakdown of the video violence debate day for day up till now, and even my little show Skräckministeriet get’s a mention in the later entries. Ironically, as I've worked at SVT, the network that originally aired Studio-S, at their concrete block at the end of town, I know that there are a lot of people there, who are kind of ashamed of the Studio-S programme and what it brought with it. Not surprising as there's was further controversy some twenty-two years later when it was revealed in the SVT show Filmkrönikan (a weekly movie show, now defunct - Hmm how come they took that show off the air?) in 2002 exposed the fraud behind the Studio-S programme (if you don’t know I’m not telling).

I can’t tell you enough of the cultural value this is a box set, and time capsule, has. This is without a doubt the most important release in Sweden since you first heard the words dee-vee-dee. You really need to get your hands on it as soon as you can, because it’s a must for any Swede that calls themselves a genre cineaste. Otherwise you can NEVER talk about Studio-S and the VideoVåld debate again. Evah! I'll kick your ass if you do without owning this set. If you want to learn more of the debate and moral panic, pick up the box set on the 30-year anniversary, the 2 December 2010 when it hits the streets, or buy the December issue of CINEMA where I've spotlighted the debate, the aftermath and unravel a most shocking conspiracy theory... which now realising that Filmkrönikan was taken off the air after mentioning the fraud, makes it seem even more suspicious.

Go get some you pussies, it don’t bite!


Anonymous said...

I want it, I want it, I want it for christmas. =)

CiNEZiLLA said...

You do right mate!
Christmas has never been a terrifying as this one will be!



Jack J said...

This sounds awesome. Obviously, I've heard about the programme and the controversy (and read about it in the ol' Video Ferox zine) and I'm definitely gonna get this too. You didn't mention if it's gonna be subtitled?

CiNEZiLLA said...

No subs on the Studio-S, Jack, but the movies are subbed in Danskjävel!


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