Here at "SGM" we will be making random purchases from various suppliers to see who offers a decent service, acting as a consumer watchdog for you the buyer. The point being that the offending companies will hopefully get their shit togeher and offer you the best service possible (and receive deserved plaudits here at "SGM").
This month we're covering an old friend who is once again rearing his ugly head - Her Majesty's Customs and Excise Department
For those (outside the UK) who don't know, the Customs Department aren't too keen on people's rights to individual freedom, the right to purchase and view in the privacy of you're own home you're favorite Horror films.
Due to both strong censorship of films within the UK and poor availability of films within the genre, UK Horror fans find that to get their favorite films they have to order them from overseas (from the US or mainland Europe).
The problem here is that you run the gauntlet of the Customs Officers who (if you're unlucky enough) open you're package to find you're Horror treat, and seize it!
Customs just don't like Horror. They have it batched in with dangerous weapons (guns/bombs etc), drugs (heroin/cocaine etc) and porn (animals etc). Yeah, I know, you're thinking what the hell? How on earth can they lump the Horror genre in with those other rightfully disgraceful articles.
Could it be that Customs think viewing films like Argento's and Fulci's may tempt you to slip into a leather ensemble sans razor blade and go on a giallo-style killing spree ! Or is it, they are just trapped in the past under paranoid delusions from the Video Nasty scare (the Video Recordings Act) of 1984.
The reason we're bringing this up now is because we're recieving more and more emails from poor genre fans that are getting their DVD's seized. The main targets from Customs just now seem to be both Evil Dead Trap and Cannibal Holocaust.
It's been reported that our old friends Sazuma recently dispatched 300 discs at the same time using the same packaging of which some were met with glee by Customs officials - think about it, that's 300 potential seizures. They are now bringing the discs in en masse to the UK (by hand through 'the Green Channel' then posting them here) and we wish them the best of luck (wouldn't be me though!)
Also, you might like to note that Customs can sometimes take up to three/four months to tell you that you're package has been seized. You can appeal for it's release but the odds are very poor (though not impossible!) and more often than not you're package will be destroyed (once the Customs folk have watched you're film of course!)
What's the answer you ask? To be honest, the only way folk in the UK are going to see a change is if there is a change in Government policy and attitude to the Horror genre. In the meantime you will have keep running the Customs gauntlet, or use suppliers who dispatch their goods from within the UK (though they are being targeted by seizure raids too also nowadays).
And to our friends in the US and central Europe, think of us poor beggars here in the UK and how we suffer.
H.M. Customs - ShamedBack to the Spotlight page