Published: 00:00, 31 January 2008
A SICK and violent film that appears to glamorise Nazi oppression over Jewish prisoners in wartime death camps was freely available for sale at a Canterbury store this week, despite widespread outrage over its release.
SS Experiment Camp is on sale in DVD form at HMV stores nationwide, including the shop in St Margaret’s Street.
The availability in the heart of his constituency is cruelly ironic for Canterbury and Whitstsable MP Julian Brazier, who is championing a moral crusade to reform the censorship laws.
He has introduced a private member’s bill with all-party backing, due to receive its second reading next month, that will make it easier to challenge the release of such DVDs.
Mr Brazier says the controversial film is a clear case of the British Board of Film Classification failing to protect the public.
He said: “We live in a country where half of all males think forced sex is justified under some circumstances and this kind of film glamorises the torture of women.”
He said he was “gathering forces” to back his campaign. Media Watch, who campaign for decency and accountability, and Media March, a pressure group that surveys newspaper content, are backing Mr Brazier’s stand.
Mr Brazier, who has seen the film which has an 18 certificate, says: “It is unbelievably tacky and sick beyond belief.”
He added: “We live in a country where gang-rape is becoming a disease. It was once unheard of in this country.”
HMV’s Canterbury branch manager Stuart Malcolm said the film could be ordered at his store, but was not publicly displayed.
Gennaro Castaldo, head of HMV’s press and public relations department, said: “While we can understand the concern of people, it has been approved by the British Board of Film Classification.
“We don’t feel we should act as censors of choice for our customers.”
The film is not on general cinema release and there are no plans to screen it at Canterbury’s Gulbenkian Cinema.
David Joyce, manager of the cinema on the University of Kent campus, said: “The film is not on my radar.”
He did attempt to screen the widely condemned sex film Deep Throat a few years ago, but cooled on the idea when the city council wanted a private viewing for content clarification. SS Experiment Camp would need council approval before screening also, he said.
When the film was classified in 2005, the BBFC said: “The idea of the film may, of course, be offensive to some, but that is not good enough to cut or reject it.”
But Mr Brazier maintains the release is a clear case of the censorship board failing to protect the public, and if he has his way, their powers could be curtailed.