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Alison Taylor

Print publication date: 2022

Print ISBN-13: 9781800857056

Published to Liverpool Scholarship Online: May 2022

DOI: 10.3828/liverpool/9781800857056.001.0001

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PRINTED FROM LIVERPOOL SCHOLARSHIP ONLINE (www.liverpool.universitypressscholarship.com). (c) Copyright Liverpool University Press, 2022. All Rights Reserved. An individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a monograph in LSO for personal use.date: 24 June 2022

‘If You Had Only Seen What I Saw!’ – Possession’s Reception

‘If You Had Only Seen What I Saw!’ – Possession’s Reception

(p.81) Chapter 4: ‘If You Had Only Seen What I Saw!’ – Possession’s Reception

Alison Taylor

Liverpool University Press

Chapter four examines the film’s uncertain position between arthouse and grindhouse. Possession held the paradoxical position of being showcased at the world’s leading art cinema festival in competition for the illustrious Palme d’Or, and being included in the United Kingdom’s ‘video nasties,’ a list of ‘obscene’ or otherwise questionable films, mostly comprised of violent exploitation fare. The film underwent heavy cuts for the US release. In an attempt to capitalise on the film’s horror elements, almost a quarter of the original film was removed rendering an already enigmatic film utterly incomprehensible. Chapter four unpacks the fraught history of Possession’s conflicting status as art and trash, paying particular attention to the shift the film underwent upon its release on VHS–in terms of its marketing and reception outside of the festival circuit, its butchering for the US market, and its odd place amidst other notorious video nasties. It also takes a dive in the BBFC’s archival records on Possession, shedding new light on the film’s reception history.

Keywords:   arthouse, grindhouse, reception, video nasties, BBFC, exploitation cinema, censorship, Zulawski

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