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Tuesday, March 16, 1999 Published at 21:58 GMT


Texas Chainsaw Massacre released uncut

Face off: The character was based on real-life killer Ed Gein

Britain's chief film censor has awarded a certificate to cult US horror film The Texas Chainsaw Massacre.

Individual councils have been granted licences to show the film over the years - most recently Camden in London last year - but it has been denied a formal 18 rating for 25 years.

[ image: Don't look now: Leatherface on the rampage]
Don't look now: Leatherface on the rampage
The British Board of Film Classification (BBFC) has now passed the film with no cuts and it is set to go on general release around the country from 9 April.

The decision follows another controversial movie, The Exorcist, being passed by the BBFC. That film was given a video classification for the first time earlier this year.

The film, which will remain unavailable on video, was a forerunner of Silence Of The Lambs and featured a character called Leatherface who wore the skin of his victims.

[ image: Hanging around: The original remains untouched]
Hanging around: The original remains untouched
Much of the film is based on the true story is serial killer Ed Gein who skinned his victims and used some body parts as household decorations.

The BBFC's president, Andreas Whittam Smith, and director Robert Duval said much of the film's notoriety arose from its rejection by the board in 1975.

They said in a statement: "There is, so far as the Board is aware, no evidence that harm has ever arisen as a consequence of viewing the film.

"For modern young adults accustomed to the macabre shocks of horror films through the 1980s and 1990s, The Texas Chainsaw Massacre is unlikely to be particularly challenging."

They said much of the violence was implicit rather than explicit, and "by today's standards its visual effects may seem relatively unconvincing".

'Absurd' action

Mr Whittam Smith and Mr Duval also picked out a notorious element of the film for special consideration - the half-hour pursuit of "a defenceless and screaming female".

"The board's conclusion, after careful consideration, was that any possible harm that might arise in terms of the effect upon a modern audience would be more than sufficiently countered by the unrealistic, even absurd nature of the action itself.

"It is worth emphasising that there is no explicit sexual element in the film and relatively little visible violence."

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