In 1983 a bill was passed in the parliament of the United Kingdom that came to be known as the Video Recordings Act. The British Board of Film Classification was given statutory power to censor films. The moral war was being waged on the black market of films known as “Nasty Videos.” Nasty Video was a colloquial term used for highly violent films released on VCR tapes by a few filmmakers. It fed the ever booming illegal market. These films were not passed by the Censorship authority hence it was channeled in the market illegally. They were usually horror films that made use of violent and highly destabilizing imagery.
Censor, the 2021 British film, written and directed by Prano Bailey-Bond and co-written by Anthony Fletcher, takes us through the life of a woman who is a part of the censorship board and reviews these disturbing films as a part of her job.
Enid Baines finds herself to be a topic of discussion by the media houses when a ghastly crime comes to light. A convicted felon carried out a series of killings in quite a similar fashion to what was shown in a film called “The Amnesia Killer.” People start linking the killings to the movie, inferring that the killer would have been inspired by the same. The film was passed by the censor board, and somehow, people got to know that it was reviewed by Enid Baines.
Post this incident, a sordid and shady film producer named Doug Smarty tells Enid that he would want her to review his film called “Don’t go in the church.”
Enid gets deeply impacted by the film. The film was directed by Frederick North. The illustration on the VCR cover of the film showed a picture of a girl. Enid finds an uncanny resemblance to her sister, who went missing when she was seven. Paranoia takes over her as the fine line between reality and delusion blurs and gives way to a petrifying incident.
‘Censor’ Ending explained – Did Enid kill Frederick North?
Yes, Enid did end up killing the film director, “Don’t go to the church.” Enid becomes delusional and starts to connect dots between her missing sister, Nina, and the director. She felt that Frederick North was the one who had abducted her sister. She believes that he did so to do her act in her films. Enid visits the set of his film, Church 2, where she is mistaken as one of the actors. Enid sees the beast-man, whom she recognizes from Frederick’s earlier film, Asunder. She kills him. The whole crew freaks out, and it is then we come to know that she was just hallucinating the whole time. In a rage, Enid then kills Frederick North also.
What made Enid deranged?
We always talk about the kind of impact these films have on our children and our society. But often, we forget that censorship authority also comprises people. Enid was devoted to her job even when her opinion was often not considered in a male-dominated work environment. In my opinion, the kind of films she was reviewing the day in and day out made an imprint on her subconscious. Also, the producer, Doug Smarty, tried to impose himself on her, and in the scuffle, one of his award trophies gores him. The whole incident may have just pushed Enid’s psychological balance of the threshold.
It acted as a catalyst that triggered a fragile mind. The childhood tragedy was subdued somewhere in the subconscious realm, and the gory visuals of the films just gave it enough push to bring it on the surface.
Was the actress Enid’s sister in real life?
The actress named Alice Lee was not Enid’s sister. It was Enid’s mind playing all along. When Enid kills the director, Frederick, Alice runs away from her. The last ambiguous visuals depict things as Enid’s brain is perceiving them compared to the actual reality. Enid sees that she has reunited her sister Nina with her parents, but we see that she is shouting for help in a glitch like editing.
Prano Bailey Bond is definitely a director who needs to be looked out for in the future. She has made a promising impact by how she treated the whole genre of horror/psychological thriller. Censor creates that sense of anxiety, and there is never a dull moment. It leaves you yearning for more. The film is available in Video on demand.