Christopher Tookey of The Daily Mail seems to have highlighted something that I think we all know has some truth ...
"Anyone who thinks violent pornography is harmless and cathartic is deluded. The rise of the internet means any one country’s attempt to maintain some minimal standards of decency can be of only limited effectiveness.
Differences of culture means there will always be some country in which selling this kind of pornography will be not only permitted, but encouraged. There is more money than ever to be made out of exploiting people’s weaknesses and perversions.
However, there can be no doubt the BBFC’s refusal to grant an 18 certificate to the few films it has stood up to must have made those productions less profitable and decreased their availability. "
Read the whole article: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2055937/Christopher-Tookey-Its-just-internet-thats-violent-porn--cinemas.html#ixzz1cYDbaer7
I think it is quite clear that what was deemed an 18-rated film way back in the 90's and, even, the 80's would now be deemed a 15. Many have been changed sicne their release to DVD but I think what it is determining, is the inevitable change in attitude towards an 18-rated film. It used to be an 18 had adult content, now it seems that it is a film with something particularly offensive - you know that, if it is rated 18, you can expect something to shock or use something in a gratutious way. The Passion of the Christ, Saw, Grindhouse, Inglourious Basterds, Hostel and Eastern Promises. I'll bet, without thinking, we can all pin-point the moment/scene the films moved from to 18-rated material.
But, take Zodiac (rated 15), though not gratutious in its use of violence ... it is adult in its content of a serial-killer investigation (SPOILER: Of a killer who may/may not be still out there...) and some scenes hint enough to get under your skin. I would argue moreso than many of the 18-rated films above. Shutter Island, though not gratuituous, there is enough to deem it 'adult' in its nature to garner it an 18 certificate - psychological madness, corrupted-protaganists, murder, child death, depiction of fire on a body, etc.
As an adult, I will happily watch violent films (unlike Tookey, who seems to believe it is wrong) - I watched every Saw film theatrically - but, we must be realistic about how the BBFC has changed in recent years and consider the reasons why... and the repurcussions.