The debate over whether or not violent video games and movies impact crime rates has been ongoing for decades, with seemingly no end in sight. During the 1980s, a wave of rising crime rates coincided with the distribution of graphic low-budget horror and exploitation movies in the U.K. This led to a pearl-clutching media frenzy and sparked a national conversation about censorship.
News outlets, religious organizations, commentators and activists blamed the violent films for high crime rates and other social decay. Crusading for the protection of children, they aimed to rate and ban these films. Dubbed “video nasties” by the National Viewers’ and Listeners’ Association, an advocacy group that ceased media they found harmful or offensive, the spread of these films led to headlines like “How High Street Horror is Invading the Home” and “Sadism for Six Year Olds.”