Tendring District Council approve unclassified Fear Itself film for audience’s at the Electric Palace in Harwich

The Electric Palace in Harwich - Chris Strachan

The Electric Palace in Harwich - Chris Strachan - Credit: Archant

Harwich’s Electric Palace Theatre has been given the all-clear to show an unclassified film in a rare move by Tendring District Council.

The Electric Palace in Harwich - Chris Strachan

The Electric Palace in Harwich - Chris Strachan - Credit: Archant

The council’s Licensing General Purposes Committee agreed to classify the documentary by independent film maker Charlie Lyne.

Fear Itself is put together from existing clips from movies and looks at the psychological effects of horror movies on audiences.

Mr Lyne, 25, who has appeared on the BBC’s Film Programme with Claudia Winkleman and has a weekly column in the Guardian, applied to the council for permission for Fear Itself to be screened at the theatre.

Ordinarily the British Board of Film Classification (BBFC) classify films into an age rating, but councils do have the power to classify or re-classify a film.

It rarely happens these days but was quite common in the past - some councils banned Clockwork Orange from being shown in their area.

Mr Lyne, who specialises in arthouse horror genre films, appealed to the council for its help to classify the film because the cost of doing so with the BBFC would have been around £900. It would have made it prohibitive to show his film at a small independent cinema like the Electric Palace.

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Using the BBFC guidelines the committee classified it as an 18 rating after watching it. This means only those over 18 can view it.

Val Guglielmi, chairman of the committee, said that classifying a film is not something it would do very often nowadays.

“In this instance we wanted to show our support for the arts locally and also support our local independent cinemas in Tendring by responding to Mr Lyne’s plea for help to show his film at the Electric Palace,” she said.

“We used the BBFC guidelines to rate the film and thought that an 18 rating would best reflect the material that some of the film clips portray.

“Our overwhelming objective as a committee is first and foremost to protect children and vulnerable persons and we believe that we have struck a reasonable balance in doing this while giving Mr Lyne the opportunity to show his film.

“We hope that it will be a success for him and will be well supported by horror film aficionados at the Electric Palace.”

Last October a 100-year-old silent movie – one of the first made by a woman director – was shown in Ipswich as part of a special event after the borough granted it a 12A Certificate.

Hypocrites was denied a rating by the British Board of Film Censors in 1917 following its controversial original release, and had never been approved for UK public screenings until the borough council’s involvement.