Generic term for a collection of films that were released (mostly) uncut and uncertified in Great Britain in the late seventies and early eighties, caused a lot of controversy in the gutter press and led to a hastily-engineered government ban which mean that after the 1984 Video Recordings Act was passed by parliament, every videocassette or DVD intended for sale or rental in the UK has to be passed by the British Board of Film Classification (BBFC). The notoriously uptight censors were at their least lenient during the period 1984 to 1999 when James Firman was the head of the board, and the video nasties, by and large, stayed banned - or at least heavily edited - until the early part of the 21st century. Films such as Lucio Fulci's Zombi 2 (AKA Zombie Flesh Eaters), Wes Craven's the Last House On the Left, Meir Zarchi's I Spit On Your Grave, Tony Maylam's the Burning and James C.Wasson's Night Of the Demon were all classed as video nasties. A brisk trade in bootleg copies continued for the best part of twenty years, but now you can buy most of the so-called nasties uncut in high street stores or through the internet, they're no big deal any more.
"Want to swap video nasties? Your copy of the Burning for my copy of Fight For Your Life."
"Young boy sent insane by a video nasty rapes five hundred women in one night" - typical 1980s British newspaper headline.