Guillermo del Toro has slammed Warner Bros. for blocking the home entertainment release of Ken Russell’s controversial 1971 religious drama The Devils in North America.
"There are powers that be at Warner Bros. that refuse to allow the movie to be seen," the horror film guru told a master class Monday night in Toronto, referring to the film about demonic possessions and exorcisms in 17th century France.
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Del Toro said Warner Bros., which financed The Devils, has refused to release the original cut of Russell’s screen adaptation of Aldous Huxley’s The Devils of Loudun more than 40 years after it was made.
A Warner Bros. spokesman declined comment Tuesday to The Hollywood Reporter over del Toro’s allegations.
"The movie has been seen very little. It can only be shown in its entirety in England if it’s booked as an educational experience," the Mexican-born director told a Bell Lightbox audience.
"It’s not an accident. It’s not because of lack of demand. It’s a true act of censorship. It’s extremely blatant," del Toro added.
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The Devils, which has yet to be released on DVD or Blu-ray in North America, has Oliver Reed playing a vain priest who faces a witch hunt when a mad nun, played by Vanessa Redgrave, accuses him of being a sorcerer.
The British Film Institute released the original X certificate version of Russell’s film in the U.K.
Del Toro is in Toronto to direct his FX show The Strain, post his haunted house movie Crimson Peak and do pre-production on Pacific Rim 2.
"For me, this movie, every time I see it, I see it as powerful, as beautiful, as absolutely hysteric and absolutely as wild as the first time I saw it," del Toro told his master class audience.
"When I was younger, and I had room in my memory for everything, I used to be able to quote almost the movie and do a Rocky Horror with it. I won’t do it again," he added.
Image credits: Rex/AP