TOWN Hall bosses are attempting to halt the screening of a controversial horror film which includes scenes of paedophilia and rape.

The organisers of the British Horror Film Festival – set to take place the Pier Theatre, Bournemouth, on October 30 – have been advertising an uncut version of the movie, A Serbian Film.

The British Board of Film Classification (BBFC) has demanded almost four minutes be cut before the film can receive an 18 certificate.

Council licensing chiefs have now asked the festival organisers not to screen the film uncensored.

But the event’s director has urged councillors to see the film for themselves.

The film is about an out-of-work porn star who is persuaded to appear in an “art” film, only to be forced into taking part in acts including child rape and necrophilia.

Its director has called it a “diary of our own molestation by the Serbian government”.

Former councillor David Clutterbuck, chairman of East Cliff and Town Centre Residents’ Association, said: “What sort of people want to go and see that? I’m not a fan of massive censorship but I certainly don’t think it should be shown in Bournemouth.”

But Stuart Brennan, director of the British Horror Film Festival, said he had offered to show the film to licensing officers and give a presentation on its artistic merits.

“If it has been banned by the BBFC, the council can review it and then screen it,” he said.

“We’ve approached them to ask them and instead of doing their job and reviewing it, they’re being lazy and irresponsible.”

He claimed he had previously been told by the council that the festival could show whatever films it liked to over-18s.

“The film-makers felt very passionately that they wanted to create a piece of art that expresses their frustration and anger with what’s happening in their country,” he said.

He added: “The main character in this film is disgusted and scared by what he witnesses, as the audience should be.”

The film had to be pulled from a London horror festival in August after Westminster council refused permission to show it without a BBFC certificate.

The BBFC asked the distributors to make 49 cuts, which included scenes showing children in a “sexualised or abusive context”, according to BBFC director David Cooke.

“While the board understands that these images are intended to make a political point, that does not remove the genuine harm risks to which they give rise,” he said.

Pier Theatre manager Ian Goode has asked the organisers not to show the uncut film without a certificate.

A statement from the council’s licensing officer, Steve Wright, said the authority “expected” the Pier Theatre to tell the organiser that only a BBFC-approved version of the film should be shown.

“The council expects the theatre operator, via the event organiser, to submit details of any other uncertificated films they plan to screen for the council's licensing board to assess whether they should be shown,” it added.