Redemption films, which specialises in horror and sex films, said that Bare Behind Bars, a 1987 German film, had been rejected because it would contravene new statutory guidelines contained in the Criminal Justice Bill.
James Ferman, the BBFC director, rejected the film on the grounds that it would deprave and corrupt those who see it. But Redemption says he also applied a more stringent test set out in the Criminal Justice Bill, which is due to become law later this month. This states that the BBFC must have regard to 'any harm which may be caused to potential viewers - including under-age viewers - or, through their behaviour, to society by the manner in which the work deals with sex, violence, horror, drugs or criminal behaviour'.
Paul Chinnery, of Stephens Innocent, Redemption's solicitors, said the decision showed that 'as a result of the BBFC's new approach on video classification it will be much harder for many films to get a certificate.
This will have a profound effect on creative freedom in the film and video industry'.
Mr Ferman said that there was a long list of reasons why the film had been rejected, but acknowledged that the Criminal Justice Bill was a factor.