THE infamous ‘video nasties’ of the 1980s have received an unexpected nod thanks to Sir Tom Hunter, Scotland’s richest man, who has revealed he rented the blood-splattered, sex-soaked movies in the budding days of his career.

A young Hunter began a video rental service out of his father’s grocers shop in Ayrshire, he told the BBC’s The One Show, before he went on to make his fortune in the sports retail business.

The billionaire sold his Sports Division chain in 1998 and netted £250m from the deal. He later set up The Hunter Foundation, which has to date invested more than £55m into education in Scotland. It’s all a far cry from his more grisly beginnings as a video nasty entrepreneur. The movies led to a huge moral panic and dozens of them were later banned - the movies also brought in video classification.

He told The One Show: “It was the time people were renting videos and there wasn’t a video shop in New Cumnock, and I thought I could keep my dad’s shop open a wee bit later and sell stuff, and also rent out videos.

“I remember a guy coming in and saying, ‘oh son, have you got that Nightmare in a Damaged Brain? And give me two Askit powders as well’,” he joked.

When video nasties hit the shelves of early video rental stores, official bodies responsible for film classification and censorship were still getting to grips with the arrival of video cassettes and the distribution of films which had traditionally been in the controlled domain of the cinema.

As a result of the moral panic these extreme horror movies brought in their wake, they now have achieved cult status.

So what was so bad about films of the video nasty era? Here, we take a look at six of the best, or worst, depending on your point of view.

Tenebrae, 1982

In this offering from director Dario Argento, an American author named Peter Neal finds himself embroiled in a series of grisly killings which appear to be inspired by his latest novel. In the end it turns out Neal himself is the killer, having developed a lust for blood in his youth when he murdered a girl who had humiliated him. For audiences, there’s a lot of sadistic killing on offer before the killer is unmasked and eventually meets his own fate – if death by hacking with an axe isn’t your bag, this is one to avoid…

Zombie Flesh Eaters, 1979

This insane zombie film - which was prosecuted - is probably best known for the infamous 'eye-popping' scene. Let's just say you'll never look at a splinter of wood in quite the same way again. Oh, and the scene of an underwater zombie eating a shark.

The Last House on the Left, 1972

Director Wes Craven may ring a bell for fans of 1996 movie Scream, but in 1972 he brought The Last House on the Left to audiences. The film tells the story of two teenage girls taken into the woods and tortured by a murderous gang. The original working title of the film was ‘Sex Crime of the Century’, which pretty much sums it up. It’s a film of gruesome violence and revenge – not the kind of thing that would be created in this day and age for entertainment, you may think, but you’d be wrong: the film was remade in 2009, although it was a little cleaner than the original.

I Spit on your Grave, 1978

Rape and revenge were quite popular in films of the video nasty era, and I Spit on Your Grave is no different. In this 1978 movie from director Meir Zarchi, Manhattan writer Jennifer Hills seeks revenge on four men who attacked her during a summer holiday. Described as a “vile bag of garbage” by film critic Roger Ebert, the film also made Time magazine’s Top 10 Ridiculously Violent Movies. It was remade in 2010 and spawned a number of sequels.

Flesh for Frankenstein, 1974

Artist Andy Warhol, more famously known as the grandpappy of pop art, produced this 1974 Italian-French horror from director Paul Morrissey. If you think you’ve ever thrown a dinner party gone wrong, Flesh for Frankenstein may leave you feeling relieved – albeit briefly. One of the things the movie is known for is its creative camera angles giving an extra gruesome experience of the violent bits. It is also extremely, extremely porny. Enough said.

Cannibal Holocaust, 1980

Way before the Blair Witch Project put ‘found footage’ movies on the horror movie map, 1980 film Cannibal Holocaust was leaving film fans traumatised. Directed by Ruggero Deodato, the movie features the discovery of a film crew’s recordings of a cannibalistic tribe in the Amazon rainforest. Amazingly, director Deodato was not only arrested on obscenity charges over the violent film, he was even charged – but later cleared – of making a ‘snuff’ movie after rumours that some of the film’s actors had genuinely been killed.

The Evil Dead, 1981

It's now a much-loved classic, but back in the day it had the moral majority in hystericas. Director Sam Raimi, not satisfied with the gratuitous violence humans can inflict upon one another, as helpfully revealed by other video nasties, brings freaky demons and spirits into the mix. It involves teenagers, an isolated cabin, an ill-advised trip to the woods and a scene with a tree that you will never forget. Of all the video nasties, this is one of the most famous and enduring. It has a cult following among movie fans and is often cited among the best horror movies of all time.