Classification chiefs will tighten their policy on "sexual or sadistic violence" after new research found public concern over its effect on "vulnerable viewers".
The research, carried out on behalf of the British Board of Film Classification (BBFC), comes after controversy over so-called torture porn films including The Human Centipede II.
More than two-and-a-half minutes were cut from the film about an obsessed horror movie fan who staples people together for kicks before it was given a certificate last year.
Around the same time the BBFC banned another film - The Bunny Game - about a prostitute kidnapped and sexually abused by a trucker.
Both films, and other controversial titles including A Serbian Film and Lars von Trier's Antichrist, were shown to carefully selected focus groups as part of the research.
The BBFC report stated that "much of the public believe that sexual and sadistic violence are legitimate areas for film-makers to explore", but added they were "concerned by certain depictions which may be potentially harmful".
It went on: "This concern is particularly acute in relation to young men without much life experience and other vulnerable viewers accessing a diet of sadistic and sexually violent content, which could serve to normalise rape and other forms of violence and offer a distorted view of women."
The BBFC said it would consider "cutting, or even rejecting, works aimed at adults and containing violence" even if it was legal to show them, but its director David Cooke said there was no "one size fits all rule".
He said: "The decision as to whether and how to intervene in scenes of sexual and sadistic violence is complex, but drawing out and applying these aggravating and mitigating factors is helpful in arriving at a decision which balances freedom of expression against public protection."