In November 1986, a 1309.00-meter (47:51) 35mm print of MADAM X was Refused Registration because of 'gratuitous sexual violence'. Yu Enterprises were the applicant.
A censored version was passed with an R-rating in February 1987. The
reason given was sex, which was described as being:
The R-rated running time was 1206.92 meters (44:07); meaning nearly four minutes of footage had been removed.
In 1986 to 1987, Yu Enterprises had similar problems with LECHEROUS LOVER (198?), SADISTIC WHORE (198?), SEXY SPIRIT (198?) and VAMP (198?). All were Japanese films that Raymond Yu planned to screen at his Australia Cinema in Sydney. We require more information about all of these titles.
In August 1982, an 80m 35mm print of MAD FOXES was Refused Registration because of violence, which was described as being:
Filmways Australasia was the applicant.
The uncut Dutch VHS released by Film Service Holland ran 76:17. Two or three of the following scenes would have been responsible for the Australian ban.
At 12m: The rape of Babs.
At 21m: The castration of the biker.
At 54m: The murder of the family and their maid.
In February 1978, a 2633.00-meter (95:08) print of MAFIA JUNCTION was censored by 23.1-meters (00:51) for an R-rating. The cuts were made to remove 'excessive violence'.
M.S. Productions were the applicant.
Thanks to Matt for this review.
The DVD that I viewed was the Italian iiF/01 Distribution release under the title SI PUO ESSERE PIU BASTARDI DELL'ISPETTORE CLIFF?. Arrow Films in the UK have the same version on DVD as SUPER BITCH.
There are a couple of head shootings at 07:45 and 24:15, and a machine gun massacre at 43:30. However, I would guess that in the eyes of the censor, the 'excessive violence' would have been the murder of the male escort. At 58m Mamma the Turk’s gang confront him in an alleyway and proceed to brutally beat him. His legs are then positioned on the road, and the car is driven back and forth over them.
In March 1989 a 104m 35mm print of MAN BEHIND THE SUN was banned in Australia because of 'extreme cruelty'.
In April 1989, Yu Enterprises successfully appealed against the ban to the Board of Review who awarded it an R-rating.
Here is what they concluded in reaching their decision.
The Film Censorship Board's decision to refuse registration was taken under Regulation 13(1)(a) of the Customs (Cinematograph Film) Regulations on the grounds that the film contained scenes of excessive violence and extreme cruelty. The film was made in Hong Kong; the dialogue is sub-titled in English.
Before viewing the film the Board of Review heard submissions from Mr Raymond Yu (representing the importers of the film) and My Geoff Gardner (representing the Australian distributors, Ronin Films) . The applicants informed the Board that the film was a factual and accurate depiction of incidents in China during World War 2, and had been approved for screening in South East Asia and the US as well as the Berlin Film Festival. A written submission from the applicants was also considered.
Man Behind the Sun contains scenes depicting medical experiments alleged to have been conducted by a unit of the Japanese army on Chinese and Russian prisoners of war. The existence of the unit itself -codenamed 731-is well attested; it is known to have conducted experiments on living prisoners under the direction of Dr Ishii. The film includes historical footage of the war in China and the remains of the prison camp where the experiments took place. Most of the incidents portrayed are seen through the eyes of the recruits to the youth corps of the Japanese army. The experiments themselves are presented in horrific detail at intervals throughout the film: sub-titles purporting to give the dates of the experiments and the names of the victims appear on screen.
The Board of Review was divided on this appeal. The guidelines for film classification prohibit 'unduly detailed and/or relished acts of extreme violence or cruelty'. That the violence in Man Behind the Sun is both detailed and extreme cannot be denied; whether it is 'unduly detailed', whether the acts can be said to be 'relished', is open to question. Man Behind the Sun is ostensibly, and at least in part, a documentary. The question therefore arises: what constitutes undue detail in a documentary about war and its atrocities?
The Board took the view that the word 'unduly' in the context allows- and was intended to allow-a certain flexibility in the interpretation of the guidelines, particularly in cases where the presentation of violent acts may be thought to be justified by the intentions of the film and the circumstances in which the act is committed. A majority concluded that in a film specifically concerned with documented instances of atrocities and inhumanity, depictions of extreme cruelty can be justified, and may indeed be necessary to the filmmaker's purposes. In considering Man Behind the Sun, the majority took account of the film's strong anti-war message and the reaction of most of the characters in the film to the experiments they are forced to witness. Far from suggesting 'relish', the film provokes-and depicts-a powerful sense of revulsion.
A minority of the Board of Review nevertheless agreed strongly with the majority of the Film Censorship Board that the incidents depicted are so gross in their nature and in their power to disturb that the film should be refused classification. Whether the incidents actually happened in the way the film depicts the Board is unable to say. On this point the majority were prepared to accept the filmmakers claims in good faith; enough is known of the historical background to these events to suggest that the portrayal of particular incidents is not exaggerated. The further point was made that it is not unusual for horror films to show the dissection and mutilation of living bodies, and if such depictions are acceptable in horror films as a form of entertainment, it is difficult to insist that they are less acceptable in films of historical events-even if the exact nature of those events is open to question, and the films themselves are of a commercial character. The line is not easy to draw; but a majority of the Board of Review was prepared in this case to give the benefit of the doubt to the applicant, and resolved to direct that Man Behind the Sun be registered and classified 'R' (for Restricted Audiences). 6 April 1989"
Geoff Gardner served as a member of the Films Board of Review, and later wrote submissions for distributors. In 1989, he prepared a submission for Yu Enterprises in THE MAN BEHIND THE SUN case.
Dirty Deeds Done Dirt Cheap
filmalert.blogspot.com, April 18, 2010
After my tenure was not renewed my services were availed of on a number of occasions to write submissions on behalf of distributors who thought a crummy classification decision had been made about their investments. One such was a distributor and exhibitor of Hong Kong movies who had paid a fair bit upfront to acquire the rights to a film called The Man Behind the Sun, an earnest, vulgar and extremely graphic account of the activities of the infamous Japanese medical experiments carried out on Chinese slaves during the 1939-45 War. One of the encyclopaedists has since described the film as a ‘revoltingly explicit dramatization of the war crimes Japanese soldiers and scientists perpetrated on their Chinese captives.’ Too true.
Notwithstanding the unedifying content, the distributor had paid his money upfront and didn’t have a chance of getting it back if the film were banned. The Appeals Board, which included my old friend the late Keith Connolly let the film through and the distributor did quite nicely out of it, screening it to a mostly Chinese clientele in a Chinatown cinema. The film didn’t travel well however. Electric Shadows Cinema in Canberra, noting this success, put it on to dismal business and yanked it after a week. About the only attention it attracted was from the RSPCA who rang to say that they heard there was a scene in it when live rats were set on fire. This is so said the cinema management, explaining that rats were used by the Japanese to develop anthrax spores. The RSPCA advised that they would be contacting the Canberra Times and organising a protest outside the cinema if the film were not taken off. The cinema management asked what time they proposed to be there so that he could ensure that the rest of the media were also alerted. The RSPCA then thought better of it and allowed the film to disappear quietly.
In March 1992, a company called 1st Call Video Rights had a 100m English dubbed version passed with an R18+ (Graphic re-enactments of war atrocities) rating.
Later in 1992 Eagle Entertainment released an uncut 100:37 (PAL) VHS as MEN BEHIND THE SUN. The tape was made available in a subtitled version, as well an English dub.
The cover played up the controversy surrounding the film by advertising it as:
The film they wanted to ban.....Uncut Version
In 1992, the sequel, LABORATORY OF THE DEVIL, was banned in Australia. It was finally passed in an uncut version in 2004.
T,F. Mous, the Director of MAN BEHIND THE SUN, had his previous feature LOST SOULS banned by the Australian Censors in 1981.
In February 1993, a 92m 35mm print of MAN BITES DOG was banned because of 'sexual violence'.
In March 1993, Newvision Film Distributors received an R18+ (High level violence) rating for a censored 91m version. It was print that played theatrically in Australia.
Here is how OFLC described the reasons for the ban in their 1992 to 1993 Annual Report.
"The Belgian film Man Bites Dog, was refused registration for one sequence of sexual violence, involving a graphic gang rape, considered indecent within the meaning of the Customs (Cinematograph Films) Regulations. After substantial editing of this sequence the film was given an 'R' classification with a consumer advice of 'high level violence'."
The VHS release from 21st Century Pictures ran 93:58 (NTSC). It was missing the following scene.
Before - Ben bursts into the room where we see a naked couple, who then scream and try and run away.
CENSORED AT 65:04 (107s missing) - Ben singing whilst holding a gun to the head of the man, whilst both the filmmakers rape the girl. Ben then takes over raping the girl, whilst asking the man what her name is. The next shot is of a slow pan over the disemboweled body of the woman.
After - As soon as she is out of shot then the Australian version starts again with the shot of the dead man sitting in the sink.
The World Movies channel has also screened the censored version. When MAN BITES DOG premiered on SBS, it was further censored to achieve an MA15+ rating.
Siren released MAN BITES DOG on DVD in 2001. It contained the same Australian censored version and ran 94:00 (NTSC). The missing rape scene should have taken place at 65:06.
Thanks to Brendan for the following information regarding the original theatrical release.
I saw MAN FROM DEEP RIVER and I can confirm that the print screening in Melbourne was totally uncut. I was quite surprised to see how explicit it was. When I saw it on VHS it was cut to ribbons. Sometimes back then, if a film was on in the city and at the drive-ins, the prints would differ ,with not all copies conforming to the authorised cut print.
I'm thinking that extra prints may have been sourced from outside Australia and sometimes one was lucky enough to get an uncut print of a film which was censored in Australia (I saw 3 different versions of ZOMBIE at the drive-ins and all contained more than the initial VHS release). So I'm not sure if the version of MAN FROM DEEP RIVER screening in Melbourne was uncut by accident or passed uncut by the censor. The rest in the series were all cut so I'm thinking I may have just struck luck in 1974!
In the early 80s, Video Classics released a heavily cut 86:52 version of MAN FROM DEEP RIVER on tape. This was reviewed by the Censorship Board in February 1984 and confirmed with an R-rating.
The uncut UK pre-cert released by Derann ran 89:25, which indicates that the Video Classics tape was missing 02:33 of footage.
In the late 2000s, bootleg copies of the uncut (93:06 NTSC) U.S. Shriek Show release appeared in stores and markets that sell cheap DVDs. Apart from an added R18+ rating logo, the cover was the same as the Shriek Show disc. Thanks to Glenn for the cover scan and time.
Thanks to Chris for this comparison.
I compared my old Video Classics tape of MAN FROM DEEP RIVER to the uncut version and spotted the following cuts.
Video Classics – 86:52 (PAL)
Uncut - 93:11 (NTSC) equivalent to 89:27 (PAL)
20:10 – Two natives have their tongues cut off.
37:52 – The first native stops having sex with the widow. He gets off, and she is shown lying naked before another native gets on top and starts having sex.
52:35 – Shot of the monkey having the top of its head sliced off. The brain eating remains.
60:52 to 61:23 – John gets on top of the naked Maraya and they kiss.
64:56 to 65:34 – Maraya strips naked, and gets on top of John. They start having sex.
66:02 – Some of the crocodile killing has been censored, although the VC version does show quite a lot. Umberto Lenzi reused this scene in his EATEN ALIVE (1980). I do not know if it was complete in Video Classic’s release of that film.
70:47 – All shots of the cannibals lying on top of the native girl and raping her.
72:31 – John watching on as the cannibals eat the body of the native girl. Again, Lenzi reused this scene for EATEN ALIVE (1980). I do not know if it was complete in Video Classic’s release of that film.
74:05 – John cutting off the cannibal’s tongue.
77:25 – Brief cut to the shot of the old native woman having her hand cut off.
87:13 – The goat having its throat cut. The VC tape shows the start of the scene.
It is odd that a couple of the sex scenes have been cut, as they really are quite tame. Equally strange is that the croc and goat killing has been shortened, but the mongoose vs. cobra (also edited into EATEN ALIVE), and the cockfight look intact.
CANNIBAL FEROX and EATEN ALIVE were two other Umberto Lenzi cannibal films that had censorship problems in Australia.
Daybill image courtesy of moviemem.com
In May 1981, House of Dare had a 2397.1-meter (87:37) print of MANIAC banned by the Censorship Board.
An appeal to the Review Board in July 1981 was unsuccessful.
A 2370.1-meter (86:38) censored version was submitted in November 1981, but was again banned.
A second censored version running 2346.9-meters (85:47) was eventually passed with an R-rating in April 1982.
The whole process took eleven months, in which time MANIAC lost 110 seconds of footage.
In 1983, a videotape of an uncut MANIAC was seized by customs. The reason given was that it was a prohibited import.
In July 1984, Video Classics had an 85m videotape passed with an R-rating. The true running time of the heavily censored tape was 82:11.
In April 1986, SCREAM GREATS VOLUME 1: TOM SAVINI was passed with an R-rating. The tape contained scenes from the MANIAC that the Censorship Board had banned only a few years earlier. The footage includes:
See our separate entry for SCREAM GREATS VOLUME 1: TOM SAVINI for further information on this title.
MANIAC was part of a package of fifteen tapes that were seized by the Australian Customs Service in October 1991. They were forwarded to the Office of Film and Literature Classification (OFLC) who found them to be:
"…prohibited pursuant to Regulation 4A(1A)(a)(iii) of the Customs (Prohibited Imports) Regulations"
See the Film Censorship Database entry for VIOLENT SHIT (1989) for more details about this case.
In 2003, a company called DVD Australia began importing U.S. Anchor Bay DVDs.
MANIAC was one of the titles that they picked up. This release was not submitted to the Classification Board.
In June 2004, Umbrella Entertainment submitted MANIAC to the Classification Board. It was passed with an R18+ (Strong violence) rating, and was released on DVD in March 2005. This was the theatrical version, with a running time of 87:51 (NTSC).
This was re-released by Umbrella Entertainment in February 2008. It was part of a so-called VIDEO NASTIES box set, which also included BASKET CASE, and THE LAST HOUSE ON THE LEFT.
The following is a comparison of the cut Video Classics tape against the uncut Umbrella Entertainment DVD.
It is not an exact check, so there may be some more small cuts that have been missed.
The time quoted refers to the point in the DVD where footage was censored from the tape release.
* Indicates that part or this entire scene is shown in SCREAM GREATS VOLUME 1: TOM SAVINI.
DEATH ON THE BEACH
The girl having her throat cut with a knife, and a shot of her bloody hand.
2:30 Approx *
The boy having a metal cord pulled tight around his throat until blood appears.
SCALPING OF THE HOOKER
16:00 Approx *
In the Video Classics tape we see the start of the scalping, but it cuts before showing the full thing.
29:15 Approx *
Tom Savini's head explosion is intact. However, the lingering shots of the aftermath (between shots of the girl's bloody face) is missing.
STABBING OF THE NURSE
47:15 Approx *
Shot of the knife exiting her chest.
DEATH OF RITA
Missing from the Video Classics tape are the shots of Frank moving the knife over her bare chest, pressing it down, and finally stabbing her.
82:00 Approx *
Frank's arm being chopped off. Shot of the decapitated corpse with blood coming from the neck. Frank having his head torn off.
In November 1977, a 2523.40-meter (91:59) print of MANNEQUIN was censored by 138.00-meters (05:02) for an R-rating.
The cuts were made to remove 'indecency and excessive violence'.
Warner Brothers were the applicant.
In April 1974, a 3000.67-meter (109:40) print of Shaw Brother’s MAN OF IRON was banned because of 'excessive violence'. It was re-submitted in July 1974 in a censored version that ran 2694.98-meters (98:10). However, this too was Refused Registration.
MAN OF IRON was finally passed with an R-rating in October 1974. The censor described the 2666.54-meters (97:28) print as the '2nd reconstructed version'. Oriental Pictures Company went on to release this theatrically. The twelve minutes of cuts removed the 'excessive violence'.
Thanks to Simon for this information.
Celestial Pictures released MAN OF IRON on DVD in 2006. This Hong Kong disc runs 94:34 (NTSC). However, the time is fifteen minutes shorter than the original submission to our Censorship Board. This discrepancy is odd, as all the Celestial discs claim to be 'fully restored from the original film'.
The fights and knife violence are non-stop, and there is plenty of that famous Shaw Brothers blood on display. It would be impossible to identify any one scene that would have been cut, as the violence never lets up.
MAN OF IRON is a sequel of sorts to THE BOXER FROM SHANTUNG (1972). The 125m version of which was passed by the OFLC with an R18+ (Frequent violence) rating in August 1989. It was released on tape by Roadshow Home video.
In December 1986, a 92m tape of MARDI GRAS MASSACRE on the Gold Key Video label was banned by the Censorship Board.
The reason given was violence, which was described as being:
The Gold Key Video tape was released, but is extremely rare.
Thanks to Chris for this review.
I viewed an uncut PAL version of MARDI GRAS MASSACRE that ran 91:54. It is very easy to spot which footage caused the Australian censors to ban it. The only violence takes place in three scenes at 09:30, 30:30, and 55:30. Each time it consists of a different naked prostitute chained to a table, her hand is then stabbed, her foot is slashed, and finally her heart is cut out. All three scenes are such near exact copies of one another that you wonder why they did not just repeat the previous footage.