In May 1987, a Yu Enterprises had a 71m 35mm print of VAMP banned. A censored 68m version was passed with an R-rating in August 1987.
In 1986 to 1987, Yu Enterprises had similar problems with LECHEROUS LOVER (198?), SADISTIC WHORE (198?), SEXY SPIRIT (198?) and MADAM X (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 June 1972, a 7918-feet (88:13) print of Hammer’s VAMPIRE CIRCUS was banned because of 'excessive violence'. It was re-submitted in September 1972 in a censored version that ran 2338-meters (85:27). This too was Refused Registration.
It was finally passed with an R-rating in February 1973. The censor described the 2353.65-meter (86:02) print as a 'new version'. 20th Century Fox went on to release it theatrically.
VAMPIRE CIRCUS was one of three Hammer films that were banned by the Australian Censorship Board during the first year of the R-rating. The other titles were HANDS OF THE RIPPER (1971) and DEMONS OF THE MIND (1972).
In June 1985, an 83m (PAL) tape of VAMPIRE CIRCUS was passed with an R-rating. Thorn EMI Screen Entertainment was the applicant. We do not believe this tape was released.
In 2005, MRA Entertainment released VAMPIRE CIRCUS on DVD. The film ran 83:18 (PAL), and was part of a HAMMER HORROR COLLECTION box set that also included HANDS OF THE RIPPER (1971) and TWINS OF EVIL (1971).
One sheet image courtesy of moviemem.com
Thanks to Simon for this information.
The MRA Entertainment DVD of VAMPIRE CIRCUS runs 83:18 (PAL), which I believe is the same as the UK Carlton Visual Entertainment disc. This is reportedly the British theatrical version.
Scenes that may have contributed to the Australian ban include, the throat cutting (06:00), the whipping of Anna (09:30), the panther attack on the family (42:00), the mutilated bodies of the panther’s victims (44:00), and Hauser’s burnt face (75:30). Many of these scenes reportedly had problems with the British censor, but most were eventually reinstated. The exact censorship of the BBFC approved version is still somewhat unclear.
I have read about a shot that should appear in the pre-credits sequence where a man gets stabbed in the eye with a dagger. I could see no such footage in the MRA disc. It would be nice to know if the original 1972 submission to the Australian Censorship Board was the British theatrical version, or some alternative print.
VAMPIRE CIRCUS has frequently played late at night on ABC TV.
VASE DE NOCES was programmed as part of the 1975 Perth International Film Festival. However, pressure from the West Australian Government saw the film submitted for classification.
In August 1975, the Censorship Board banned the 888-meter (81:05) 16mm print for reasons of ‘indecency’.
The Perth Film Festival immediately appealed to the Film Board of Review, and in August 1975, the ban was overturned. VASE DE NOCES was not awarded an R-rating, but was instead passed with the following condition.
Decision reviewed: Appeal against rejection by the Film Censorship
Decision of the Review Board: Register film for screening at the 1975 Perth Film Festival, subject to Film Festival conditions.
In the documentary OF PIGS AND MEN (2009), Thierry Zéno explained the censorship problems his film had in Australia. He and the actor screenwriter Dominique Garny both travelled to Perth to present the film.
Thanks to Simon for transcribing these comments.
We had a much more direct censorship in Australia. When Dominique and I arrived at the airport, distributor awaited us in a desperate mood. He told us that the movie was banned, and we were allowed to screen it only that day at the festival because the censorship forbade it.
From the airport, we had to drive to the theatre. We had arrived a few hours before the screening, and I saw that surrounding the theatre there were traffic jams and a demonstration. So I said to the distributor:
"We're out of luck, there's a demonstration on the day of our screening."
He replied, "Look at their posters, they are against the movie."
The archbishop had asked his people to demonstrate against the movie. After the screening, I had to face the censorship commission to defend my film. They were satisfied about my words because they said:
"Alright, the film may be released in Australia, but it'll be necessary to insert a title card at the beginning of the movie with a resume of your speech, explaining its intentions."
I have memories of what happened after the movie.
The following excerpt looks at the controversy that surrounded VASE DE NOCES in Australia. It is taken from Ina Bertrand's book FILM CENSORSHIP IN AUSTRALIA, published in 1978 by the University of Queensland Press.
While Queensland was acquiring a reputation as the most conservative state in the Commonwealth, the Western Australian government was becoming nervous of the growing reputation of the Perth Film Festival for being even more daring in its choice of films than larger festivals in the eastern states.
In 1975 the government requested the commonwealth censors, in spite of the festival's recognized censorship privileges, to view the festival entry Wedding Trough. The board banned the film, but the appeal was upheld after festival chairman David Roe and the film's director Thierry Zeno presented their case to the Film Board of Review.
The government was disturbed that it could do nothing about this decision, and so the following year the festival was informed that if it continued with plans to import Oshima's Empire of the Senses the Western Australian government would insist on the commonwealth censors viewing every festival film. This would have so delayed and hampered the festival that it was considered not worth the risk. The film was not shown in Perth, though it has since been shown without incident at both Melbourne and Sydney film festivals.
Meanwhile the Western Australian government introduced a proviso, like that still maintained in South Australia, that the minister retains final control over censorship decisions. It remains to be seen whether this power will be actively implemented, or kept in reserve as it is in South Australia.
In December 1976, the Australian Film Institute in Sydney had an 893-meter (81:33) print of VASE DE NOCES Refused Registration.
Their appeal to the Film Board of Review in April 1977 was unsuccessful.
The following article from CINEMA PAPERS shows VASE DE NOCES contributed to the demise of the Perth International Film Festival.
Perth Fest Nixed
Cinema Papers: July 1977
The recent demise of the Perth Film Festival has proved a sad, though perhaps inevitable, development, and could foreshadow similar problems for the world's small, independent festivals.
Bursting onto the festival scene in 1972, it quickly established itself as a highly innovative event which vigorously promoted the independent film. Initially set up by David Roe (who later joined the Australian Film Institute as its director), it was run for the past three years by Sylvie Le Clezio, with Roe as chairman.
The ability of the organisers to piece together an exciting program was evidenced in their securing the world premiere of Louis Malles Black Moon in 1975; the screening of A Woman Under the Influence, which John Cassavetes gave Perth after New York but denied Cannes; and the championing of Werner Herzog in Australia. Other Perth firsts included Fears Eats the Soul (Fassbinder), La Maman et la Putain (Eustache), Pastoral Hide and Seek (Terayama) , Grey Gardens (Mayles Brothers), Serail (de Grigorio), Souvenirs D'en France (Technine), and Death of a Director of a Flea Circus (Koerfer)
It was, moreover, the only festival in Australia to gain admission to the International Federation of Independent Film Festivals, along with the Directors' Fortnight’ at Cannes, the Edinburgh Film Festival and the Rotterdam Film International.
Not at first endeared to the more established festivals, Perth made noises about what it called the lack of purpose and their poor record in helping films find distribution And while Perth's programs were too specialist to clash with the other festivals, there existed an apparent lack of co-operation. However, this eventually changed and the Sydney and Melbourne festivals leapt quickly to Perth's defence when it ran into censorship trouble in two consecutive years.
In 1975, Perth successfully appealed against a ban on the Belgian entry, Vase de Noces, which the Western Australian government pressured the Commonwealth Censor into refusing registration, in a move that pre-empted the agreement guaranteeing freedom of censorship for festivals.
Not to be outdone, in 1976 the W.A. authorities threatened Perth with the physically impossible burden of having to submit every entry to the censor if it persisted in its intention of importing Nagasi Oshima's Empire of the Senses. The festival withdrew the film, only to see it shown without any fuss at this years Melbourne and Sydney festivals.
The Perth Festival was forced into demise by its financial position, a state of affairs not helped by an unsympathetic Stale government which has said that it doesn't consider Perth's programming sufficiently middle-of-the-road. If it is, the government says, it will make money and won't need to be subsidized anyway.
Although there are rumours that the festival may move interstate, both Le Clezio and Roe have declined to comment In the meantime, the numerous "letters to the editor" printed in The West Australian suggest a growing awareness of what has happened, though the chances of the organisers consenting to the revival of the festival - in Perth at least - must be counted as slim.
Thanks to Simon for this review.
Despite what you have been told, VASE DE NOCES is not the sickest film ever made. It is a black and white art film, shot with one actor, and no dialog. A sequence runs from 22:30 to 23:30 where the farmer has sex with the pig. The other controversial moment is the shit eating at 71:00. Both scenes are obviously not real.
In the documentary, OF PIGS AND MEN (2009), Thierry Zéno says.
"When people reject the movie, I don't think it's because of the zoophilia. I think it's shot with lots of discretion. I think it's the second half with the coprophagy scenes that disturbs the viewers."
I was more disturbed by the hanging bodies of the three piglets. However, in OF PIGS AND MEN (2009), Thierry Zéno described that the shot was achieved by using already dead piglets. He also says it is a questions that he has been asked many times.
I first heard about VASE DE NOCES in the mid-80s, when Rick Sullivan featured a shot of the farmer having sex with the pig on the cover of GORE GAZETTE #68. Was this the most outrageous horror fanzine cover ever! The film was mentioned as it was being released in New York in August 1984 by New Line Cinema. The title had been changed to the more exploitative THE PIG FUCKING MOVIE. I do not know if it had previously been known under this name, or if New Line were responsible. It was certainly a more 42nd Street friendly title.
The 2009 German Camera Obscura DVD runs 78:52 (PAL). It comes with the aforementioned documentary as an extra.
Peacock Films had an 88m videotape of VENDETTA banned in June 1996.
Around 2001, Flashback Home Entertainment released VENDETTA on DVD in Australia. This disc ran 85:11, three minutes shorter than the tape that was banned in 1996. This print does not appear to contain anything that would offend the censors, which is just as well as the R18+ rating on the cover would appear to be fake.
In May 1972, a 9356-feet (103:57) print of VENGEANCE was banned because of 'excessive violence'.
The following month, a censored 8245-feet (91:37) print lost a further 306-foot (03:23) before being rated M.
M.C.A Australia was the applicant.
Review by Simon
It appears in early-70s Australia that film distributors preferred M-ratings for their martial arts titles. This would explain why over 15 minutes was removed from VENGEANCE after it was banned. An R-rating would have required substantially fewer cuts.
Intercontinental Video’s Hong Kong DVD looks uncut and runs 97:50. The violence is certainly brutal, with stabbings, eye gouging, axe fights, and lots of Shaw Brother’s blood. It would be hard to identify all the scenes that were censored for an M-rating, as the violence does not let up. However, the opening fight where Guan Yulou is murdered (the inspiration for the ‘House of the Blue Leaves’ scene in KILL BILL: VOl. 1), and the final revenge of his brother Xialou are particularly graphic, and would have no doubt contributed to the initial ban.
Despite being uncut, Intercontinental Video’s DVD runs several minutes shorter than the version originally submitted to the Censorship Board. Thanks to Mike T. for pointing out the reason why.
...when Celestial bought the Shaw library and commissioned the Shaw Restoration Centre to remaster the titles that were salvageable out of the 760 they owned, the Hong Kong DVD editions all ended up being PAL to NTSC standards conversions. Hence the anomalies in runtimes (i.e.: PAL’s 4% speed-up). Thereby VENGEANCE should approximate out at 102m for the Hong Kong DVD…had they done a proper NTSC transfer from their Hi-Def master.
Although the majority of titles were mastered in 1080p HD, it looks like home video was an afterthought for Celestial as the only logical thing I can think of for SD PAL video masters would be broadcast. The Shaw library was initially commissioned as content for a dedicated "classics" pay TV service – and the TV standard throughout Southeast Asia (Hong Kong, Malaysia, Singapore et al) is PAL.
In June 1974, a 2023.87-meter (73:45) print of VICE SQUAD WOMEN was censored by 56:38-meters (02:03) for an R-rating. The reason for the cuts was 'indecency'.
House of Dare was the applicant.
This Japanese Hentai Box set from NuTech Digital contained episodes one and two of the series.
There is a confirmed customs confiscation of the DVD Box Set from 2002. Reasons given were:
"The goods are considered by the Office of Film and Literature Classification to fall within Sub Regulation 4A1(d) of the Customs (Prohibited Imports) Regulations."
In 1986, Outland Promotions had an 85m videotape banned because of 'gratuitous sexual violence'. It was submitted under its original title of VIOLATED.
In October 1986, a censored 82:09 videotape was passed with an R-rating. This time the title had been changed from VIOLATED to VICTIMIZED. We suspect this was done to avoid confusion with Janet Greek's VIOLATED, which was also banned and censored at the same time.
The following comparison is between the censored Australian PAL Vestron Video and the uncut American NTSC Vestron Video.
The quoted time that the censorship occurs refers to the Australian tape; the length of the cut refers to the American tape.
Vestron Video (Aus) 82:09 (PAL)
Vestron Video (USA) 87:52 (NTSC)
Approximate length of cuts in PAL is 125s.
LIZ GRANT'S RAPE
Before - Frank says to Liz: "You better get your arse back on the bed honey.....Now", he then throws her onto the bed.
CENSORED AT 03:57 (51s NTSC missing) - Frank removing Liz's clothes and then raping her.
After - Liz being comforted by Jack's wife.
LISA ROBB'S RAPE
Before - Lisa being pushed to the bed.
CENSORED AT 23:10 (25s NTSC missing) - Lisa being stripped naked and tied to the bed. Note that a picture from this scene is shown on the back of the video cover.
After/Before - Shot of Jack taking off his coat and saying: "Relax little girl you'll enjoy it, me and Marilyn have made a lot of girls very happy"
CENSORED AT 23:29 (30s NTSC missing) - He then climbs on top of her as Marilyn looks on.
After - Shot of Frank looking on.
LISA'S FIRST FLASHBACK
Before - Lisa says to her brother, "It's going to be better now, now you go and do your homework"
CENSORED AT 36:51 (6s NTSC missing) - Flashback to Lisa having her clothes torn off.
After/Before - Topless shot of Lisa, then a shot of Jack. Marilyn looks on.
CENSORED AT 36:55 (4s NTSC missing) - Side view of Jack climbing on top of Lisa.
After - Lisa picking up the phone.
LISA'S SECOND FLASHBACK
Before - Lisa standing alone in a room
CENSORED AT 49:57 (5s NTSC missing) - Repeat shot of her being stripped naked.
After/Before - Shot of Jack, Marilyn and Frank.
CENSORED AT 49:59 (9s NTSC missing) - Side view of Jack on top of Lisa.
After - Lisa in room. The Detective comes in and says, "Hey kid, are you on this planet"
In August 1982, an 88m videotape of LOS VIOLADORES DEL AMANECER was banned because of 'sexual violence'.
Cataluna Productions was the applicant.
Review by Joe
It would be interesting to know some more information about Cataluna Productions, and how they came to submit this tape. As far as I know, LOS VIOLADORES DEL AMANECER (aka THE DAWN RAPISTS) was never dubbed into English. This indicates that they were probably an ethnic video distributor who serviced the Spanish community. The copy I viewed came from a Spanish TV screening, ran 86:43, and appeared to be complete.
It is very easy to see how this was banned in Australia. The rapes are very prolonged, taking up around 23-minutes of plot, and outdo films such as I SPIT ON YOUR GRAVE (1978), NIGHT TRAIN MURDERS (1975), and THE LAST HOUSE ON THE LEFT (1972). The four scenes that would have caused the tape to be banned are as follows.
Assault #1: Maria
8:00 to 14:15 - The gang kidnap Maria from the street and take her to a house. There she is stripped, beaten with a belt, and raped.
Assault #2: Dana
33:00 to 42:00 – The gang kidnap Dana from the street and take her to waste ground. There she is stripped, bound and raped. A passer-by eventually alerts the police who chase the rapists away. This is the most prolonged and distasteful of the attacks, and concludes with Dana crying on the ground, with blood coming from between her legs. The film ends with a pregnant Dana committing suicide because she was not allowed an abortion.
Assault #3: Elisa
52:00 to 57:30 – The gang kidnap Elisa from the street and take her to waste ground. There she is stripped and raped. This time, a (real) pregnant woman called Lagarta accompanies the group, and joins in the assault of Elisa.
At 71:00, the police take Rafi back to the spot where Eilisa's body was found. There he has flashbacks to the rape, and visions of her naked body.
Assault #4: The black woman
75:00 to 77:00 – A woman is bundled into a stairwell by the gang, who strip and rape her. Maria (victim #1) and her father happen to be walking by, and save her by stabbing one of the rapists.
In 1986, an 86m videotape of VIOLATED banned because of 'gratuitous sexual violence'. Showcase Video censored it down to 84m and it was passed with an R-rating in February 1986.
The actual runtime of Showcase Video's VIOLATED was 79:27.
Showcase Video (Australia) Cut - 79:27 (PAL)
ERA Home Video VCD (Hong Kong) Uncut - 85:18 (NTSC) = 81:49 (PAL)
RAPE OF JOAN
Before - Joan is held by two of her attackers, while the third says to her "You fucking bitch". He then punches her in the stomach, though it cuts before the blow is shown.
CENSORED at 04:23 - (120s NTSC missing) The blow to Joan's stomach is shown, before they drag her out of the kitchen and into another room. Two of them hold her down whilst Eddie rapes her.
After - Shot of the face of Dr Lewis as he calls Joan's name.
RAPE OF DR LEWIS'S SISTER
Before - Jack says to Dr Lewis's sister "You and Jack are going to have a little fun". He then drags her away.
CENSORED at 22:44: (25s NTSC missing) Jack pushes the girl to the ground. She says, "Please don't do that to me mister" He then rapes her.
After - Shot of Dr Lewis looking for her sister.
In July 1997, Polygram Video had a 55m videotape of VIOLENCE JACK: EVIL TOWN Refused Classification by the OFLC.
This is the first episode in a three part series. Both VIOLENCE JACK: SLUMKING and VIOLENCE JACK: HELL'S WIND were passed with R18+ (Medium level violence) ratings. However, following the banning of VIOLENCE JACK: EVIL TOWN, they were never released in Australia.
In New Zealand, Manga Video released all three parts of VIOLENCE JACK on one tape. The cover of the video mentioned that it was banned in Australia.
In the UK, Manga Video removed 03:55 of footage before submitting it to the British censors. They then removed another 30s, before awarding an 18-rating to a 55:27 version.
The print that the OFLC banned in 1997 ran 55m, so it would appear that Polygram Video had submitted a censored version, possibly the same as the British tape.
Cheap video dupes of the VIOLENCE JACK series began to appear in Australia around 2000. All had the Manga Video label, and fake R18+ (High Level Violence) ratings. The VIOLENCE JACK: EVIL TOWN episode ran 55:15.
Movie-censorship has details of what was removed from the British tape.
VIOLENT SHIT 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"
There is a report of Australian customs seizing a copy of VIOLENT SHIT: INFANTRY OF DOOM in 2002.
In April 1995, the OFLC banned a 77m videotape of VIRGIN AMONG THE LIVING DEAD. Siren Entertainment was the applicant.
Here is what the OFLC had to say about the film on viewing it in 1995.
OFLC Report sent to the applicant.
In the board's opinion the film warrants refused for one scene of gratuitous sexual violence.
At 65 minutes Christiana is attacked by her relatives, a woman and two men. They strip her and hold her down, standing on her arms and legs. One of the men pulls his trousers down with visuals of his naked buttocks as he lays on top of her naked body. He implicitly rapes her, thrusting for a prolonged period while she cries out "No, no ,no" shown in medium range with close up visuals of her hands clenching and unclenching. There is in the board's opinion no contextual justification for this scene. It is prolonged and detailed and as such warrants Refusal.
In the Boards opinion the film contains other less lengthy and detailed depictions of violence and gratuitous female nudity which could be accommodated at R level."
Siren Entertainment censored VIRGIN AMONG THE LIVING DEAD down from 77m to 75:17 and were awarded an R18+ (Medium level violence, Nudity) rating in August 1995. Siren released it on tape as part of their Redemption Video label.
The Redemption video label was launched in the UK in 1993, and immediately ran into problems with the British censors. So in 1995 they launched in Holland and Australia (through Siren) with the promise that the films could now be seen uncut in the free world. This turned out to be true for Holland, but unfortunately not for us.
The combination of violence and real sex saw THE FEMALE VAMPIRE banned in 1995. No censored print was ever submitted.
TOMBS OF THE BLIND DEAD was also banned, but like VIRGIN AMONG THE LIVING DEAD, it was censored down for an R18+ rating.
In the late 90s, VIRGIN AMONG THE LIVING DEAD screened on SBS as part of their Saturday night cult movie show. This was an alternative cut of the film that featured zombie footage shot by Jean Rollin.
In February 1983, a 2002.39-meter (72:59) print of THE VIRGIN AND THE LOVER
was censored by 65.00-meters (02:22) for an R-rating. The cuts were made to
remove sex, which was found to be:
Following the censorship, it was described as being:
Regent Trading Enterprises was the applicant.
In January 1985, a 92m tape was passed with an R-rating. It was awarded because for the same reasons as the censored February 1983 classification. Video Classics released it on their Movies at Midnight label.
Leisuremail had a 91m tape was awarded with an X18+ (Contains sexually
explicit material) in June 1989. The sex was now found to be Frequency:
In June 1981, a 2231.04-meter (81:19) was censored by 26.40-meters (00:57)
for an R-rating. The cuts were made to remove sex, which was found to be:
Following the censorship, it was described as being:
Filmways Distributors was the applicant.
Video Classics released VIRGINS ON THE RUN on their Filmways Home Video sub-label. This 85m tape was passed with an R-rating in February 1984.
In August 1975, a 297.00-meter (10:49) print of VOYEUR was banned because of 'indecency'. Regent Trading Enterprises were the applicant.
VOYEUR can be found as an extra on Something Weird's DVD releases of PLEASE DON’T EAT MY MOTHER (1973).