Censorship News & Updates

Men in Black (1997) – M to PG cuts

July 19, 2024

Men in Black (1997) - Australian censorship

The convoluted censorship history of MEN IN BLACK (1997) is now back on the site. A failed appeal to drop the M to PG meant cuts to the theatrical and video releases.

DVD and Blu-ray releases restored the cut footage. However, the use of British prints meant they included BBFC language cuts.

Get in touch if you know if the 2012 Blu-ray and 2017 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray are finally uncut.

IARC – 2278 RC games

July 7, 2024

Six months into 2024, and already there have been 304 RC titles. This rate will see it eclipse the 2015 record of 575.

The vast majority of this year’s RC ratings are for gambling apps. Incorrectly submitted FORTNITE creative builds and basic games make up much of the rest.

Some higher-profile titles banned via the IARC Global Rating Tool are as follows.

On 28 June, Eastasiasoft saw their uncut version of MUGEN SOULS Z receive a third refusal. It replaced the two previous RC decisions. The original MUGEN SOULS received a second RC in March.

On 13 June. Kemco’s RAGING LOOP (2015) received a second RC. It received the same rating in 2021. The console release was M (Horror themes, violence and coarse language) in 2019.

On 6 June, ULTREÏA (2021) from RedDeerGames received another RC. The first came in 2021.

On 11 May, LDRLY Games had CHEECH AND CHONG BUD FARM (2020) reconfirmed as RC. It received the same rating back in 2020.

On 10 May, THE ORIGIN: BLIND MAID (2021) received an RC after being submitted by Waraní Studios. It was MA15+ (Strong horror themes) in 2022.

The most unusual decision came on 2 May with the awarding of an RC to Rockstar Games’ L.A. NOIRE (2011). It was the first time it had gone through the IARC Global Rating Tool. In 2011 and again in 2017, it received an MA15+ (Strong themes, violence, coarse language and nudity) for console release.

On a more positive note, as of 6 June POSTAL 4: NO REGERTS (2019) now holds an R18+ (High impact crude humour, violence and interactive drug use, blood and gore, simulated gambling). It follows Running With Scissors Studios submitting it for PC, PS4 and PS5. Two weeks later, it received the same rating, this time from the IARC Global Rating Tool. The R18+ replaces the March 2023 RC rating.

All 2278 RC titles, including many which should be G-rated, are in our Game IARC Censorship Timeline.

Kids (2023) & Free (2023) – Banned horror books

June 21, 2024

Kids (2023 & Free (2023) - by Matt Shaw

The final two books in Matt Shaw’s HUB trilogy are now banned in Australia.

Both KIDS and FREE were Refused Classification last month.

Classification Reform – Submissions end 16 May

April 12, 2024

Australian Coat of Arms

As we recently reported, Stage 1 reforms to the National Classification Scheme were introduced on 14 March. They were generally positive and allowed for more self-classification using approved tools.

Public consultation for the potentially more dangerous Stage 2 reforms has now opened. Views are sought on three issues.

1. Clarifying the scope and purpose of the scheme, including the types of content that should be subject to classification.

2. Ensuring the classification guidelines continue to be aligned with, and responsive to, evolving community standards, expectations and evidence.

3. Establishing fit-for-purpose governance and regulatory arrangements for the scheme, under a single national regulator responsible for media classification.

You can have your say and access the ‘Modernising Australia’s Classification Scheme – Stage 2 Reforms’ public consultation paper here.

A further tightening of the classification system is a possibility. Recently, pro-censorship types have been particularly vocal in calling for increased restrictions on anime and manga.

So, if you want your voice heard beyond social media, get your submissions in by 16 May.

April 23 – Update

We are taking a break for a couple of months, so no site updates during this time. Emails will still be answered, so continue sending any censorship information and site feedback.

Book of the Banned by Simon Miraudo

April 12, 2024

Book of the Banned by Simon Miraudo

Just a reminder that you should pick up a copy of Simon Miraudo’s history of Australian censorship. It includes interviews with Margaret Pomeranz, David Stratton and even the censors themselves.

If you like this site, then BOOK OF THE BANNED is for you.

Bumblebee (2018) – PG cuts & missing extra

April 12, 2024

Bumblebee (2018)

Back on the site is the confusing censorship history of BUMBLEBEE (2018). The Australian theatrical and physical media releases all ended up with cut PG ratings after being classified six times in less than four months.

In addition, the Blu-ray and two-disc 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray lost an outtake that included a bleeped utterance of ‘fuck’. It echoes the removal of the MISS FRITTER’S RACING SKOOOL (2017) extra from the CARS 3 (2017) Blu-ray. That case was slightly more explicit, as it was not fully bleeped.

Predator 2 (1990) – R to M cuts

March 29, 2024

Predator 2 (1990) - Australian DVD

The cuts to PREDATOR 2 (1990) are back on the site. The uncut version was R-rated before being censored for a more commercial M. Six months earlier, Hoyts Fox Columbia Tristar Films did the same thing with TOTAL RECALL (1990). However, in that case, they at least attempted an appeal to the Films Board of Review before making any modifications.

The M-rated cuts carried over to the first rental and sell-through VHS, after which the complete version became standard on video, DVD and Blu-ray.

PREDATOR (1987) was, most recently in 2013, M-rated uncut. A classification it held since its theatrical release. However, avoid Twentieth Century Fox’s first Australian DVD from 2001 that reportedly used a slightly censored master.

Stage 1 reforms begin

March 16, 2024

NCIS: Los Angeles: The Final Season (Season 14)

The ‘Classification (Publications, Films and Computer Games) Amendment (Industry Self-Classification and Other Measures) Bill 2023’ passed in September 2023. The passage of the bill through Parliament is here.

Last week saw the implementation of these Stage 1 reforms to the National Classification Scheme. Amongst other changes, they will allow for more industry self-classification using approved tools.

The first ‘Decision made by Broadcaster’ was on 14 March for NCIS: LOS ANGELES: THE FINAL SEASON. Technicolor Pty Ltd awarded it an M (Violence, Mature Theme).

The Aftermath (2019) – Sex & the M-rating

March 15, 2024

The Aftermath (2019 & Don't Look Now (1973)

Back on the site are details of the cuts that took the theatrical version of THE AFTERMATH from MA15+ to M. An uncut Blu-ray and DVD were released soon after.

The two censored sex scenes were relatively mild and previously would probably have had no issues. The Classification Board do appear to have become more restrictive towards sex in the M-rating. Their treatment of Nicolas Roeg’s DON’T LOOK NOW (1973) illustrates this. Even with the infamous sex scene between Julie Christie and Donald Sutherland, it held an M-rating for 46 years. Despite the May 1993 introduction of the MA rating, a DVD still received an M (Medium level sex scene, Medium level violence) in January 2003. However, in July 2019, the submission of a Blu-ray increased it to MA15+ (Strong sex scene). The rating and consumer advice now put it on the same level as the uncut version of THE AFTERMATH.

In the UK, it took until 2001 for the BBFC to drop DON’T LOOK NOW from 18 to 15. While in New Zealand, it looks censored for an R16. For some reason, the Australian theatrical M-rating is missing from the National Classification Database and Government Gazette.

The Howling (1981) – Cut for M-rating?

March 8, 2024

The Howling (1981) & Halloween (1978) - Drive-in Double Bill

Recently, we have been posting some movie trailers on YouTube. The channel is a way of sharing off-air TV spots and is not censorship-related. We have still been taking the opportunity to include some classification information about the movies. Research for the latest posting of a 1981 Skyline drive-in double-bill for THE HOWLING (1981) and HALLOWEEN (1978) has thrown up a possible case of precuts.

Joe Dante’s THE HOWLING (1981) was dropped from R to M by the Films Board of Review with a runtime indicating modifications before submission. Classifications that followed soon after increased it back to R. A new entry is on our Unconfirmed Censorship page. Get in touch if you have any information.

Meanwhile, subscribe to our YouTube channel for many more upcoming rare movie TV spots. Some previous uploads are censorship related. FIRST BLOOD (1982) and HOT DOG… THE MOVIE (1983) were both successfully appealed and dropped from R to M. A similar PORKY’S (1981) appeal failed, and  DEATH WISH 2 (1982) appeared in a heavily cut version after initially being banned.

Sympathy Kiss (2024) – Banned

March 2, 2024

Sympathy Kiss (2024)

The Japanese anime game SYMPATHY KISS (2024) has been Refused Classification. The 27 February Australian release has now been abandoned.

The decision was made by the Classification Board and not via the automated International Age Rating Coalition (IARC) tool.

Reef Entertainment, the applicant, had a similar decision made against MARY SKELTER FINALE (2021).

Japanese games are having more issues in Australia. Titles banned since 2016 include DEATHSMILES I・II (2021)SONG OF MEMORIES (2018), OMEGA LABYRINTH Z (2017), MEIQ: LABYRINTH OF DEATH (2015) and VALKYRIE DRIVE BHIKKHUNI (2015).

March 6 – Update

On 4 March, a second Refused Classification appeared in the National Classification Database. It was an automated International Age Rating Coalition (IARC) tool decision.

March 13 – Update

Full reasons for the Refused Classification decision have now been added. The Classification Board banned it due to ‘implied sexual violence that was visually depicted’.

King of Thieves (2018) – Precut for M

March 1, 2024

King of Thieves (2018)

Back on the site are details of the five audio cuts made to KING OF THIEVES (2018). StudioCanal knew the ‘strong language’ would result in an MA15+ and overdubbed it before submission.

2018 saw this happen to three other titles. CAN YOU EVER FORGIVE ME? (2018), IDEAL HOME (2018) and LADY BIRD (2017) were all precut for the same ‘strong language’ to obtain an M-rating.

IDEAL HOME (2018) remains the only one of the four titles where the theatrical cuts carried over to DVD and Blu-ray.

My Cousin Rachel (2017) – M to PG cuts

February 24, 2024

My Cousin Rachel (2017)

The cuts to MY COUSIN RACHEL (2017) are back on the site. With a PG in mind, Twentieth Century Fox censored it before submission but still received an M after leaving a single word swear word intact. A family-friendly PG came after a second submission.

It echoes Universal’s problems securing an M-rating for LADY BIRD (2017). Predicting a Classification Board decision by precutting a film is never easy.

Cheaper by the Dozen 2 (2005) – PG to G

February 16, 2024

Cheaper by the Dozen 2 (2005)

The database now has details of the audio censorship made to CHEAPER BY THE DOZEN 2 (2005). The first film received a G-rating, but the sequel had to remove the word ‘pissed’ to escape a PG.

A similar thing happened to SMALLFOOT (2018), which dropped the word ‘crap’.

Birth (2004) & The Brown Bunny (2003)

February 9, 2024

Birth (2004) & The Brown Bunny (2003)

Back on the site are details of the scare campaign against Nicole Kidman’s BIRTH (2004). An MA15+ theatrical and DVD release continued despite attempts to get it Refused Classification.

The latter years of the Howard government saw classification challenges to a number of titles. IRREVERSIBLE (2002), ANATOMY OF HELL (2004) and MYSTERIOUS SKIN (2004) all failed.

A minor success was having Michael Winterbottom’s 9 SONGS (2004) increased back from R to X in South Australia, effectively banning it from sale or hire within the state.

Also back on the site is the push to have Vincent Gallo’s THE BROWN BUNNY (2003) similarly rerated. By the time of this challenge, it was not unusual to see actual sex in R18+ films following the Review Board’s passing of ROMANCE (1999).

Interestingly, the usually obliging Michael Atkinson refused to push for reviews of either BIRTH (2004) or THE BROWN BUNNY (2003).

Total Recall (1990) – M & R cuts

January 19, 2024

Total Recall (1990)

Paul Verhoeven’s TOTAL RECALL (1990) is back on the site. Before the May 1993 introduction of the MA, distributors often attempted to lower a rating from R to M. If an appeal failed, then cuts would follow.

In this case, Verhoeven initially refused to allow any modifications but eventually relented. A censored M-rated version played theatrically before both appeared on VHS. It is now MA15+ uncut.

Grotto (2021) – IARC RC

January 19, 2024

Grotto (2021)

Digerati Distribution’s GROTTO (2021) has been Refused Classification under the automated IARC system. The forthcoming Nintendo Switch port appears to have caused it to be rated.

Already, by mid-January, there are 24 RC titles for the year. The majority are gambling and Fortnite-related. All 2020 RC titles are in our Game IARC Censorship Timeline.

January 18, 2024 – Update

The 13 January RC decision has just been replaced by one made last Friday. Presumably, this was a failed attempt to get an IARC rating.

The Krays (1990) – R to M cuts

January 13, 2024

The Krays (1990)

The censorship history of Peter Medak’s THE KRAYS (1990) is back on the site. Palace made cuts to ensure an M-rated theatrical run. Both M and R versions later appeared on VHS.

Does anyone know if the original rental VHS came with an R-rating? Judging from the copies available on eBay, all ‘blood pack’ tapes are M-rated.

Art & Festival Censorship

January 5, 2024

The Shadowers (2004) & Funniest of Tropfest 2009 (2009)

Back on the site are details of Monika Tichacek’s THE SHADOWERS (2004). Despite warnings from the OFLC, this video art was never submitted for classification.

Taking more notice of the censor was the Melbourne International Comedy Festival. In 2010, four short films from the FUNNIEST OF TROPFEST 2009 did not screen after being refused exemptions.

Sensitive New Age Killer (2000) – MA cuts

December 30, 2023

Sensitive New Age Killer (2000)

Back on the site are the details of the censorship to Marks Savage’s SENSITIVE NEW AGE KILLER (2000). Originally passed uncut with an R-rating, then modified for an MA theatrical, VHS and DVD release.

Like several Australian titles we have uploaded over the past few weeks, the complete version appears unavailable. Get in touch if you know of any uncut releases.