American Films of the 1980s

1980s American movies that have been cut or banned in Australia.

Scream for Vengeance

Directed by Bob Bliss / 1980 / USA / IMDb

In July 1982, a 2558.00-meter (93:14) print of SCREAM FOR VENGEANCE banned due to violence, which was said to be:
Frequency: Infrequent
Explicitness/Intensity: High
Purpose: Gratuitous

…and for:
Other: Sexual Violence

Video Classics was the applicant.

Cut on video

In May 1984, an 87:21 tape was passed with an R-rating. It was awarded for violence, which was described as being:
Frequency: Frequent
Explicitness/Intensity: Medium
Purpose: Gratuitous

Scream for Vengeance (1980) - VHS videotape 1
VHS – Video Classics

This censored version was released by Video Classics.

Nearly 2-minutes of cuts

Matt reports.
Intervision (uk) – VHS – 89:19 (PAL)
Video Classics (au) – VHS – 87:21 (PAL)

Luke abuses Shari
Before – Luke (Bob Elliott) kneels in front of Shari (Susie Gardner) and says, ‘Easy, easy, take it easy’.
Censored at 17:52 by 00:12 – He fondles her breasts and says ‘You’ve got one hell of a body for a sixteen-year-old’.
After/Before – Shot of Luke from behind Shari. As he pulls her blouse from her shoulder, he says, ‘Hey yeah, soft!’, he continues with ‘Let’s take a look here and see what’s happening’.
Censored at 18:22 by 00:22 – Luke uses the knife to cut off her bra and says ‘sweet sixteen, never been touched’.
After – Shot of Del (Jane McMahon) struggling in her chair.

Luke kills Del Lomas
Before – Luke picks himself up off the floor and shouts ‘You bitch!’ at Del. He slices her throat and stabs her once.
Censored at 19:08 by 00:02 – Luke stabs Del a further two times.
After/Before – Shari faints.
Censored at 19:10 by 00:05 – Luke stabs Del a further six times.
After – Continuation of the above scene. Luke is shown stabbing Del twice.
Before – Brief shot of Del with her throat cut.
Censored at 19:20 by 00:03 – Longer shot of Del with her throat cut.
After – Luke standing with a knife.

The body of Tony Lomas
Before – Shot of Tony’s (Leonard Belove) body lying on the floor.
Censored at 26:03 by 00:22 – Much longer shot of the body as the camera moves away.
After – The thieves’ car driving away into the distance.

Luke kills Shari Lomas
Before – Shari sitting naked on the sofa. Luke looks over to Del’s body. Brief shot of her with a cut-throat.
Censored at 27:46 by 00:03 – Longer shot of Del’s body.
After/Before – Luke looks over to Shari. He raises his gun and shoots.
Censored at 27:55 by 00:30 – Shari’s body is twice hit by the bullets, before falling to the floor.
After – Luke leaving the house.

Mark kills Luke
Before – Mark (Nicholas Jacquez) stabbing Luke in the chest with a pitchfork, causing him to drop to the ground.
Censored at 81:13 by 00:16 – Luke slowly sliding down the wall, with the pitchfork in his chest. He eventually remains still.
After – Jenny (Sally Lockett) wakes up and looks over at the body of Luke.

The Order

Directed by Nalo Manfredini / 1981 / USA / IMDb

THE ORDER is a short film that was programmed to play in June 1982 at the Melbourne Film Festival.

The synopsis provided by the Melbourne Film Festival described it as ‘…a parody of that film genre whose purpose is the depiction of sexual violence upon captive women’ However, ‘…contrary to the films it satirizes, results in “order out of chaos”, as the victim rises above her precarious situation’.

Presumably alerted by the synopsis, the Chief Censor, Janet Strickland, called it in for viewing.

It was later released and went on to screen as planned.

For further information regarding this case, see PIXOTE (1981) in the Film Censorship Database No. 1.

Deadly Sunday

Directed by Donald M. Jones / 1982 / USA / IMDb

In November 1984, an 88-minute tape of DEADLY SUNDAY was banned due to ‘explicit and gratuitous sexual violence’.

C. White was the applicant.

Deadly Sunday (1982) - VHS videotape 1
VHS – Platinum Video

Platinum Video released it with an M-rating on the cover. The National Classification Database contains no record of this classification.

The problem scene

Matt reports.
Platinum Video (au) – VHS – 81:02
This tape did not appear to be cut, despite being seven minutes shorter than the refused version. This only scene of ‘sexual violence’ is as follows.

35:00. – Gil (Dennis Ely) threatens Patty (Gyl Roland) with a gun and a knife. He forces her to strip, before attempting to rape her. The scene ends with Gil threatening to kill himself.

Fear City

Directed by Abel Ferrara / 1984 / USA / IMDb

In January 1985, a 2642.00-meter (96:18) print of FEAR CITY was Refused Registration.

Seven Keys was the applicant.

Censored VHS

In November 1985, a 92:24 (PAL) tape was passed with an R-rating.

Fear City (1984) - VHS videotape 1
VHS – Thorn EMI

It was released by Thorn EMI Screen Entertainment. Although it was not listed as such, this version appears to be slightly censored.

More VHS

FEAR CITY received two more tape releases, one from Warner Home Video and the other from Polygram Video.

The latter 92-minute tape was passed with an MA (High level violence) rating in November 1994.

Fear City (1984) - VHS videotape 2
VHS – Polygram Video

The Chopping List has more details regarding these releases. Both are reportedly different to the Thorn EMI Screen Entertainment tape.

Censored DVD premiere

In 2007, MRA Entertainment released FEAR CITY as part of an Abel Ferrara DVD double-bill with ‘R XMAS (2001).

Minus the Castle Hill Productions introduction, it ran 90:50 and was the American R-rated version.

Fear City (1984) - DVD cover 1
DVD – MRA Entertainment

It was missing both of the lesbian kisses between Leila (Rae Dawn Chong) and Loretta (Melanie Griffith) that was present on the Thorn EMI VHS.

Movie-Censorship has a comparison between the unrated and American R-rated version.

Near-complete releases

In February 2014, Shock Entertainment issued FEAR CITY on Blu-ray and DVD as part of their Cinema Cult collection. They contained the longest version ever released in Australia but were still incomplete.

Fear City (1984) - Blu-ray cover 1
Blu-ray – Shock

February 10, 2014
The Shock Blu-ray appears to be the Shout! Factory Blu-ray, which contains two versions of the movie, the censored US theatrical R version (95:02) and supposedly the US unrated version (96:40). What they’ve done for the longer version is insert the missing scenes from a poor quality master, i.e. what was released in France, Germany and Holland on DVD.

However, one scene on this Blu-ray is still censored, namely the bit where Rae Dawn Chong gets her forehead sliced. The theatrical version runs for 11 frames and the longer version runs for 33 frames. Both versions on our Blu-ray feature the shorter 11-frame shot. It’s assumed that the US Shout! release is the same.

This means the Aussie and US Blu-ray are still slightly censored, despite efforts to incorporate virtually all of the other so-called US unrated footage.

Media Censorship in Australia

Hardcore: Volume 1 & 2 – The Films of Richard Kern

aka Hardcore: Volume 1
aka Hardcore: Volume 2

Directed by Richard Kern / 1985 – 1991 / USA / IMDb

In May 2006, HARDCORE: VOLUME 2 was banned by the Classification Board. It was submitted by the Victorian Police following a raid on Melbourne’s Polyester Books.

This was a collection of short films by New York film-maker Richard Kern. The VHS tape is listed as running 99-minutes.

This was presumably a copy of the 1992 American VHS from Film Threat Video. It includes GOODBYE 42ND STREET (1986), KING OF SEX (1986), SUBMIT TO ME NOW (1987), THE EVIL CAMERAMAN (1990), MONEYLOVE (1990), PIERCE (1990) and X IS Y (1990). It also contains one of Kern’s most notorious titles, FINGERED (1988).

Volume 1 seized

At the same time, the Victorian Police also confiscated, and never returned, HARDCORE: VOLUME 1.

Film Threat’s VHS release contained MANHATTAN LOVE SUICIDES (1985), THE RIGHT SIDE OF MY BRAIN (1985), SUBMIT TO ME (1985), YOU KILLED ME FIRST (1985), DEATH VALLEY 69 (1986) and NAZI (1991).

This does not appear to have been submitted as there is no entry in the National Classification Database.


Directed by Howard Avedis / 1987 / USA / IMDb

In 1987, a 96-minute print of KIDNAPPED was banned due to ‘gratuitous sexual violence’.

Hoyts Distribution censored it down to 94:32 and received an R-rating in August 1987,

Kidnapped (1987) - VHS videotape 1
VHS – RCA/Columbia/Hoyts

It was released by RCA/Columbia/Hoyts Video.

Censored ‘gratuitous sexual violence’

Matt reports.
RCA/Columbia/Hoyts Video (au) – VHS – 94:32

Before – Bonnie (Barbara Crampton) is held to the bed and pleads with her attacker not to hurt her sister, Debbie (Kim Evenson).

Censored at 35:38 by 01:08 approx. – The attacker runs his knife over her body and down to her underwear.
Bonnie cries, ‘Oh God’.
He runs the knife up to her bra and cuts it off.
Bonnie cries ‘Please, No’.
He tells her to take her hands away from her breasts, before stabbing the knife into the bed next to her head and telling her to ‘beg for it’.

After – The attacker tells Bonnie to ‘say her prayers’. Just in time, help arrives to save her.

Brothers in Arms

Directed by George Bloom / 1989 / USA / IMDb

In early 1989, BROTHERS IN ARMS was banned by the OFLC due to ‘sexual violence’.

Roadshow Home Video was the applicant.

Decision upheld

An unsuccessful appeal was made to the Films Board of Review.

March 31, 1989
The Board of Review found this film gratuitously violent, and was especially concerned by two scenes of sexual assault. In the view of the Board the violence was not justified by any serious purpose or message (as it was, for example, in THE ACCUSED), and appeared to be wholly exploitative in intention. The Board took into account the ready availability of video materials and the difficulty of enforcing ‘R’ classifications in some cases.

The decision to refuse classification was confirmed.

– Films Board of Review report

Censored VHS

In July 1989, a cut 91:11 (NTSC) tape was passed with an R (Frequent violence) rating.

Brothers in Arms (1988) - VHS videotape 1
VHS – Premiere

The applicant, Roadshow Home Video, released it on their Premiere Home Entertainment label.

The censored footage

Simon reports.
Republic Pictures Home Video (us) – VHS – 94:27 (NTSC)
Premiere Home Entertainment (au) – VHS – 91:11 (NTSC)

I noticed three cut scenes in Premiere’s (PHE) release of BROTHERS IN ARMS. This is not a side-by-side comparison, so there is a chance I may have missed something. It does identify the two scenes of sexual assault mentioned by the Films Board of Review.

All times refer to the uncut Republic Pictures (RP) tape.

03:12 – A nail is shown being driven into a wrist, this is followed by a second shot of the hammer hitting the nail. The PHE tape removes this and masks the cuts by repeating a long shot of the group so that the times remain the same. This is an unnecessary cut, as a few seconds later there is a far more graphic uncut shot. It shows the guy breaking free by pulling his hand over the nail.

Stevie and Joey
Before – Joey (Todd Allen) tackles Stevie (Dedee Pfeiffer) and looks up at her.
Censored by 01:15 – In the RP tape, this scene runs from 23:42 to 26:50. The PHE tape shows parts of this sequence. The hillbillies taunt and beat Stevie and Joey. They remove Stevie’s trousers and force Joey to have sex with her.
After – Dallas (Charles Grant) arrives and points a gun at one of the brothers.

Throat cutting
Censored at 4:30 by 00:01 approx. – Dallas slashes the throat of one of the brothers. The uncut version lingers slightly longer on the wound.

Stevie and Caleb
Before – Caleb (Mitch Pileggi) pushes Stevie into the barn.
Censored by 02:32 – In the RP tape, this scene runs from 55:58 to 60:56. The PHE tape shows parts of this sequence. Caleb threatens Stevie with a knife, and as he kisses her, makes her say that she wants his babies. Eventually, he pushes her to the ground and hits her in the face. Finally, he cuts off her top and underwear and rapes her.
After – Dallas comes to the rescue by crashing through the roof.

Stevie stabs Caleb
Censored at 62:05 by 00:01 approx. – Stevie stabs Caleb in the hand. The PHE tape does not show the knife sticking out of the hand.

The ending
The PHE tape ends slightly differently from the RP version. Both finish with Joey, Stevie and the Father (Jack Starrett) still alive. They load the body of Caleb onto the horse, the Father rides off and Stevie and Joey turn and walk away. The RP tape then goes directly to the end credits. However, the PHE tape includes an extra 00:34 freeze frame, which explains what happened next.

It reads:
‘Two months later, based on information provided by Joey, local authorities apprehended Father who is currently being held in jail, without bail, pending trial…’

This was possibly added to show that he did not get away with murder. However, it rather ruins the original ending, which has Father riding away after his sons have been killed. I do not know if this was added to just the PHE tape, or if it appears in any other releases.

Hidden Rage

Directed by Shuki Levy / 1988 / USA / IMDb

In September 1988, a 100-minute 35mm print of HIDDEN RAGE was banned by the OFLC because of ‘gratuitous sexual violence’.

The TAFT Hardie Group was the applicant.

The problem scenes

Matt reports.
Academy Entertainment (us) – VHS as PERFECT VICTIMS – 98:52 (NTSC)

There are two, not particularly graphic, scenes of sexual violence.

23:00 to 24:30 – Brandon (Tom Dugan) rapes Carrie (Jackie Swanson) in her home.

42:45 to 43:30 – Brandon rapes Kristina (Christiane Carman) on the beach.

It may also have been refused because it concerns a rapist who is deliberately attempting to infect his victims with AIDS.