American Films of the 1990s

1990s American movies that have been cut or banned in Australia.


Night of the Wilding

Directed by Joseph Merhi / 1990 / USA / IMDb

In 1990, an 85-minute VHS of NIGHT OF THE WILDING was banned by the OFLC due to ‘sexual violence’.

A censored 81-minute version was passed in September 1990 with an R (Occasional graphic violence) rating.

Night of the Wilding (1990) - VHS videotape 1
VHS – RCA/Columbia/Hoyts

The applicant, RCA/Columbia Pictures/Hoyts Video, released it on tape.

Censored R-rated VHS

Matt reports.
RCA/Columbia Pictures/Hoyts Video (au) – VHS – 80:45

The rape of Doris at 16:33
Before – Doris (Carol Cummings) is put on to the table as she shouts ‘No, No’.
Censored by 00:15 approx. – Her top is torn off to expose her breasts and her dress pulled up to expose her underwear.
After – Betty (Julie Austin) in the shower.

The rape of Doris at 16:50
Before – Brief, close-up shot of Doris with a gag in her mouth. This was further cut in the M-rated version.
Censored by 00:27 approx. – Doris having her underwear pulled down and being raped.
After – Betty in the shower, followed by one of the rapists approaching the bathroom swinging a baseball bat.
Censored by 00:22 approx. – Doris is raped.
After – Betty in the shower, followed by the rapist entering the bathroom.

Resubmitted

In September 1992, a precut version of NIGHT OF THE WILDING received an M (Coarse language, Medium level violence) rating.

The applicant, Eagle Entertainment, released it on tape.

Night of the Wilding (1990) - VHS videotape 2
VHS – Eagle Entertainment

Censored M-rated VHS

Matt reports.
Eagle Entertainment (au) – VHS – 79:28
This version is 01:17 shorter than the censored R-rated VHS. The extra cuts are:

10:00 approx. – A couple of baseball bat blows to the security guard have been removed.

16:00 approx. – The rape of Doris was censored in the R-rated version, but here it has been further toned down.


Intimate Stranger

Directed by Allan Holzman / 1991 / USA / IMDb

In 1993, a 92-minute VHS of INTIMATE STRANGER was banned by the OFLC.

A censored 85-minute version was passed with an MA (Medium level coarse language, Sexual references) rating in July 1993.

In both cases, Home Cinema Group was the applicant.

R-rated VHS

INTIMATE STRANGER was released on video by Home Cinema Group with an R (Medium level sex scenes and Low-level violence) rating on the cover.

Intimate Stranger (1991) - VHS videotape 1
VHS – HCG

It runs exactly 92:00 and appears to be uncut.

Some tapes include a cover sticker that states that it was ‘Previously banned! Too hot for Aussie Censors’.

Intimate Stranger (1991) - VHS videotape 2
VHS – HCG – Sticker

The background to this release is a mystery as the National Classification Database is missing many entries from this period. Currently, only the MA-rating for INTIMATE STRANGER is listed.

It is unclear how a film could be banned, censored for an MA-rating and then released in an R-rated version that appears to be uncut.

Pay-TV screening

In early 2004, INTIMATE STRANGER screened on the Optus Movie Extra channel.

The running time is unknown.

M-rated DVD

INTIMATE STRANGER was released on a cheap sell-through DVD in August 2005.

The distributor, Rainbow Entertainment/Hollywood DVD, labelled it with a fake M (Medium Level Coarse Language, Sexual References) rating.

Intimate Stranger (1991) - DVD cover 1
DVD – Rainbow – Hollywood

Miles reports.
The DVD runs 91:53 compared to 92:00 for the VHS. This is because it is missing the South Gate Entertainment card at the start and a few seconds of the opening credits. Apart from that, they appear to be the same.


Whore 2

Directed by Amos Kollek / 1994 / USA / IMDb

In 1995, an 81-minute VHS of WHORE 2 was banned by the OFLC.

The applicant was Columbia Tri-star Hoyts Home Video.

The problem scene

Simon reports.
Vidmark Entertainment (us) – VHS – 84:02 (NTSC)

WHORE 2 mixes the fiction of an author writing a book about prostitution and interviews with real-life streetwalkers. These are the most interesting parts and reveal their motivations for working as prostitutes.

One sequence would have been responsible for the refusal.

Early in the film, Lori (Marla Sucharetza) has stolen money from a client called Bob (Robert Kerbeck). Later, she and Mary Lou (Mari Nelson) are picked up by two men called Tony (Phil Parolisi) and Nicko (David Kener) who take them back to a warehouse for sex. When they arrive, Bob is present. Despite being nervous, Lori starts giving one of the men a blowjob.

68:10 to 69:26 – Suddenly, Bob gets behind Mary Lou, lowers his trousers, pulls out a gun and points it at her head. Lori looks on in terror. He puts a cushion over Mary Lou’s head and shoots. Lori manages to break free, but they wrestle her to the ground. One gets between her legs and lowers his trousers.

Neither rape is shown, but the OFLC would still have considered this scene to be sexual violence.


Freeway

Directed by Matthew Bright / 1996 / USA / IMDb

In March 1997, a 102-minute 35mm print of FREEWAY was passed with an R (Adult themes, Medium level violence; Sexual references) rating.

Columbia Tristar Film was the applicant.

The following month, a 102-minute VHS received the same classification.

This time, the applicant was Columbia Tristar Home Video.

Censored theatrically

FREEWAY did not open in Australia until late 1997. By then, it was revealed that the previous two classifications were for precut versions. Presumably, both were the same as the American R-rated print which was trimmed down from 104-minutes.

The National Classification Database makes no mention of a prior RC-rating.

September 18, 1997
The Office of Film and Literature Classification has taken such a dim view of parts of a new American film called FREEWAY that it has demanded two minutes be cut before granting it an R certificate. The film, which has Oliver NATURAL BORN KILLERS Stone as an executive producer and is the debut feature for writer director Matthew Bright, is to be released locally in its censored version in November.

According to distributor the Globe Film Co, two sequences have been censored: one where Sutherland repeatedly insults Witherspoon with profane language and asks her in a highly ungenteel manner if she would care for a spot of anal intercourse. The other shows dead grandma with her legs spread, her private parts concealed by a vase.

– Freeway to open despite Detours
theaustralian.com.au

What was censored?

According to the article in The Australian, two sequences were removed.

The first involves Bob (Kiefer Sutherland) insulting Vanessa (Reese Witherspoon) and asking her for anal sex. This presumably takes place at approximately 32-minutes (VHS) as they talk in the car. It begins with him listening to her problems of abuse at the hands of her stepfather and concludes with him threatening her with a scalpel.

The second shows Vanessa’s dead Grandma (Kitty Fox) with her legs open, but with a vase obscuring her private parts. The first shot of Grandma appears at approximately 91-minutes (VHS) when Bob shows Vanessa the body. The Grandma has a rope around her neck, but only the top half of her naked torso is revealed. When the police find the body at approximately 93-minutes, again only the top half is shown.

Banned VHS

In February 1998, a 104-minute tape was Refused Classification by the OFLC. This would appear to be the uncut version. It is unclear why this was submitted when it was already known to be a problem.

The applicant was Columbia Tristar Home Video.

Censored VHS

FREEWAY was eventually released on tape by Columbia Tristar Home Video.

When converted, the 97:43 (PAL) running time indicates that this was the American R-rated version.

Freeway (1996) - VHS videotape 1
VHS – Columbia Tristar

The cover displays the same R (Adult themes; Medium level violence; Sexual references) rating that had been awarded back in April 1997.

Censored DVD

In January 2007, Force Entertainment released FREEWAY on DVD.

Freeway (1996) - DVD cover 1
DVD – Force

David V. reports.
Force Entertainment (au) – DVD – 101:57 appears to be an NTSC to PAL conversion

Being well aware of the censorship issues the film FREEWAY had here in Australia, I was quite interested to see the R4 DVD released by Force Entertainment on January 17. If details of what was cut from the Australian version is accurate then it appears we are still faced with the exact same print. We still only get to see the two quick above torso shots of the dead grandma on this DVD release, the other shot detailing her with her legs spread out covered by a vase is not to be found.

A line of dialogue also looked to have been edited out during the freeway conversion when Bob (Keifer Sutherland) quizzes Vanessa (Reese Witherspoon) sexually about her past. The last question he asks, before she starts to flip out and verbally abuse him, seemed abruptly cut, almost like a whole bit of middle dialogue was taken out. However, the line that was edited from the US release (reportedly ‘get your pants down you fucking cunt’) by the MPAA is actually still present in this version.


Where Truth Lies

Directed by William H. Molina / 1996 / USA / IMDb

In June 1996, a 96-minute VHS of WHERE TRUTH LIES was banned by the OFLC.

Network Entertainment was the applicant.

RC reasons

Matt reports.
VHS – 93:07 (PAL) – Appeared to be uncut
The 96-minute version that the OFLC refused was presumably an NTSC print.

It was easy to identify the scenes that caused it to be banned in Australia.

77:00 to 78:00 – Joe (Eric Pierpoint) starts to kiss Wendy (Candice Daly). She pushes him back and says ‘No’. He puts his hands around her neck and strangles her to death as he rapes her.

86:00 to 87:10 – Joe punches Teresa (Candice Daly) to the ground, rapes her and snaps her neck. The scene is mixed in with flashbacks to the previous rape of Wendy.


Web of Seduction

Directed by Blain Brown / 1999 / USA / IMDb

In May 2000, a 94-minute VHS of WEB OF SEDUCTION was banned by the OFLC.

A censored 88:52 version was passed with an R (Medium level sex scenes) rating in July 2000.

The applicant, 21st Century Pictures, released it on tape.

Web of Seduction (1999) - VHS videotape 1
VHS – 21st Century

Their cover incorrectly lists the rating as R (High level sex scenes).

American R-rated vs. unrated

Matt reports.
It appears the version that the OFLC banned was the 93:49 (NTSC) unrated American release. The 21st Century Pictures (21CP) VHS was presumably the American R-rated print.

Times refer to the American unrated version.

00:00 to 06:00 – The opening credits show Jenni (Tracy Ryan) stripping for Damon (Eric Acsell). The 21CP VHS removes the shot of her removing her underwear. In the unrated version we can see her vagina. The scene continues until they have sex. In the 21CP VHS, Jenni teases Damon for what seems like an eternity. In the unrated version, they get down to business much quicker. Both scenes end at the same time, which indicate that the 21CP VHS is an NTSC conversion. The extended bra removal scene in the 21CP VHS contains footage not found in the unrated tape.

10:00 to 13:00 – The redhead is shown stripping by the spa. When she removes her bra the 21CP VHS cuts. The unrated version shows her removing her underwear and masturbating. The 21CP VHS continues in a much softer way.

14:50 to 17:30 – The girl is shown by the pool. She then goes for a swim, removes her underwear and masturbates as the pool cleaner looks on. This scene is not included in the 21CP VHS, even though it is no more graphic than what has gone before.

This is where I stopped the comparison as I can safely say that all of the remaining sex scenes are cut in the 21CP VHS. Each version appears to contain footage that is exclusive to both.

The sex in the unrated version is explicit but remains softcore. Considering the absence of violence, it is strange that the OFLC banned it at all when an X-rating was available.

Showtime screening

WEB OF SEDUCTION premiered on Foxtel’s Showtime channel in January 2005.

It ran around two minutes shorter than the 21st Century Pictures VHS.


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