1980s American horror movies that have been cut or banned in Australia.
To All a Goodnight
Directed by Davis Hess / 1980 / USA / IMDb
In November 1982, a 2331.55 meter (84:59) print of TO ALL A GOODNIGHT lost 4.7 meters (00:10) of footage.
The reason given for the deletions was violence, which was described as:
Following this censorship, it was awarded an R-rating for violence, which was described as:
Video Classics released the tape on their Media Home Entertainment label.
In June 1983, an 85-minute ‘reconstructed version’ was passed with the Special Condition ‘that this film/tape will not be exhibited in any State in contravention of State’s law relating to the exhibition of films’.
At the same time, a 90-minute tape was Refused Registration. The reason for the ban was once again violence, which was described as:
In both cases, the applicant was Video Classics.
Video classification arrives
In February 1984, it became law for all videos to be rated and the Film Censorship Board began the slow task of reviewing all titles released up until that time.
They finally got to the TO ALL A GOODNIGHT in July 1984. The 85-minute tape was confirmed with an R-rating for violence, which was described as:
Media (us) vs. Media (au)
Media Home Entertainment (us) – VHS – 83:27
Media Home Entertainment/Video Classics (au) – VHS – 83:11
Times include the Intercontinental Releasing Corporation (IRC) title card.
Australian tape appears to be an NTSC to PAL conversion.
Death of Trisha
Censored at 20:00 by 00:02 approx. – It is cut at the end when Trisha’s (Angela Bath) head being pulled back to exposes the wound. It also misses another close-up of her eyes.
Death of T.J.
Censored at 68:00 by 00:15 approx. – The Australian version shows the start of garrotting, but then cuts to remove it being pulled tighter and cutting into T.J.’s(William Lauer) throat. This is interspersed with shots of Melody (Linda Gentile) screaming and the killer Santa pulling tighter.
Directed by Tony Maylam / 1981 / USA / IMDb
In December 1981, a 2482.00-meter (90:28) ‘pre-censor cut version’ of THE BURNING was passed with an R-rating. It was awarded for violence, which was said to be:
Filmways Australasia Distributors was the applicant.
Censored or not?
In February 1984, Thorn EMI Screen Entertainment had a 90-minute tape passed with an R-rating. The violence was described as being at the same level as the 1981 classification.
The actual running time of the tape was 87:14 (PAL), which compares with 87:26 (PAL) for their complete British release. Some trims were reportedly made to the raft attack scene.
Back in high-def
An uncut Blu-ray of THE BURNING was issued in November 2013 as part of Shock Entertainment’s Cinema Cult range.
This was the first Australian release in nearly thirty years.
Dead and Buried
Directed by Gary Sherman/ 1981 / USA / IMDb
In May 1981, a 2565.70-meter (93:31) print of DEAD AND BURIED was censored by 0.40-meters (00:01) for an R-rating.
The cuts were made to remove violence, which was said to be:
In the R-rated version, it was described as being:
Roadshow Distributors was the applicant.
The 00:01 clipped from DEAD AND BURIED was the close up of the hypodermic needle penetrating the eyeball. The nurse came in and thrust it, cutting to a shot of her leaving the room with the alarm ringing.
In August 1985, Roadshow Home Video had a 93-minute tape passed with an R-rating. The actual running time was 89:41 (PAL). This compares to 90:18 (PAL) of the uncut British pre-cert from Thorn EMI.
Details of the cuts are listed below.
In 2002, Force Video issued DEAD AND BURIED on DVD. Despite running 90:03, it was still incomplete. This was not submitted for classification.
Details of the cuts are listed below.
Roadshow VHS vs. Force DVD
The following is a check of the main violent incidents, not a side-by-side comparison. Roadshow’s VHS is very dark, so much so that scenes that look like they take place at night are revealed, in the DVD to be in the day. The Force DVD is missing at least two very brief moments that are present in the VHS.
Freddie is burnt
The fire is set at 08:34 (DVD). The VHS is missing around 00:06 of Freddie (Christopher Allport) screaming as her burns.
Death of the drunk
This scene begins at 15:37 (DVD). The VHS shows the drunk having his face slashed, followed by his neck. It is missing a shot after this of him screaming and a close-up of him being stabbed. This totals 00:02.
Death of Freddie
The nurse raises the needle at 29:19 (DVD) and it continues to show it entering Freddie’s eye. This latter part is missing from the VHS. Instead, it goes directly to a shot of the corridor and the nurse leaving the room. The missing footage lasts around 00:01.
Death of the hitchhiker
This is the first cut to the DVD. At 56:02 (DVD) we see the rock raised, followed by a shot of her feet. In the VHS we see a blank screen after the rock is raised, over which we hear a squelching sound, we then see a shot of her feet. The missing footage lasts around 00:01.
Dobbs and the hitchhiker
In the VHS, Dobbs (Jack Albertson) says ‘So lovely, so frail, so young, how could anyone mar your loveliness’. This is followed by a brief 00:01 shot of her crushed face.
At 56:10 (DVD), Dobbs says ‘So lovely, so frail, so young’. However, unlike the VHS, we do not see him speak the next line line. Instead, we hear him say it over a shot of the girl’s crushed face. The shot of her face lasts 00:03 as opposed to 00:01 in the VHS.
Death of the Doc
In the VHS, the final shot of his acid burnt head is shown for only 00:02. At 62:41 (DVD), this shot lasts 00:05 during which you hear him groan. This is followed by the Sheriff (James Farentino) walking into the station where Dobbs is waiting for him.
In November 2013, DEAD AND BURIED was issued on Blu-ray as part of Shock Entertainment’s Cinema Cult range.
This was the first time the complete version had been released in Australia.
Directed by Eric Weston / USA / 1981 / IMDb
In July 1981, a 2844.58-meter (103:41) print of EVILSPEAK was passed with an R-rating. It was awarded for violence, which was said to be:
This would appear to be the uncut version.
Warner Bros. was the applicant.
In November 1981, EVILSPEAK was resubmitted in a 2509.92-meter (91:29) ‘reduced version’. It was again awarded an R-rating for violence, which was described as being the same level as the July 1981 classification. Presumably, Warner Bros. did this in the hope of securing an M-rating. Having failed, they still released this shortened print theatrically.
The running time indicates that it may have been the heavily censored American R-rated cut. Movie-Censorship details the differences.
In January 1986, Warner Home Video had an 88:27 (PAL) tape of EVILSPEAK passed with an R-rating.
This compares to 99:53 (PAL) for the complete British pre-cert on the Videospace label. Again, the Australian release appears to have been the American R-rated cut.
Banned in Queensland
On 4 March 1986, the 89-minute Warner Home Video tape of EVILSPEAK was prohibited by the Queensland Films Board of Review.
Censored pay-TV screening
Optus Movie Greats screened an 87:49 version of EVILSPEAK throughout 2002. Due to the restrictions on showing R-rated features, it had been censored for an MA-rating. The print still had Warner’s title card.
It was most noticeably missing a couple of decapitations, the pigs pulling on the girl’s entrails and the heart removal scene.
aka Jaws of Satan
Directed by Bob Claver / 1981 / USA / IMDb
In August 1981, a 2531.81-meter (92:17) print of KING COBRA was submitted for classification. It passed with an M-rating, providing that cuts were made to footage containing ‘sexual violence and animal cruelty’.
United Artists appealed against the censorship to the Films Board of Review. They eventually passed it uncut, with an M-rating awarded for ‘Horror’.
Why they wanted it censored
VHS (us) as JAWS OF SATAN – 91:16 (NTSC)
31:42 to 31:44 – A rat is shown being caught in a trap.
41:20 to 41:22 – A snake’s head is shot off. This is followed by a shot of blood spurting from the wound.
70:00 to 71:00 – A biker pulls Maggie (Gretchen Corbett) from her vehicle. He puts a gun in her mouth, runs it over her breasts and moves down her body. She screams when the cobra appears and the biker panics and flees.