American Horror Films of the 1990s

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

The Disturbance

Directed by Cliff Guest / 1990 / USA / IMDb

In 1992, a 93-minute VHS of THE DISTURBANCE was banned by the OFLC.

Tru-Value Pty Ltd was the applicant.

Why the RC-rating?

Matt reports.
Media Blasters (us) – DVD – 94:20 (NTSC)

This has a real downbeat feel, somewhat similar to DON’T GO IN THE HOUSE (1979). The scenes that may have caused the problems are as follows.

11:00 to 12:00 – Clay (Timothy Greeson) spies on a girl through a window as she removes her bra. He then breaks into the house and strangles her with a belt.

21:15 to 22:30 – Clay and Susan (Lisa Geoffrion) are having sex. He begins to fantasise about slapping her, throwing her on the bed, tearing off her top and raping her. The scene cuts back and forth between fantasy and reality until they merge when Susan begins to complain that he is hurting her. Presumably, this was the main sequence that caused refusal.

63:00 to 60:30 – Clay is shown masturbating as he fantasises about garrotting a topless woman.

83:00 to 84:00 – Clay has a flashback to the murder of Susan. He knocks her out with a punch and stabs her. This part is not a particularly graphic sequence.

Tru-Value – Video Distributor

On 20 July 2000, Tru-Value Pty Ltd was listed in the Commonwealth of Australia Gazette as being scheduled for de-registration in two months.

It is unknown if they were related to Tru-Value Entertainment in Sydney. In the late 1990s, this video wholesaler was based in Campsie before moving to Wiley Park in the early 2000s.

The Deadly Avenger

Directed by Robert Rundle / 1992 / USA / IMDb

In 1993, an 88-minute VHS of THE DEADLY AVENGER was banned by the OFLC.

Home Cinema Group was the applicant.

Why the refusal?

Matt reports.
Prism Entertainment (us) – VHS as THE DIVINE ENFORCER – 89:56 (NTSC)

The fact that this was refused demonstrates how oversensitive they had become to any hint of sexual violence. THE DEADLY AVENGER contains no rape scenes and only a few relatively mild scenes of women in peril.

Presumably, the first and second sequences were the main problem.

Attempted gang rape
02:50 to 04:00 – A fully clothed girl is held down by three men. They tell her to stop moving.
Girl – ‘Please leave me alone, don’t hurt me’.
Attacker – ‘Why don’t you get on your knees and show us how to pray’.
Father Daniel – Playtime over boys, time to go home. Think I heard your mother calling’.
Attacker – ‘Who the hell are you?’.
Father Daniel – ‘Well I guess you could say I’m her salvation’.
The girl is shown struggling on the ground as an attacker holds a leg each. Father Daniel (Michael M. Foley) then proceeds to beat them up and rescue her.

05:00 to 06:00 – A bare-breasted woman is shown tied to a wall.
Otis (Don Stroud) kisses her on the mouth and breasts. She struggles, so he punches her in the stomach and calls her a ‘Dumb bitch’.
She replies, ‘Fuck you, fuck you arsehole’.
Otis then injects her in the neck and sucks her blood.

The talking skull
46:30 to 50:30 – A woman is shown in a chair with her hands bound, as Otis attempts to get her to drink some blood. She takes a sip and drops the glass on the floor. He hits her in the face, calls her a bitch and binds her hands and legs to the chair. He continues to verbally abuse her as he rips her top off.
Otis is then distracted as he imagines a human skull is talking to him.
He eventually returns to the girl and inserts a length of tube into her arm. She screams for him to stop, but he tells her to ‘Shut the fuck up’.
Otis then imagines the skull telling him to ‘Kill the bitch’, he replies, ‘No, this one’s mine’. The blood is shown draining from the girl’s body as she loses consciousness.

Kim is captured
80:15 to 82:15 – Otis has Kim (Carrie Chambers) tied to a chair. He attempts to kiss her, but she fights back and squeezes his balls.
He grabs her face, and screams, ‘Son of a bitch’.
He ties her more securely to the chair, injects a needle into her arm and begins to drain her blood.

Mind, Body & Soul

Directed by Rick Sloane / 1992 / USA / IMDb

In May 1993, a censored 91-minute VHS of MIND & BODY & SOUL was passed with an MA (Medium level violence, Nudity) rating. The original version had run 93-minutes.

Mind, Body & Soul (1992) - VHS videotape 1
VHS – 21st Century

The applicant, 21st Century Pictures, issued it on tape on their Freedom Distribution label.

Classification confusion

There are several anomalies regarding the rating of MIND & BODY & SOUL. Many entries from this period, including the refusal of this title, are missing from the National Classification Database.

The cover of the 21st Century Pictures VHS lists an M (Medium level violence and Sex scenes), but no such rating was ever awarded. Curiously, it runs 92:44, which would appear to make it uncut. This was the running time of the print submitted to the British Board of Film Classification before it lost 02:25 for an 18-certificate.

At 13:00, the VHS shows Brenda (Ginger Lynn) being raped by the prison guard (Michael McMillen). Presumably, 21st Century Pictures issued the uncut version by mistake.

The MA-rating was introduced in May 1993, which would make MIND & BODY & SOUL one of the first titles to receive the new classification. This may explain the error on the cover.

DVD release

In 2005, Payless Entertainment released MIND & BODY & SOUL on DVD.

Mind, Body & Soul (1992) - DVD cover 1
DVD – Payless

As with most of their titles, this was not submitted for classification.


Directed by Mick Garris / 1992 / USA / IMDb

Three 89-minute versions of SLEEPWALKERS passed with an R (Adult themes, Medium level violence) rating on 5 May 1992.

On 21 and 28 May, Hoyts Columbia Fox Tristar Films censored it for an M (Medium level violence, Coarse language).

Sleepwalkers (1992) - Australian daybill movie poster 1
Daybill via moviemem

It was this 84-minute version that played theatrically in Australia. The introduction of the MA classification would take place one year later.

Missing 4+ minutes

Matt reports.
The OFLC noted that ‘…conceptual elements emphasising a close mother-son relationship were removed’.

Three scenes involving Charles Brady (Brian Krause) and Mary Brady (Alice Krige) fit this description.
10:00 – After dancing and kissing, he carries her to the bedroom.
18:00 – A brief scene of them kissing.
42:00 – A 00:25 scene of them having sex.

Presumably, violence was also trimmed as the M-rated version lost between four to five minutes.

Barnaby reports.
75:00 – The M-rated version also loses a wince-inducing close-up of the arm of Captain Soames (Ron Perlman) snapping in half like a twig after being twisted by Mary Brady.

Uncut VHS & DVDs

In January 1993, Columbia Tristar Hoyts Home Video issued the R (Adult themes, Medium level violence) rated SLEEPWALKERS on their First Release label.

Sleepwalkers (1992) - VHS videotape 1
VHS – First Release

A video trade magazine advertisement promoted it as ‘The Original an Un-Cut R-rated Version Never Before Seen in Australia’.

All subsequent VHS and DVD releases have been uncut with the same rating and consumer advice.