2010s American horror movies that have been cut or banned in Australia.
Dear God No!
Directed by James Bickert / 2011 / USA / IMDb
In January 2013, a 78-minute pre-cut DVD of DEAR GOD NO! was passed with an R18+ (High impact themes, bloody violence and sexual violence) rating.
The classification matrix describes,
High impact: themes, violence,
Strong impact: drug use, nudity, sex
Moderate impact: language
The applicant was Bounty Films. Monster Pictures released the DVD on February 13.
Peter F confirms that this ‘Two-disc Impaler Edition’ contains both the ‘Original cut’ and the longer ‘Grindhouse cut’ of the film. However, both are the British Board of Film Classification (BBFC) approved versions.
What did the BBFC censor?
Before the Australian classification, Bounty Films had submitted it twice to the British censor and both required cuts.
To obtain this category cuts of 1m 34s were required. Cuts were required to reduce the focus on a scene of sexual violence. Approved Running time 77m 56s.
November 2012– BBFC rating information
To obtain this category cuts of 1m 37s were required. Cuts were required to reduce the focus on a scene of sexual violence. A further cut was also required to remove explicit sight of penetration during the scene of sexual violence. Approved Running time 78m 55s.
Movie-Censorship has a report and screencaps of what was removed. These are the same cuts as the Australian DVD.
Directed by Scott Schirmer / 2012 / USA / IMDb
In April 2013, the uncut version of FOUND had its Australian premiere in Sydney at the seventh A Night of Horror Film Festival.
When a film opens with a young boy finding a severed human head, in his older brother’s bowling ball bag, you know that you are in for a dark ride. This is a coming of age story that spirals into one of the most disturbing serial killer tales ever committed to celluloid, with several appreciative nods to horror films and horror fandom along the way.
We all grew up watching slasher flicks, but what would have happened if our teenage brother was more brutal than the mask-wearing villains that terrified and fascinated us? The answer will resonate with you, long after the credits role on this horrific powerhouse.– A Night of Horror Film Festival
Festival Program 2013
Tuesday, April 16, 7:00pm, Dendy Newtown
Director: Scott Schirmer / USA / 2012 / 105mins
Banned on DVD
A year later, FOUND had been picked up for local distribution by Monster Pictures.
In May 2014, their submission of a 103-minute (NTSC) DVD was banned by the Classification Board because of ‘prolonged and detailed depictions of sexualised violence’.
May 21, 2014
Found tells the story of a young boy, Marty, who comes to realise that his older brother is a sadistic, serial killer.
Reason For Decision:
In making this decision, the Classification Board has applied the Classification (Publications, Films and Computer Games) Act 1995 (the Classification Act), the National Classification Code (the Code) and the Guidelines for the Classification of Films 2012 (the Guidelines).
In the Board’s view this film warrants an ‘RC’ classification in accordance with item 1(a) of the films table of the National Classification Code:
“1. Films that:
(a) depict, express or otherwise deal with matters of sex, drug misuse or addiction, crime, cruelty, violence or revolting or abhorrent phenomena in such a way that they offend against the standards of morality, decency and propriety generally accepted by reasonable adults to the extent that they should not be classified;” will be Refused Classification.
The Guidelines state that films will be refused classification if they contain gratuitous, exploitative or offensive depictions of violence with a very high degree of impact or which are excessively frequent, prolonged or detailed.
The film contains prolonged and detailed depictions of sexualised violence, including sexualised torture, mutilation, sexual activity with body parts and cannibalism, which result in a very high degree of impact. As such, this film exceeds what can be accommodated within the R18+ classification.
The Board notes that the film also contains depictions of nonsexual violence. These depictions of violence, which also include viscera, generous blood detail and gore, are mitigated by context and relatively unsophisticated production values to a level which can be accommodated at an R18+ classification. The scenes of sexualised violence, noted below, are more realistic and impactful, and result in a very high impact.
At approximately 41 minutes, a bloody scene of sexualised violence, including torture and cannibalism, commences when, as two young boys begin to watch a horror movie, a woman bound with her arms spread wide and bound to a frame, is tortured and murdered by her captor. Close-ups of her bloodied wrists are viewed before a sinister male wearing a skull mask and carrying a machete and a bowling ball bag is viewed walking towards her.
The camera cuts from a view of the TV screen to the actual depiction as the male in the skull mask is viewed in close-up. He then grasps the screaming woman around the throat, slowly rubs the blade of the machete across her right breast, then moves the tip of the blade inside her blouse before tearing off her blouse and exposing her bare upper body.
She continues to cry and beg her attacker to stop as he lines up the machete over her left breast then brings it down as the camera cuts away to the two boys watching. The camera cuts back to a close–up of the screaming woman as the masked man suckles at, or chews on, the bloody wound on her chest as she cries and vomits; the killer is viewed in a series of extreme close-ups, close-ups and mid-shots during this part of the scene.
The camera cuts away, then cuts back as the attacker delivers a series of blows below screen and thick, dark blood flows from the, now, mostly silent woman’s mouth. The attacker stands and watches the woman as she chokes and dies.
At approximately 45 minutes, the attacker is viewed standing over his victim’s bloody body then, in close-up, as he implicitly hacks at it – squirting blood is featured – then holds up the severed head of his victim.
The camera cuts to the two boys as they bicker briefly then, at approximately 46 minutes, back to the attacker as he places the bloodied head on the steering wheel of a truck. He takes out a spoon and, viewed in extreme close-up, uses it to scoop out the victim’s left eyeball before holding it up and eating it; the props and depiction realistic.
He repeats his actions with the second eyeball, again realistic and viewed in close-up, before unzipping his jeans, lowering the severed head, and grunting loudly as he thrusts below screen implicitly having sex with the head. The thrusting and grunts increase in intensity and tempo before the camera cuts to a mid-shot of the masked male, leaning back against a wall and thrusting into the head as his sexual excitement peaks. The camera cuts to the two boys watching then back as the attacker shudders and gasps, implicitly after reaching a sexual climax then, at approximately 48 minutes, he is viewed placing the severed head inside the bowling ball bag. Generous blood detail and gore is featured throughout the scene.
At approximately 49 minutes, a second scene of sexualised violence commences with the same masked man stroking, with the blade of his machete, the body of a second gagged woman who lies bound to a plastic-covered table top. He then climbs on top of her, rips off her gag and joins in her screaming. He stands above her then raises his machete high before swinging it down into her neck. The camera cuts to an extreme close-up of the neck as it is explicitly severed and blood gushes from the open wound.
He squats under the blood flow and, still wearing his skull mask, spreads the blood over his head and face, bathing in it, and licks it from his lips. The camera cuts to the killer lying between his victim’s splayed legs, his head resting in her crotch, as he holds the severed head at his groin and, thrusting repeatedly, laughs joyously. At approximately 51 minutes, an armed police officer confronts the attacker who raises the head from his, now, blood-soaked groin and attempts to attack the officer with his machete. He is shot and implicitly dies; the scene ending at approximately 51 minutes.
In the opinion of the Board, this film contains depictions of sexualised violence that are very high in impact and, therefore, exceed what can be accommodated within the R18+ classification. As such, this film is Refused Classification pursuant to item 1(a) of the films table of the Code. A minority of the Board is of the opinion that the film contains sexualised violence, violence and horror themes which may be offensive to some sections of the adult community but which do not exceed high impact and, as such, the film can be accommodated within the R18+ classification category with consumer advice of high impact sexualised violence, violence, horror themes and blood and gore.
This film is Refused Classification in accordance with item 1(a) of the films table of the National Classification Code.– Classification Board report
The distributor responds
The refusal continued the bad run that Monster Pictures had been having with the Australian censor.
May 23, 2014
It with sadness in our hearts that we must announce that Scott Schirmer’s coming-of-age gore fest FOUND, was refused classification by Australia’s Classification Board yesterday, on the 21st of May.
This is the 4th feature, after HANGER, THE HUMAN CENTIPEDE II and FATHER’S DAY, to be scheduled for release in Australia by Monster Pictures that has surpassed (and brilliantly surpassed, at that) what is acceptable within Australia’s existing R18+ classification.
FOUND has played in over 40 film festivals world-wide (including Australia’s very own A Night of Horror Film Festival last year), winning 15 Best Feature and 8 Best Actor awards and has been championed by the First Lady of Horror, Elvira, Mistress of the Dark, herself.
Monster Pictures will resubmit the film, with cuts, to the Classification Board next month, for a September 17th release.– Another One Bites the Dust – FOUND Refused Classification
Censored & banned again
In August 2014, the Classification Board again refused to award FOUND a rating.
August 13, 2014– Classification Board
Film 1(a) The film is classified RC in accordance with the National Classification Code, Films Table, 1. (a) as films that “depict, express or otherwise deal with matters of sex, drug misuse or addiction, crime, cruelty, violence or revolting or abhorrent phenomena in such a way that they offend against the standards of morality, decency and propriety generally accepted by reasonable adults to the extent that they should not be classified.”
This was done despite Monster Pictures having modified the print from approximately 103-minutes (NTSC) to 97-minutes (PAL).
This version appears to be the one that was passed by the British Board of Film Classification before they removed a further 00:04 of footage. Full details of the cuts are listed below.
Third time lucky
The following week, August 21, FOUND was passed with an R18+ (High impact sexualised violence, violence and themes) rating.
The classification matrix describes,
High impact: themes, violence
Moderate impact: language, nudity
This version ran approximately 96-minutes (PAL) and was released on 17 September 2014.
Monster Pictures explained that the cuts totalled two-minutes and not the seven as previously thought. The discrepancy was due to the original 103-minute submission being NTSC, while the subsequent ones were PAL.
September 17, 2013
Anyone know if it’s 2 minutes cut from the original full film or 2 minutes cut from the last rejected edit?
Monster Pictures– facebook.com/monsterpictures
A total of two minutes is cut from the film, over two submissions to classification.
To all of you worried about the cuts, turned off by the censorship, we challenge you to watch the film and give us your feedback!
What was censored?
Troy C. reports.
Uncut – 102:24 (NTSC).
00:11 title cards for Chameleon Arts Entertainment and Coppercoil Productions not included.
Monster Pictures [au] – 95:21 (PAL).
00:27 Monster Pictures intro and title cards for The October People and Forbidden Films not included.
Total cuts are 03:00 (NTSC) ≈ 02:52 (PAL).
Before – David and Marty are watching the movie HEADLESS.
David says ‘Gross. That’s great’.
The girl in the movie then screams, followed by a back view of the killer’s head against her breast.
Censored by 00:22 at 41:26 (41:53 DVD timer).
The killer sucks on the girl’s breast wound as she vomits blood.
The film cuts twice to David and Marty watching.
After – Side view of the killer’s face as he pulls away from her bloody breast.
Eye gouge and head job
Before – David and Marty are watching the movie HEADLESS on their VCR.
David, ‘Are you okay?’
Marty, ‘That was gross’
David, ‘You big pussy. Maybe you should stick to watching PG-13 horror movies’
Marty, ‘Shut up’
Censored by 02:13 at 43:07 (43:34 DVD timer).
The killer takes the severed head to a truck and places it on the steering wheel. Using a spoon, he removes her eyeballs and eats them.
The scene then cuts to the killer standing against a wall. He unzips his trousers, lowers the head and has sex with it. The film cuts back seven times to David and Marty watching.
After – The killer zips up the head in a bowling bag.
Before – The killer bathes in the blood coming from the neck stump of the corpse. Close of Marty’s tightly closed eyes.
Censored by 00:25 at 45:27 (45:54 DVD timer).
The killer is shown with a severed head as he sits between the legs of the decapitated body. He moves the head up and down between his legs as a close-up of Marty’s eyes show him watching on.
After – A cop bursts into the room, aims his gun and shouts ‘Freeze’.
Australian vs. British cuts
Troy C. reports
Monster Pictures also distributed FOUND in the UK. Following their problems in Australia, they decided to submit a pre-cut version to the British Board of Film Classification (BBFC).
In July 2014, it was passed with an 18 (strong bloody violence, sexualised violence, gory images) rating. The BBFC list the time as 97:10, from which a further 00:04 of cuts were made. Presumably, this time includes the 00:27of introduction logos.
Movie-Censorship has a comparison between the BBFC and uncut version. From this, it is possible to see how the Australian one differs.
Censored by 00:22 in Australia and 00:18 in the UK.
Eye gouge and head job
Censored by 02:13 in Australia and 00:51.5 in the UK. The UK print has the eye-gouging and eating scene intact, but removes the severed head sex scene.
Censored by 00:25 in Australia and the UK.
The BBFC insisted on a further 00:04 of cuts to ‘…to remove sight of a murderer’s erect penis, during a scene of sadistic sexualised violence and threat’. Steve’s erection is clearly shown in the Australian version at 87:02 (87:29 DVD timer). In the uncut version, used by Movie-Censorship, it is so dark that nothing can be seen.
It looks like the pre-cut version submitted to the BBFC was the one prepared for Australia following the first ban. However, when this too was Refused Classification, Monster Pictures removed a further 00:04 from ‘bloody breasts’ and 01:22 from ‘eye gouge and head job’ to achieve an R18+ rating.
In conclusion, the UK version has been censored by 01:39. The Australian is cut by 02:52 but does contain the 00:04 of erection footage removed by the BBFC.
Scott Schirmer was able to answer why there were two versions of the erection scene available. The Australian one where it can be seen, and the one uncut one, used by Movie-Censorship, where it cannot.
It looks to me like the shot of Steve in the bedroom doorway wasn’t intentionally darkened, but rather that the whole film is darker than intended — at least in the screengrabs available at the link to Movie-Censorship.com.
Even during our festival run, depending on the brightness of the projected image, sometimes you would see Steve’s erection and sometimes you wouldn’t. I am guessing that if you watch the UK DVD [Australian DVD] on various TV screens, you’ll see it better in some than others.– To: Refused-Classification.com
– From: Scott Schirmer – Director of FOUND
Five censored DVDs
The problems with FOUND continued the run of poor luck for Bounty Films/Monster Pictures.
In November 2011, they had received an R18+ for an uncut version of THE HUMAN CENTIPEDE 2: FULL SEQUENCE (2011). However, an appeal to the Review Board saw this changed to RC before a censored version was eventually approved. It was also cut by the BBFC.
In August 2012, Ryan Nicholson’s HANGER (2009) banned.
This was followed in October 2012 by the refusal of FATHER’S DAY (2011). After being banned for a second time, it was eventually R18+ rated.
By January 2013, when it came to James Bickert’ DEAR GOD NO!, they decided to play it safe. The BBFC had already approved a censored version, so this is what was submitted for an R18+.
Despite continuing to release challenging film, Monster Pictures have had no further classification issues.
Directed by Julius Avery/ 2018 / USA / IMDb
On 31 October 2018, a 110-minute print of OVERLORD was passed with an R18+ (High impact violence) rating.
The classification matrix described,
High impact: violence
Strong impact: themes
Moderate impact: language
The film was due to open on November 9, however, on that day a second submission received an MA15+ (Strong horror themes and violence) rating.
The classification matrix now described,
Strong impact: themes, violence
Moderate impact: language
This censored version, with the violence reduced from ‘High impact’ to ‘Strong impact’, ran approximately 109-minutes.
The release date was pushed back until December 6 and online advertising was changed from R18+ to MA15+. However, in the ensuing month, a backlash from the public saw this reversed and the release of the uncut R18+ version.
In both cases, Paramount Pictures Australia was the applicant.
On February 20, 2019, a 160-minute Blu-ray was passed with an R18+ (High impact violence) rating.
The classification matrix was the same as the initial October 2018 submission.
The uncut Blu-ray and DVD were released by Universal Sony Pictures Home Entertainment on March 13.