American Sci-Fi & Fantasy Films – Page 1

1970s and 1980s American science fiction and fantasy movies that have been cut or banned in Australia.

Star Wars

aka Star Wars: Episode IV – A New Hope

Directed by George Lucas / 1977 / USA / IMDb

In June 1977, a 3317.00-meter (120:55) print of STAR WARS was passed with an NRC (Not Recommended for Children) rating.

Star Wars (1977) - Australian daybill movie poster 1
Daybill via moviemem

Although it was not noted, 20th Century Fox had made modifications to one scene to secure a avoid an M-rating.

What was censored?

Australian Cinema Pioneer reports.
In 1977, an extremely shocking and lingering scene showing Luke’s Aunt and Uncle’s still smoking and charred skeletons was removed from all Australian Cinema film prints.

Star Wars (1977) - The burnt bodies of Uncle Owen & Aunt Beru
Bodies of Owen & Beru

The cuts removed a few seconds, with only one splice required to achieve the required result, plus a little blooper ink on the Dolby stereo optical soundtrack to hide the missing sound. The Censorship Board was still asking for the exact same cuts to be made pre-1981 on every film print imported into Australia.

Video release

STAR WARS was first issued on tape in Australia in 1982 by 20th Century Fox Video. Despite having the original NRC rating on the cover, it is reportedly uncut.

Star Wars (1977) - VHS videotape 1
VHS – 20th Century Fox

In February 1984, the NRC classification was renamed Parental Guidance (PG).

The Aftermath

Directed by Steve Barkett / 1982 / USA / IMDb

In August 1985, GA International had a 91-minute tape of THE AFTERMATH Refused Classification.

The reasons given was ‘excessive violence’, which were described as:
Frequency: Infrequent
Explicitness/Intensity: High
Purpose: Gratuitous

A censored 81-minute video was passed with an R-rating in September 1985. The rating was awarded for ‘violence’ which was described as:
Frequency: Infrequent
Explicitness/Intensity: Medium
Purpose: Gratuitous

The Aftermath (1982) - VHS videotape 1
VHS – Platinum Video

G.A International did not issue the tape. Instead, it was eventually released by Platinum Video with a runtime of 88:45.

Platinum Video cuts

Matt reports.
VHS (us) – 94:40 (NTSC) ≈ 90:53 (PAL)
Platinum Video (au) – VHS – 88:45

The credits should begin with ‘The Nautilus Film Company Presents’. However, in the PV version, you can hear the opening music playing, but the screen shows a video generated card saying ‘Screen World Video Productions’.

I identified four scenes that were definitely censored.

Head explosion
08:00 – Cutter’s Men are shown shooting the male prisoners. One of them is shot with a shotgun causing his head to explode. Only the aftermath is shown and not the explosion.

Attempted rape No. 1
Before – Cutter (Sid Haig) forces himself onto a female prisoner. She picks up a bottle as he looks up suspiciously.
Censored at 40:00 approx. – She smashes the bottle into his neck and runs from the room. As she escapes, he fires his gun and misses. This is an odd scene to remove as surely it shows the girl getting her revenge.

Attempted rape No. 2
Censored at 57:00 by 0.1:00 approx. – Cutter and his men have discovered a group of survivors. They shoot the two children (off-screen), kill the man and pull the woman from the ute. They tear her top off and attempt to pull down her underwear as she struggles. Cutter looks on and laughs. This scene is missing from the PV version and was probably removed entirely because it was easier to take out the whole thing.

Death of Getman
Before – Newman (Steve Barkett) and Getman (Alfie Martin) are shown struggling on the ground. Newman says ‘Smile for me now Getman’.
Censored at 86:00 approx. – Newman says ‘This is for Helen’ as the knife is shown pushing into Getman. ‘This is for Matthews’ the knife pushes in more. Finally. he says ‘This is for Sarah’ as he pushes the knife in, twists and pulls it out.
Afer – It continues with him saying ‘This is for Laura’ as he stabs Getman in the head.

Barbarian Queen

Directed by Héctor Olivera / 1985 / USA / IMDb

In September 1985, CBS/Fox Video had a 70-minute VHS of BARBARIAN QUEEN passed with an R-rating.

It was awarded for violence, which was described as:
Frequency: Frequent
Explicitness/Intensity: Medium
Purpose: Gratuitous

This 70:15 version was released on Medusa/CBS/Fox Video.

Barbarian Queen (1985) - VHS videotape 1
VHS – Medusa-CBS/Fox

In October 1985, a 76-minute VHS was Refused Classification due to ‘gratuitous sexual violence’. It is unclear why a censored version was rated before an uncut one.

In America, BARBARIAN QUEEN was released on tape in two versions by Vestron Video. The first was the MPAA R-rated print and the second was fully uncut.

Movie-Censorship has a comparison between the two.

Censored Medusa/CBS/Fox Video

Medusa/CBS/Fox Video – VHS – 70:15 – Censored from uncut version.
Contains scenes that are not found in the MPAA R-rated print. This was presumably done to make up the running time and mask the censorship.

Censored by 00:15 – A group of soldiers capture a girl, open her top, touch her breasts and begin to rape her.
This is in the MA15+ DVD.

Captured girl
Before – A group of soldiers corner a girl in the town.
Censored by 00:15 – They rip her top off, pull her to them and say ‘I’ve got to hand it to those rebels’ and ‘You went first last time, this one’s mine’.
This is in the MA15+ DVD.

The Rape of Amethea
Before – Zohar says, ‘You are making a contribution to science’ and jumps up to her.
Censored – The shots of the rape and him being crushed by her legs.
After – Amethea (Lana Clarkson) says ‘Can I’, before pushing him into the acid bath.
This is the largest cut. Surprisingly, the Medusa/CBS/Fox Video still contains the 00:11 at the start where the Zohar touches her breasts with the claw and says ‘You must learn not to struggle’.
Again, this scene originates from the uncut version and was missing from the MPAA R-rated print.
Part of this scene is included in the MA15+ DVD.

MPAA R-rated version

In May 2008, Big Sky Video had a DVD of BARBARIAN QUEEN passed with an MA15+ (Strong violence and sexual violence) rating.

The disc was released through Beyond Home Entertainment.

This was the 70:26 censored MPAA R-rated print. It contains most of the footage that caused the 1985 refusal. See the aforementioned Movie-Censorship site for a full comparison.

Barbarian Queen (1985) - DVD cover 1
DVD – Big Sky Video

The DVD was reissued with an alternative cover and also on a triple-bill disc with THE SWORD AND THE SORCERER (1982) and THE BEASTMASTER (1982).

Still waiting for an uncut version

Two cuts of BARBARIAN QUEEN have been released in Australia.

Medusa/CBS/Fox Video (1985) – VHS – 70:15 – Censored from uncut version.
Big Sky Video (2008) – DVD – 70:26 – Censored MPAA R-Rated version.

Robot Ninja

Directed by J.R. Bookwalter / 1989 / USA / IMDb

In 1990, a 90-minute VHS of ROBOT NINJA was banned was by the OFLC.

Palace Entertainment was the applicant.

Reason for refusal

Matt reports.
Cinema Home Video (us) – VHS – 79:26 (NTSC)
Appears to be uncut despite running 10-minutes shorter than the refused version.

The rape scene at 10:00 is not particularly graphic. Undoubtedly, it was the violence that caused the refusal.

13:30 – Susan (Lori Kozar) getting shot in the face.

33:00 – Buddy Revelle (Bill Morrison) stabbed in the eyes by Robot Ninja (Michael Todd).

39:00 to 42:00 – Robot Ninja cutting off a man’s hand, Sanchez (Maria Markovic) stabbing Robot Ninja in the wrist and the cop shooting a man in the chest.

55:00 – Sanchez putting gun in in Dr Goodknight’s (Bogdan Pecic) eye and shooting.

64:00 to 70:00 – The climax where various gang members are shot and stabbed before Robot Ninja commits suicide by shooting himself in the head.