Australian Films of the 2000s & 2010s

Australian movies that have been cut or banned by the Classification Board.


Sensitive New Age Killer

Directed by Mark Savage / 2000 / Australia / IMDb

An 88-minute 35mm print of SENSITIVE NEW AGE KILLER received an R (Medium level violence, Adult themes) in July 2000. The violence was described as:
Frequency: Infrequent
Explicitness/Intensity: Medium
Purpose: Justified

In February 2001, an 87-minute censored version saw it rerated to MA (Medium level violence, Medium level sex scenes). Both the sex and violence were:
Frequency: Infrequent
Explicitness/Intensity: Medium
Purpose: Justified

In both cases, the applicant was Hitman Productions.

The MA version opened theatrically on 31 May.

Home viewing options

20th Century Fox Home Entertainment released the 83:42 (PAL) modified version on both VHS and DVD in January 2002.

Sensitive New Age Killer (2000) - VHS cover 1
VHS – 20th Century Fox

What was censored?

Director, Mark Savage reports.
The R handed down to SNAK came with three pages of problematic areas. I simply cut one scene and that changed the rating.

In the R version, Paul (Paul Morris) goes back into the train and finds the guy still alive, with half his face blown off and quivering like a petrified leaf. He sits down opposite him and asks quite seriously how it feels to be dying. The guy reaches out for Paul’s gun, directs it to his own heart and implores Paul to kill him. He hesitates and then pulls the trigger.

July 11, 2000
Violence: The film contains several strong depictions of realistic violence with a high impact which are not gratuitous or exploitative.

22.00 mins. After a shootout, one man has been hit in the shoulder and is seen inside a train carriage grimacing and moaning from the visible bloodied wound. He has a further exchange of fire with Paul who then sets off a grenade inside the carriage. When Paul re-enters the man is lying in a twisted heap on a seat, his face a bloodied mess on one side. The man is twitching and jittery as Paul sits opposite him and asks what it feels like. The man pleads to be shot so Paul shoots him at close range in the stomach, the body lurching backwards.

– R-rated
– Classification Board report

In the MA version, Paul throws a grenade at the guy he is shooting it out with inside the train carriage; he then leaps from the carriage as it explodes with the guy in it. We then cut to Paul running back to his car and being joined by George (Kevin Hopkins).

February 20, 2001
Violence: Generally depictions of violence do not have a high impact. Depictions with a high impact are infrequent and are not prolonged or gratuitous.

The Board notes that other scenes of violence could be accommodated at a lower level. In the Board’s view, the upbeat soundtrack accompanying the revised version of the film lessens the impact somewhat as the tone is lighter and the farfetched nature of the violence is enhanced.

In conclusion, the Board notes the removal of a scene at approximately 22 minutes that was considered to be the strongest portrayal of violence. The Board is of the view that the film now warrants an MA classification.

– MA-rated
– Classification Board report

It’s a shame we had to cut this as it shows a curious, empathetic side to Paul. Clearly, the OFLC did not agree.

Missing uncut version

Currently, there appears to be no way to view the R-rated SENSITIVE NEW AGE KILLER.

The Mark Savage box-set, SAVAGE SINEMA FROM DOWN UNDER, includes the censored version. Subversive Cinema released this in the US in 2006.

The audio commentary makes no reference to the OFLC issues. However, the stills gallery includes make-up effects for the deleted scene.


The Shadowers

Directed by Monika Tichacek / 2004 / Australia

THE SHADOWERS, a three-screen video art, played at Melbourne’s ACMI Australian Culture Now Festival in June 2004. Following complaints, it moved to a small theatre with a security guard at the door and was restricted to three hours per day.

Between April and May 2005, it screened at Sydney’s Artspace Visual Arts Centre. During this time, they were contacted by the Office of Film and Literature Classification (OFLC) and told the work should be classified. The granting of a one-off exemption allowed the exhibition to continue for the remaining two days.

It moved to Sydney’s Sherman Galleries in June. However, spooked by the OFLC’s threats, they played it safe and displayed only still images from the work.

June 14, 2005
LIZ FOSCHIA: Artspace has been exhibiting video art since it opened in the 1980s and this was its first encounter with the OFLC.

David Cranswick runs D’lux Media, which mounts exhibitions, and says many galleries have reported receiving the same scrutiny.

DAVID CRANSWICK: The word’s out. When I’ve been going to openings etcetera, questions have been coming up.

LIZ FOSCHIA: Des Clark is the Director of the Office of Film and Literature Classification and says video art fits very much into the definition of film in its legislation.

DES CLARK: There is a requirement that all film should be classified or should have an exemption and that fits very much with video that’s shown in art galleries.

LIZ FOSCHIA: The Office requires galleries to register as an organisation.
Mr Clark says there’s a fee to have video art classified, and he acknowledges the response so far from galleries has been tepid to say the least.

DES CLARK: I think artists have tried to keep away from the OFLC and art galleries and museums as well, but because there’s so much dependence on film now to show all nature of product, that these requirements are beginning to kick in.

– Video art under scrutiny
article @ abc.net.au

June 23, 2005
Tania Doropoulos. Artspace
“I was contacted by the board [office] stating they were aware we were screening the work and that we needed to apply for classification,”

“We left it for a while and they recontacted me and said according to Australian law all forms of video art practice fall into this heading of ‘film’. You now need to make an application, get an exemption or make an application for classification.”

“Since that happened, I’ve spoken to other gallery curators and directors. No one was really aware of this and it’s really shocking,”

“For one particular type of contemporary art practice to be classified is absurd.”

“The money [to classify] would probably more than likely come out of the artist’s own pocket which is really quite unfair because video work is usually made on such a low budget.”

Lisa Corsi, Sherman Galleries
“I had been in conversation with Tania [Doropolous] and was well aware of what she’d been going through,”

“We decided it would have been better to show the Sydney audience a different aspect of Monika’s practice and at the same time avoided issues with the OFLCB.”

– Video art caught in censor’s web
article @smh.com.au

More OFLC warnings

In 2006, the work went on display at the Art Gallery of NSW.

November 17, 2006
THE SHADOWERS will be shown at the gallery in a darkened room shielded by a velvet curtain. A sign will warn visitors the work is not suitable for children.

[OFLC] director, Des Clark, said all galleries were required to apply for either classification or an exemption for any moving image. “I expect that an appropriate application will be made [by the Art Gallery of NSW]. It is up to them to understand the law.”

[Director, Edmund] Capon said the gallery had made no application, even though the work would be part of an exhibition that opens today.

– Dark work put back in spotlight
article @smh.com.au

THE SHADOWERS ran for 35:16, and at the time, the OFLC charged $770 to classify the first 15:00 of film.

It ran unclassified from 17 November 2006 until 11 February 2007. A warning at the entrance stated, ‘This work contains stylised violence and is not suitable for people under 15. Under 15s must be accompanied by a parent or guardian’.

The aftermath

In 2011, the ABC discussed Monika Tichacek, Bill Henson, Andres Serrano’s PISS CHRIST (1987) the difficulty of classifying art.

Unsurprisingly, the 2011 inquiry into the Australian classification system, Chaired by Guy Barnett (Liberal), would release a final report favouring more censorship.

May 8, 2011
Christopher Marshall: Well, it increases the ambiguity value inherent in trying to control and regulate art. And that’s part of why I love art; that’s why it’s so fascinating and so complex. If you take a work such as THE SHADOWERS by Monika Tichacek, which was shown at ACMI in 2004, that’s a really confronting work.

Amanda Smith: I don’t know this work.

Christopher Marshall: Extremely confronting video work which involved sadomasochism—quite graphic, quite confronting—it was shown originally as a big exhibition, Australian Culture Now, which was also a really wide-ranging survey of contemporary art, but ACMI was understandably worried about the response to this work…

Amanda Smith: This is the Australian Centre for the Moving Image…

Christopher Marshall: …Australian Centre for the Moving Image was very worried about the response to the work. And in effect what they did is really what is being suggested now; they made the decision to classify it themselves. So they classified the work as…

Amanda Smith: They submitted it for classification?

Christopher Marshall: …R-rated. Well they themselves did. R-18+ and they kept it as a separate viewing. Even that wasn’t enough. It was actually then withdrawn from the exhibition.

– Art and censorship
article @ abc.com.au

Further details of THE SHADOWERS troubles at ACMI would later appear.

October 13, 2013
…THE SHADOWERS by Monika Tichacek, was a three-screen affair showing images of Tichacek nailing her tongue to a tree stump and sewing her legs together using giant cross-stitches.

According to a former ACMI curator, 10 days out from the exhibition opening the head of the ACMI board Terry Cutler came into the space and bellowed, ”Where is this work that’s going to destroy ACMI’s reputation?”

– Covering their arts
article @ smh.com.au

Welcome to Greensborough

Directed by Tom McEvoy / 2005 / Australia / IMDb

In 2005, WELCOME TO GREENSBOROUGH had a cast and crew screening at the Royal Melbourne Institute of Technology.

Modified for MUFF

The film was scheduled to have a public premiere at the 2005 Melbourne Underground Film Festival (MUFF). However, scrutiny from the Office of Film and Literature Classification (OFLC) resulted in reshoots.

Director, Tom McEvoy reports.
I had received a recommendation that I change from a source close to the OFLC that heard of the subject matter of the film. I was recommended to change certain scenes to avoid a clash with the OFLC ratings board otherwise; the film was going to be the subject of intense scrutiny.

All of the actors involved in any sexual situations in the film were over 18. However, we did reshoot certain scenes due to what I felt like was ‘over-kill’ of the underage sexuality factor, we toned down certain elements of dialogue.

MUFF screening

On 9 July 2005, a 110-minute modified version of WELCOME TO GREENSBOROUGH had its first public screening at Melbourne’s Kino Dendy.

It would go on to win awards for Best Guerrilla Film and Best Editing.

July 2005
The rise and revenge of Youth! The Australian answer to KIDS, GUMMO and KEN PARK. The first Australian film I know of to have been refused a classification from the OFLC (…a first film historians?). Why? Because this film is about young people, made by young people…that actually dared to have scenes of late teenagers having sex. Shock Horror…that doesn’t go on does it?

This is no Larry Clark drooling over teenagers here; this is young people reflecting their world, where in that world sixteen year old girls fuck sixteen-year-old guys. Well not anymore, director Tom McEvoy had to reshoot his love scenes with actors over 18. So the MUFF version will be ok with our masters and betters at the OFLC. The film features angst-ridden teenagers partying, getting wasted, being bored and generally wondering who sold the youth of the world down the river. Film ends in a gang bang cum rape scene…now that’s how they should have finished SOMERSAULT!

– Melbourne Underground Film Festival

Readers of this site will be aware that this was not the first Australian film to be Refused Classification.

Officially refused

To distribute the film in Australia, it was necessary for Anewave Film Productions to obtain a rating from the Classification Board.

In late 2006, the 118-minute DVD was banned by the OFLC.

Welcome to Greensborough (2005) - Movie poster 1
Posters

Director, Tom McEvoy reports.
I just like to say they can rot in hell. I had to pay $750 approx. for them [the OFLC] to see the film and then have it banned so it can’t be sold anywhere or used to make money in Australia.. I would like to say thanks to all involved.. thanks for making me sound like I make porn le sigh).

November 2006
Synopsis:
A film set in the suburbs of Melbourne in which a group of bored young Australians experiment with alcohol and sex.

Reasons for the decision:

When making decisions the Classification Board (the Board) follows the procedures set out in the Classification (Publications, Films and Computer Games) Act 1995 (the Act). The Board also applies the National Classification Code and the Classification Guidelines, while taking into account the matters set out in Section 11 of the Act.

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 also state that films which exceed the R 18+ or X 18+ classification will be refused classification. This film has a viewing impact which exceeds high and for that reason cannot be accommodated at R 18+.

Explicit sex

The film contains scenes of explicit sexual activity throughout. Extreme close-up shots of actual sexual activity including fellatio, cunnilingus, anal and vaginal penetration are used as a linking device throughout the film.

Examples of this occur in the opening credits of the film. Other examples include but are not limited to;

at 10 minutes a close up of vaginal penetration,
at 29 minutes a close of up vaginal penetration,
at 41 minutes a close up of fellatio,
at 67 minutes a close up of fellatio and
at 82 minutes a close up of cunnilingus.

The Board considers that these depictions of actual sexual activity both within the context of the film and juxtaposed as they are with the portrayals of children, said to be aged 17 and younger and therefore under the age of 18, exceed a viewing impact of high and cannot be accommodated within the R 18+ classification.

Violence

The film also includes an implied depiction of a woman being stabbed repeatedly in her crotch with a knife. The depiction commences at approximately 97 minutes.

The Board notes that this violent depiction and the depictions of children, said to be aged 17 and younger and therefore under the age of 18, throughout the film would preclude the film from being classified X 18+. Additionally, the Guidelines state that the X 18+ classification is a specially and legally restricted category which contains only sexually explicit material. The Guidelines also state that

‘no depiction of violence, sexual violence… is allowed in the category’.

Themes and sex

The film also contains depictions of children, said to be aged 17 and therefore under the age of 18, using aggressive, coarse, sexually explicit and assaultative language, including the verbal exploration of a rape fantasy. Examples of this include but are not limited to the following:

At approximately 20 minutes, a group of young men discuss a young woman and, within the context of their conversation, explore the idea of forcing her to have sex;

“You’d have to force her, fucking rape her or get her drunk.”
“I’d say ‘fuck my cock.'”
“Fuck you up the ass, cunt.”
“Fucking suck my dick, bitch. You dare spit it out and I’ll smack your face”

At approximately 25 minutes, two male characters, said to be 17 years old, are discussing the 14 year old girl that one of them is dating:

“That 14 year old that you have been catching the bus with, that has a bald pussy”
“Isn’t that shit illegal?”
“I’m not fucking her, man”
“She likes fucking tongue and shit.”
“She showed me her tits and her moot, but that’s all”
“I’ve had a look and that’s what she wants.”
“You know when chicks are starting to grow… She’s just starting to grow and she’s getting tits now… Bullshit, bullshit man, she’s got nice, she’s got nice, now fucking great….”
“So how big’s her cunt?”
“You want to know how big her cunt is?”

The film also contains images which depict children, said to be aged 17 and 14 and therefore under the age of 18, implicitly engaging in sexual activity. These depictions include but are not limited to the following:

At 59 minutes two young people, who are said to be a seventeen year old male and his fourteen year old girlfriend, are alone in a bathroom. The male is sitting on the toilet whilst the girl implicitly fellates him. At 60 minutes the girl vomits and says it was because the male made her gag.

At approximately 85 minutes the seventeen year old character Kevin enters a house which is said to be the set of a porn film shoot. He gives the film-makers his false proof of age card, which he has already shown his other friends. Kevin is told to disrobe and then he and the other participants in the film are given explicit instructions on how to behave on the set.

At 91 minutes there are close up images of vaginal penetration said to be happening on-set and depictions of Kevin and the other men implicitly participating in the pornographic film shoot.

The Board considers that these and other uses in the film of aggressive, coarse, sexually explicit and assaultative language, the implied sexual activity and portrayal of participation in a pornographic film and the context in which they involve young people who are said to be under the age of 18 raise the viewing impact of the film to above high and the film cannot therefore be accommodated in the R 18+ classification.

Decision

This film is Refused Classification.

– Classification Board report

110-minute vs. 118-minute version

The DVD that was banned by the OFLC ran eight minutes longer than the Melbourne Underground Film Festival version.

Director, Tom McEvoy reports.
…the version that screened at MUFF was a toned down version, almost a rough cut to the extremes of the finished version. Not to say the finished version is extreme in terms of world cinema standards when measured against IRREVERSIBLE (2002) and ANATOMY OF HELL (2004). KEN PARK (2002) is far more sexually graphic than WELCOME TO GREENSBOROUGH but I guess from an Australian teen film is very confronting.

I’m quite sure the scenes that caused the most issue were the sexual scenes involving the characters aged 14 in the film, mainly a blow-job/gag scene halfway through the film. There’s intense sexual profanity directed towards these characters and also an intense moment of sexual violence at the end of the film.

Background to the RC

November 29, 2006
I refer to your email of 8 November 2006 regarding the classification of the film WELCOME TO GREENSBOROUGH.

The national classification scheme is a cooperative scheme involving the Commonwealth, States and Territories. The Classification Board (the Board) classifies films (including videos and DVDs), computer games and certain publications. When making decisions, the Board applies criteria in the Classification (Publications, Films and Computer Games) Act 1995 (the Act), the National Classification Code (the Code) and the classification guidelines. Commonwealth, State and Territory Ministers with censorship responsibilities agree to the Code and the classification guidelines. I have provided a link to the Guidelines for the Classification of Films and Computer Games (the Guidelines) for your information.

The Guidelines are a tool used by the Board to assist them in applying the criteria in the Code by describing in more detail the nature of the different classification categories, and the scope and limits of the classifiable elements permitted within each category. The six classifiable elements are themes, violence, sex, language, drug use and nudity.

If you refer to the Guidelines, you will also note that each classification category begins with an ‘impact test’ that determines the threshold for the category and lists the classifiable elements accompanied by a statement limiting the content of each element. The impact threshold is described according to the following hierarchy of impact:

very mild – G
mild – PG
moderate – M
strong – MA 15+
high – R 18+
very high – RC

On 3 November the Board determined that the film WELCOME TO GREENSBOROUGH be Refused Classification (RC). In the Board’s view this film warrants an RC classification as, in accordance with the Code, it depicts, expresses or otherwise deals 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’.

The Guidelines also state that films which exceed the R 18+ or X 18+ classification will be RC.

Specifically, the Board considers that the depictions of actual sexual activity; the use in the film of aggressive, coarse, sexually explicit and assaultive language; the implied sexual activity and portrayal of participation in a pornographic film; and the context in which they involve young people who are said to be under the age of 18; raise the viewing impact of the film to above high and therefore the film cannot be accommodated in the R 18+ classification.

The Board also notes that the film includes an implied depiction of a woman being stabbed repeatedly in her crotch with a knife. This violent depiction and the depiction of children said to be aged under 18 throughout the film precludes the film from being classified X 18+.

In your email you ask why material that would otherwise be classified X 18+ is RC due to the inclusion of sexually assaultive language.

The X 18+ classification is a special and legally restricted category which contains only sexually explicit material. That is material which contains real depictions of actual sexual intercourse and other sexual activity between consenting adults. As the only genre-specific classification – being solely concerned with depictions of actual sex – films classified X 18+ do not come within the hierarchy of impact specified in the Guidelines. In addition to assaultive language, you will note from the Guidelines that the classification also excludes:

…depictions of non-adult persons, adult persons that look like they are under 18 years, persons over the age of 18 years portrayed as minors;

…consensual depictions which purposefully demean anyone; an

…fetishes such as body piercing, application of substances such as candle wax, ‘golden showers’, bondage, spanking or fisting.

Owing to the widely differing views held in our community it is not always possible to make decisions which satisfy everyone. I assure you that the Board takes its responsibilities seriously and reflects current community standards when making decisions.

I hope this information assists you.

– To: Mick
– From: Des Clark, Director, OFLC

60 Second Relief

Directed by Rupert Owen / 2006 / Australia

In 2007, 60 SECOND RELIEF was programmed to play at the 8th Melbourne Underground Film Festival (MUFF).

September 2007
Mini MUFF
Local & International Short films curated by Jason Turley
60 SECOND RELIEF
Dir: Rupert Owen / 2006 / Australia / 1 min / Experimental
A challenge to the OFLC.
7pm, Monday 24 September at Loop

– The Melbourne Underground Film Festival

The screening was abandoned after the OFLC’s Amy Wooding refused to grant film festival exemptions to it, and six other features.

For more information regarding this case, see ASHLEY AND KISHA: FINDING THE RIGHT FIT (2007) in Film Censorship Database No. 1.

Hardcore issues

The film opens with the following introduction.

2006
60 SECOND RELIEF
A Film by Rupert Owen
The Office for Film, Literature, and Classification states that ‘Pornography is sexually explicit media that is primarily intended to arouse the audience’ so…
Set
Go!

– Opening credits

What follows is one minute of sped-up footage, similar to the scene in A CLOCKWORK ORANGE (1971), of a couple having sex on a bed. It features hardcore sex, although nothing that would not be able to pass with an X18+, or even R18+ classification.

The director on censorship

September 21, 2007
My film got banned from MUFF as did Tony Comstock’s ASHLEY AND KISHA: FINDING THE RIGHT FIT, as did others. Funny how my short film played the One Minute Film Festival in Switzerland; which was not an underground festival but a fairly mainstream international one without a peep of protest from the chocolate loving Swiss.

I don’t understand the processes at work here. An underground film festival with a target market of people completely prepared for challenging or sense flexing cinema, totally aware of the potential content of the films they are going to see, possibly one hundred percent supportive of subversive or fringe cinema, get audited by a kind of mauve (Pink trying to be purple – to borrow some Whistler) militia who has consulted the mob (to borrow a Henry Miller favourite) and decided that they, and only they shall have the final say on what kind of material is suitable for us as a public to subscribe to.

Why does sex cause all the controversy? It’s sex for goodness sake. It is fucking, humping, fornicating, rooting, copulating, and it is done by billions of people worldwide every day – and that is why there are billions of people worldwide to do it – even if all you want in life is kids, then you got to screw to get them. If I want to add some sort of pseudo religious mockery over the whole process, I’d say that God invented the fuck as some sort of heavenly porn channel. I imagine the angels with their robes hitched, spread eagled on the couch shaped clouds, having a wank to some couple in Greenland going at it in the kitchen.

If I made a short film that had me say spitting on the street – why not pull that film? Surely spitting on the street is considered disgusting? Surely we don’t want our impressionable minds confronted with the slow motion ricochet of mucus bouncing off the pavement and onto the sandal of someone waiting at a bus stop. Surely this anti-social act must be considered something we only do in private in the shower with the lights off and the curtains drawn. It all goes around in circles though doesn’t it? Just look at all the periods in history when values and morals loosened, you see them wedged between periods of rigid conservatism. A younger generation comes bursting through with new ideas, fresh outlooks and approaches, and then they get old becoming stifled and conservative – then their children grow up only to try and tip the scales again … so goes this revolving door of human development.

I’ve never had a film banned by the Office of Literature, Film and Classification before. The thing is that my film was a challenge to the OFLC because their definition of pornography is material intended to arouse, looks like they got aroused in sixty seconds, good for them, it that may just kick their libidos back into business.

– Rupert Owen
– snuffboxfilms.blogspot.com [dead link]

November 13, 2009
…The Australian Sex Party’s Erotic Short Film Festival at Sexpo [2009]. Believe it or not, the festival can’t show any films above an R-Rating. This is Sexpo we are talking about, not some public event where a bit of ball sack would cause a riot. I passed over several of my short works to the ASP and was forewarned that they may be restricted with what content they could show. If you are refused a classification it means that your work can’t have any ‘public’ screening, even if people are well aware and comfortable with what they are about to see. Even if people WANT to see it, they are told they are not allowed to.

– Rupert Owen
– snuffboxfilms.blogspot.com [dead link]

Funniest of Tropfest 2009

Directed by Various / 2009 / Australia

In April 2010, four short films were denied permission to screen in Federation Square as part of the Melbourne International Comedy Festival’s FUNNIEST OF TROPFEST 2009 event.

Donald McDonald, the Director of the Classification Board, refused exemptions after finding them to be ‘…too strong to be shown in this unrestricted environment’.

The names of the four films are unknown. Tropfest’s guide recommends filmmakers go no higher than MA15+ so it is unlikely any exceeded this classification.


Wolf Creek 2

Directed by Greg McLean / 2013 / Australia / IMDb

A 106-minute DCP of WOLF CREEK 2 received an R18+ (High impact violence) in August 2013.

The classification matrix described,
High impact: violence
Strong impact: themes, language
Moderate impact: nudity
Mild impact: drug use, sex

August 26, 2013
Violence in the film is episodic and realistic, as serial killer, Mick Taylor, stalks and kills his victims invariably using knives and guns. The violence results in copious, realistic blood and gore effects and includes decapitation and dismemberment. Sound effects (ie. bones breaking, wet, blood splatter effects) also adds to the impact of the realistic, violent depictions. Examples include but are not limited to the following (with approximate times):

At 7 minutes, Taylor implicitly shoots the top half of a police man’s head off with a rifle as he chases a police car down a road. Seen from a side view, two police men are shown seated in the car as the younger police man driving is suddenly hit by a shot in the head from behind resulting in a large splatter of blood and brain matter splashing onto the windscreen. The post action visual reveals the top half of the man’s head missing as his remains are depicted with realistic blood, flesh and viscera detail. The visual of the dead male is repeatedly shown from various angles throughout the scene.

In an extended scene starting at 27 minutes, Taylor argues with a backpacker, Rutger, who is camping near Wolf Creek. Taylor suddenly pulls out a knife and stabs Rutger in the back. Entry point is shown in close-up and the sound effects of breaking bones are heard as Taylor pulls the knife upwards. He drops Rutger to the ground and walks over to Rutger’s girlfriend who appears from the tent. Taylor slaps her face and as she falls to the ground, he lifts the knife up as if to stab her head. Taylor stabs the ground next to her face and proceeds to tie her hands together above her head. He touches her breasts outside her shirt and rips her underpants off below screen as he straddles her body. Rutger suddenly appears and starts hitting Taylor from behind and the two exchange punches. Taylor finally grabs Rutger and implicitly breaks his neck and proceeds to slice his throat using his large blade. The depiction, shown in close-up, includes Taylor slowly slicing the male’s throat from side to side resulting in a large realistic gaping wound where blood oozes out. Camera pans out as Taylor, still holding Rutger’s head, starts sawing at the dead male’s neck in an explicit depiction. Realistic sound and visual effects include the sound of knife on bone and blood spurts as Taylor finally decapitates Rutger. A post action visual shows Taylor holding Rutger’s blood dripping head up. The following scene cuts between the female waking up and seeing Taylor apparently at work dismembering Rutger’s body. A bloody torso missing arms and legs is seen lying on a bench attached to Taylor’s truck. Taylor turns around and is viewed holding what appears to be a bloody penis in his hand before returning to cut into the torso with a saw. He makes an incision in the abdomen of the bloody torso and pulls out internal organs which he deposits into a box. The visuals include extended and realistic blood, flesh, bone and gore detail.

At 88 minutes, a male is held captive by Taylor and is shown tied to a chair. Taylor grabs the male’s hand and fastens it in a vice. In a close-up depiction, Taylor, using a circular saw, explicitly saws off one of the male’s fingers. Blood spurts as the finger falls off and reveals bone and realistic flesh detail.

– Classification Board report
Wolf Creek 2 (2013) - Australian movie poster 1
Poster – Roadshow – R18+

In December, a censored 104-minute version dropped it to MA15+ (Strong bloody violence and coarse language).

The classification matrix now described,
Strong impact: themes, violence, language
Mild impact: drug use, sex
None: nudity

December 17, 2013
In the Board’s opinion this modified version of the film does not contain any classifiable elements that exceed a strong impact level, therefore this film can be accommodated within the MA 15+ classification with consumer advice of strong bloody violence and coarse language.

Please note that the examples described below do not represent an exhaustive list of the modifications to content that allowed the film to be classified MA 15+.

A scene viewed at approximately 7 minutes, was, in the original version, considered high in impact as it featured post action visuals of a missing section of the top half of a (shot) police officer’s head and bloody remains (including torn flesh and viscera) that were realistic and detailed. In this modified version, the two police officers are viewed face-on through the windscreen as Taylor implicitly shoots the younger police man in the head. This is depicted through the windscreen suddenly being splattered with bloody matter before the car, out of control, goes off the road and crashes. A very brief visual featuring the dead man’s remains in the background is viewed at approximately 9 minutes.

An extended scene viewed at approximately 77 minutes, was, in the original version, considered high in impact as it featured an explicit, close-up depiction of Taylor, using an electrical tool, sawing off one of his victim’s fingers. Blood was viewed spurting as the finger fell off with bone and realistic flesh detail viewed. In this modified version, the removal of the victim’s fingers, while bloody, occurs below screen or is obscured with no explicit injury viewed.

– Classification Board report

The applicant, Roadshow Film Distributors, opened the MA15+ version theatrically in February 2014.

Wolf Creek 2 (2013) - Australian movie poster 2
Poster – Roadshow – MA15+

Attempts were made to justify and downplay the extent of the cuts.

February 18, 2014
Director Greg Mclean said the teenager-friendly downgrade was not a result of commercial compromise.

“I have final cut of the movie so the movie that’s out there is finally my version”

The filmmaker acknowledged, however, that he had resubmitted the sequel with “some very minor tweaks” before it got the MA15+ rating.

Mclean said changes in what society deemed acceptable might have contributed to the lower rating “as well as the fact that WOLF CREEK 2 does have a quite different tone from the original film. This movie is definitely more of an action/thriller.”

– Wolf Creek 2 downgraded to teenager-friendly rating
heraldsun.com.au

Home viewing options

In May 2014, Roadshow Entertainment received three ratings.

  1. Blu-ray, 3 disc, 179-minutes. R18+ as Aug. 2013.
  2. Blu-ray, 119-minutes. MA15+ as Dec. 2013.
  3. DVD, 204-minutes. MA15+ as Dec. 2013.

All were released in June 2014.

The censored MA15+ DVD and Blu-ray have the same ‘hitch-hike’ cover.

Wolf Creek 2 (2013) - Blu-ray cover 2 - Censored
Blu-ray – Roadshow – MA15+

The uncut R18+ Blu-ray has a ‘Mick Taylor’ cover.

Wolf Creek 2 (2013) - Blu-ray cover 1 - Uncut
Blu-ray – Roadshow – R18+

Roadshow’s marketing it as a ‘Director’s Cut’ contradicts Greg McLean’s claim that the MA15+ theatrical print was ‘…finally my version’.

What was censored?

The MA15+ version modified four scenes.

07:00 – The murder of the police officers.
30:00 – The murder and butchering of Rutger (Philippe Klaus).
40:00 – View of Katarina’s (Shannon Ashlyn) body.
84:00 – Violence against Paul’s (Ryan Corr) hand.

GnC Films has an essential YouTube video documenting the cuts and rating history of the film.

The Movie-Censorship comparison times the missing footage at 02:07.

Part 1 – Failed MA15+ appeal

In August 2005, WOLF CREEK (2005) received an R18+ (High level violence, Coarse language, Adult themes).

Roadshow Films appealed to the Classification Review Board for an MA15+. The decision was to uphold the R18+ and change the consumer advice to ‘High level realistic violence, Strong coarse language’.

Despite the restricted rating, WOLF CREEK (2005) was still a box office hit when it opened theatrically in November. At the time, Bradley John Murdoch was on trial for the murder of Peter Falconio. It delayed the Northern Territory release following a request from the NT Director of Public Prosecutions.


The Wiggles: Rock & Roll Preschool

Directed by Anthony Field / 2015 / Australia / IMDb

On 8 January 2015, a 99-minute DVD of THE WIGGLES: ROCK & ROLL PRESCHOOL passed with a PG (Mild themes of grief and loss).

The classification matrix described,
Mild impact: themes
None: violence, language, drug use, nudity, sex

A modified 87-minute DVD received a G (General) rating on 20 January. The classification matrix reduced the themes from ‘mild impact’ to ‘none’.

The Wiggles: Rock & Roll Preschool (2015) - DVD cover 1
DVD – Roadshow

The applicant, Roadshow Entertainment, released the G-rated version on DVD.

What was censored?

The G-rated version was 12-minutes shorter due to the removal of an extra titled GRIEF COUNSELLOR.

Silly G. reports.
Commercial reasons certainly played a hand in censoring the original submission. It is unlikely the uncut version has ever been made available publicly in any form to maintain the brand’s child-friendly G-rated image.


Alex & Eve

Directed by Peter Andrikidis / 2015 / Australia / IMDb

An 87-minute print of ALEX & EVE passed with an MA15+ (Strong coarse language) in June 2015.

The classification matrix described,
Strong impact: language
Moderate impact: themes, sex
Mild impact: nudity
Very mild impact: violence
None: drug use 

The following month, a modified version dropped it to M (Mature themes, Coarse language and Sexual references). The running time remained 87-minutes; however, the classification matrix now described the language as ‘Moderate impact’, rather than ‘Strong’.

Censorship of this nature usually indicates the removal of the word ‘cunt’.

In both cases, Magic Box Entertainment was the applicant.

Alex & Eve (2015) - DVD cover 1
DVD – Magic Box

The theatrical and DVD releases were both M-rated.

No more uncut version?

Silly G. reports.
I believe the producers/distributors decided upon the more commercial M-rating in post-production and edited the films accordingly. I doubt it is available or released in an MA15+ rated form. However, it would be interesting to know if they ever publicly screened it in such a state.


Mystify: Michael Hutchence

Directed by Richard Lowenstein / 2019 / Australia / IMDb

A 102-minute DCP of MYSTIFY: MICHAEL HUTCHENCE was rated MA15+ (Strong coarse language) in May 2019.

The classification matrix described,
Strong impact: language
Moderate impact: themes
Mild impact: drug use, sex
Very mild: violence, nudity

In June, a second 102-minute DCP received an M (Mature themes and coarse language).

The classification matrix now described,
Moderate impact: themes, language
Mild impact: drug use, sex
Very mild: violence, nudity

The applicant, Madman Entertainment, released the censored version theatrically.

It premiered on ABC TV on November 24.

Mystify: Michael Hutchence (2019) - Blu-ray cover 1
Blu-ray – Madman

Madman Entertainment issued it on DVD and Blu-ray the following day.

Censored bad language

The ‘Strong coarse language’ at MA15+ was presumably one or more mentions of ‘cunt’.

The Australian M and UK 15-rated versions contain nothing stronger than ‘fuck’. The censored print appears to be the worldwide default version.