Hammer Films

1970s Hammer movies that has been cut or banned in Australia.

See also, the Hammer Films page in Film Censorship Database No. 2.


Countess Dracula

Directed by Peter Sasdy / 1971 / UK / IMDb

On November 15th 1971, the R-rating was introduced and the M-rating replaced the SOA (Suitable only for Adults).

Although not being listed in the National Classification Database, it appears in late 1971 COUNTESS DRACULA became one of the first films to be passed with an M-rating. Despite the availability of a higher rating, it was censored to reach a wider audience.

countess-dracula-01	One sheet via moviemem	Countess Dracula (1971) - Australian one sheet poster 1	Countess Dracula (1971) - Australian one sheet movie poster	 countess-dracula-02	DVD - Magna Pacific	Countess Dracula (1971) - DVD cover 1	Countess Dracula (1971) - DVD cover - Magna Pacific - Rank Classics Collection	 demons-of-the-mind-01	VHS - Thorn EMI	Demons of the Mind (1972) - VHS videotape 1	Demons of the Mind (1972) - VHS videotape cover - Thorn EMI Screen Entertainment	 demons-of-the-mind-02	DVD - Universal 	Demons of the Mind (1972) - DVD cover 1	Demons of the Mind (1972) - DVD cover - Universal Pictures Home Video - Midnight Movies Double Feature	 demons-of-the-mind-03	Blu-ray - Universal - Sony	Demons of the Mind (1972) - Blu-ray cover 1	Demons of the Mind (1972) - Blu-ray cover - Universal Sony Pictures Entertainment	 dracula-ad-1972-01	Daybill via moviemem	Dracula A.D. 1972 (1972) - Australian daybill movie poster 1	Dracula A.D. 1972 (1972) - Australian daybill movie poster	 dracula-ad-1972-02	One sheet via moviemem	Dracula A.D. 1972 (1972) - Australian one sheet poster 1	Dracula A.D. 1972 (1972) - Australian one sheet movie poster	 hands-of-the-ripper-01	DVD - MRA Entertainment	Hands of the Ripper (1971) - DVD cover 1	Hands of the Ripper (1971) - DVD cover - MRA Entertainment - Hammer Horror Collection	 vampire-circus-01	One sheet via moviemem	Vampire Circus (1972) - Australian one sheet poster 1	Vampire Circus (1972) - Australian one sheet movie poster	 vampire-circus-02	DVD - MRA Entertainment	Vampire Circus (1972) - DVD cover 1	Vampire Circus (1972) - DVD cover - MRA Entertainment - Hammer Horror Collection
One sheet via moviemem

Shane Harrison reports.
Carlton Visual Entertainment (uk) – DVD – 89:07 (PAL)
The following two scenes were trimmed in the Australian theatrical print.

Neck stabbing
Censored at 34:30 by 00:06 – Close-up view of Countess Elisabeth (Ingrid Pitt) stabbing the Gypsy Girl (Nike Arrighi) in the neck with a bodkin as blood spurts across the screen.

Bare breast
Censored at 36:03 by 00:04 – Imre Toth (Sandor Elès) exposing Countess Elisabeth’s left breast before kissing her nipple.

Video & DVD releases

In June 1985, a 93-minute tape of COUNTESS DRACULA was again classified with an M-rating. We presume this was the full version. At the time, the Film Censorship Board noted that ‘Code reasons unavailable for films originally classified before 1972’.

Despite getting it classified, it does not appear that Thorn EMI Screen Entertainment ever released the video.

In 2005, COUNTESS DRACULA was released on DVD by Magna Pacific as part of their Rank Classics range.

Countess Dracula (1971) - DVD cover 1
DVD – Magna Pacific

Hands of the Ripper

Directed by Peter Sasdy / 1971 / UK / IMDb

In February 1972, a 7836-feet (87:04) print of HANDS OF THE RIPPER was banned because of ‘excessive violence’.

U.I.P censored it down to 2333.54-meters (85:03), and in December 1972 it was awarded an M-rating. This cut version played theatrically in Australia.

Possible cuts No. 1

Shane Harrison reports.
While there may be other footage removed, the version of HANDS OF THE RIPPER I saw in 1973 suffered identifiable cuts to its two main murder set-pieces.

Dolly’s murder
38:02 – 00:07 cut.
Anna slicing Dolly’s throat, stabbing her in the neck as she staggers backwards and eventually falling into the bath.
40:45 – 00:09 cut.
All views of Dolly’s body in the bath.

Long Liz’s murder
55:09 – 00:02 cut.
A close up of hatpins penetrating Long Liz’s hand as it is held protectively across her eye.
55:54 – 00:07 cut.
Views of Long Liz kneeling in an alleyway and removing her stabbed hand to reveal her punctured eye.

Another scene that gets the attention, but was surprisingly left uncut here, occurs when the doctor is speared with a sword. He sticks the handle through the doorknob, securing it and then runs in the opposite direction while he slides himself off the sword.

I cannot see where they removed the remaining 01:30 of footage for the M-rated theatrical release. Even if all the violence were deleted, you would not get to two minutes as it contains no sex, drug abuse or anything sensitive.

HANDS OF THE RIPPER was eventually released in 1973, censored with an M-rating. It was distributed on a double bill with TALES FROM THE CRYPT (1972). Surprisingly, this Amicus film was uncut with an M-rating, even though both the X-rated British and American PG versions had been cut.

Possible cuts No. 2

Simon reports.
The scenes of ‘excessive violence’ that caused HANDS OF THE RIPPER to be banned in 1972 would be as follows.

14:00 approx. – The aftermath shot of Mrs Golding pinned to the door with a pole.

36:00 approx. – Anna slashes the throat of Dolly and then stabs her in the neck. This is a very graphic murder for a Hammer film.

53:00 approx. – Anna stabs Long Liz in the eye with hatpins. A short time later, we see her staggering through the street with the pins protruding from her eye.

These are the most graphic scenes in the film. At the time, distributors often targeted an M-rating for horror films, so the two minutes of cuts may have been made with the aim of securing this lower rating.

The MRA Entertainment DVD runs 81:38, which despite the few seconds difference, I would guess is the same as the UK release from Network.

DVD Compare has some interesting information about the international censorship of HANDS OF THE RIPPER, including claims that the murder of Dolly exists in a longer version.

Video & DVD releases

In February 1984 and April 1985, Pioneer Electronic twice had 85-minute videos passed with an M-rating.

Thorn EMI Screen Entertainment had an 85-minute video passed with an M-rating in October 1985.

All three were awarded for violence, which was described as being:
Frequency: Infrequent
Explicitness/Intensity: Medium
Purpose: Gratuitous

We do not believe either of these tapes was released in Australia.

In 2005, MRA Entertainment released an 81:38 (PAL) version of HANDS OF THE RIPPER on DVD.

Hands of the Ripper (1971) - DVD cover 1
DVD – MRA Entertainment

It was part of a HAMMER HORROR COLLECTION box set that included VAMPIRE CIRCUS (1972) and TWINS OF EVIL (1971).


Demons of the Mind

Directed by Peter Sykes / 1972 / UK / IMDb

In July 1972, a 2452.00-meter (89:23) print of DEMONS OF THE MIND was banned because of ‘excessive violence’.

MGM/BEF Film Distributors unsuccessfully appealed to the Films Board of Review in August 1972.

BBFC cuts & Australian RR reasons

Review by Simon
According to the IMDb, three scenes in DEMONS OF THE MIND were modified by the British Board of Film Classification when it was first released. Presumably, this already trimmed BBFC version was what the Australian censor banned in 1972. The BBFC made cuts to the following scenes. The times are taken from the Australian Thorn EMI video that runs 84:47 (PAL).

35:00 approx. – Over a close up image of Zorn’s eye, we see his wife cut her own throat, followed by images of her dead body. The image was blurred to obscure what was going on.

66:00 approx. – When Emil murders Inge, the shots of him suffocating her with soil were removed. The aftermath of her topless and bloody dead body, with soil in her mouth, remains in the BBFC and Thorn EMI versions.

71:30 approx. – The murder of Aunt Hilda by Emil was toned down. However, the scene remains graphic enough as he stabs her in the throat with a set of keys.

All of the footage removed by the BBFC is reportedly lost.

What remains of Inge and Aunt Hilda’s death is still quite strong, as is the climactic death of Zorn where his hand is chopped off and he is staked with a burning cross. Presumably, the Australian censor received the pre-cut BBFC print, so I guess these two sequences that caused the problem.

DEMONS OF THE MIND is an interesting example of the changing standards in Australian censorship. A film that was banned in 1972 could go on to receive an M-rating 1984.

Video, TV, DVD & Blu-ray releases

In November 1984, an 84:47 (PAL) tape was passed with an M-rating. It was awarded for violence, which was described as being:
Frequency: Infrequent
Explicitness/Intensity: Medium
Purpose: Gratuitous
…and also for ‘Horror’.

Demons of the Mind (1972) - VHS videotape 1
VHS – Thorn EMI

Thorn EMI Screen Entertainment released the film on video in 1985.

It reportedly screened on ABC in the late 1980s/early 1990s.

In 2005, Universal Pictures Home Video released DEMONS OF THE MIND on a Midnight Movies Double Feature DVD with FRIGHT (1971). The running time was 84:48.

Demons of the Mind (1972) - DVD cover 1
DVD – Universal

It was later re-released as a stand-alone disc.

Demons of the Mind (1972) - DVD cover 2
DVD – Universal

This was followed in 2017 by a Blu-ray release from Universal Sony Pictures Entertainment.

Demons of the Mind (1972) - Blu-ray cover 1
Blu-ray – Universal – Sony

This disc was not passed with an MA15+ (Strong themes and violence) rating until February 2018.

The extended classification information described,
Strong impact: themes, violence
Moderate impact: Nudity, sex
Very mild: Language


Dracula A.D. 1972

Directed by Alan Gibson / 1972 / USA / IMDb

In July 1972, a 2644.15-meter (96:23) print of DRACULA A.D. 1972 was censored for an M-rating.

Dracula A.D. 1972 (1972) - Australian daybill movie poster 1
Daybill via moviemem

The Film Censorship Board’s information contains an error as they claim it was cut by 51.51-meters, which calculates as 01:52. However, they also list a running time of 01:05, which would give a length of 30.00-meters. Therefore, we assume the cuts were either 01:05 or 01:52 in length.

Warner Bros was the applicant.

Dracula A.D. 1972 (1972) - Australian one sheet poster 1
One sheet via moviemem

Shane Harrison reports.
There may have been more than one version in distribution. I saw it at the drive-in and it was definitely the American PG print as I noted that the MPAA rating card appeared at the start of the film.

Video & DVD releases

In October 1988, a 92-minute PAL tape was passed with an M-rating. We presume this was the uncut version.

Corporate Video was the applicant. It was released by Warner Home Video.

DRACULA A.D. 1972 was passed by the Classification Board for the third time in October 2005. This time Warner Home Video received an M (Moderate horror violence) rating for a DVD.


Vampire Circus

Directed by Robert Young / 1972 / UK / IMDb

In June 1972, a 7918-feet (87:58) print of VAMPIRE CIRCUS was banned because of ‘excessive violence’. It was re-submitted in September 1972 in a censored version that ran 2338-meters (85:13), but this was also Refused Registration.

An R-rating was finally awarded in February 1973. The Censorship Board described the 2353.65-meter (85:47) print as a ‘new version’.

Vampire Circus (1972) - Australian one sheet poster 1
One sheet via moviemem

20th Century Fox went on to release it theatrically.

Australian & BBFC cuts

Simon reports.
The MRA Entertainment DVD of VAMPIRE CIRCUS runs 83:18 (PAL) and is the same as the UK Carlton Visual Entertainment disc. This is reportedly the British theatrical version, which I presume was what was initially submitted in Australia in June 1972.

Scenes that may have contributed to the Australian ban include the throat-cutting (06:00), the whipping of Anna (09:30), the panther attack on the family (42:00), the mutilated bodies of the panther’s victims (44:00) and Hauser’s burnt face (75:30). Many of these scenes reportedly had problems with the British Board of Film Classification (BBFC), but most were eventually reinstated.

The exact censorship of the BBFC approved version is still somewhat unclear. However, a shot in the pre-credits sequence, where a man is stabbed in the eye with a dagger, is still missing. This was part of the footage that the BBFC insisted on removing, but is now presumed lost.

Video, DVD & TV screenings

In June 1985, Thorn EMI Screen Entertainment had an 83-minute video was passed with an R-rating. We do not believe this tape was released.

During the 1990s, VAMPIRE CIRCUS frequently played late at night on ABC TV.

MRA Entertainment released VAMPIRE CIRCUS on DVD in 2005.

Vampire Circus (1972) - DVD cover 1
DVD – MRA Entertainment

The film ran 83:18 (PAL) and was part of a HAMMER HORROR COLLECTION box set that also included HANDS OF THE RIPPER (1971) and TWINS OF EVIL (1971).


back to top of page arrow