The movies of Lucio Fulci that have been cut or banned in Australia.
Zombie Flesh Eaters
Directed by Lucio Fulci / 1979 / Italy / IMDb
In February 1980, a 2442.40-meter (89:02) print of ZOMBIE FLESH EATERS was banned in Australia.
The reason given was violence, which was described as:
An unsuccessful appeal was made to the Films Review Board in February 1980.
A censored 2342.60-meter (85:23) print was awarded an R-rating in May 1980, this was following the removal a further 2.3 meters (00:05) of footage.
The extra cuts were made to remove violence, which was found to be:
The censorship reduced the violence in the R-rated version to being:
In all cases, Pacific Telecasters was the applicant.
Following a theatrical run, K&C Video released ZOMBIE FLESH EATERS on their Starbase Video label.
This censored version ran 82:50 (PAL) and was presumably the same as Pacific Telecasters R-rated print.
BBFC X-rated import
In July 1982, Central Video W.A. had an 86-minute tape passed with an R-rating. The print was described as the ‘British reduced version’.
The R-rating was awarded for violence, which was said to be:
This may have been an import of the UK pre-cert on the VIPCO label. The ‘British reduced version’ would refer to their BBFC X-rated tape that ran 85:04 (PAL). They also released an 87:01 (PAL) ‘strong uncut version’.
In December 1987, Video Excellence had a pre-censored 84:28 (PAL) tape of ZOMBIE FLESH EATERS passed with an R-rating.
It was released on their Infinity Video Sales label.
The cover art came from the American Camp Video VHS of GOREMET, ZOMBIE CHEF FROM HELL (1986).
Had Video Excellence sourced an uncut print, then it may have been passed with an R-rating.
Infinity Video Sales cuts
Censored – Dr Menard shooting Ann’s father in the head as he comes back to life. This scene is repeated (in a cut form) at 51:58.
Before – The first cop, who is attending to the sails, hears a scream and looks up.
Censored at 06:24 – Zombie biting the neck of the second cop and blood pumping from the wound.
After – First cop leaving the sails and going to investigate.
Before – Zombie is shot by the first cop and it is briefly shown falling off the boat.
Censored at 07:03 – Zombie falling into the water.
After – Shot of the World Trade Center.
Splinter in eye
Before – Paola having her head pulled toward the splinter.
Censored at 43:15 – Splinter of wood going into Paola’s eye and snapping off.
After – Brief aftermath shot of her face with the broken splinter in her eye.
Shooting of Ann’s Father
Before – The body of Ann’s father coming back to life. Dr Menard raising the gun and shooting.
Censored at 51:58 – Ann’s father being shot in the head.
After – Dr Menard holding the gun up and standing motionless.
Before – Shot of Paola’s hand and a close-up of Ann’s eyes.
Censored at 57:48 – Four zombies eating Paola’s body.
After – Shot of Ann’s face with her now looking down and away.
Before – Zombie rising from the ground as Susan looks on.
Censored at 65:27- Zombie rising from the ground, standing to face Susan and biting her neck. Blood pumping out of the wound and her body falling to the ground.
After – Brian appearing and shooting the zombie in the back.
Before – Zombie turning to face Brian who is holding a gun.
Censored at 65:45 – Shot of the zombie’s face.
After – Peter running to pick up the metal cross.
Before – Peter hitting the zombie with the cross and knocking it to the ground.
Censored at 65:49 – Peter slicing off the top of the zombie’s head with a cross, which exposes its brains.
After – Brian walking towards the body of Susan.
Before – Zombie rising from the ground and a cross slowly falling over.
Censored at 67:03 – Close-up of zombie’s face with worms in the eye socket. Shots of zombies rising from the ground.
After – Peter, Brian and Ann running through the jungle.
Before – Zombie’s hand appearing at the window. Peter coming to close the window and spotting the zombie.
Censored at 72:21 – Peter grabbing a shovel and hitting the zombie in the face. He smashes it over the head, which exposes its brains. Finally, he pushes its body out of the window.
After – Peter dropping the window shut.
Before – Zombie attacking Dr Menard.
Censored at 72:50 – Zombie biting flesh from Dr Menard’s cheek. Menard falling to the ground and the zombie feeding on him.
After – Zombie rising from Menard’s body to face Brian.
Before – Brian raising the gun and shooting.
Censored at 72:59 – Brian shooting a zombie in the stomach, then in the head, before it begins to fall out of shot.
After – Zombie now out of view. Shot of a bloody wall.
Before – Zombie grabbing victims arm.
Censored at 73:44 – Zombie grabbing the arm of a church member and tearing the flesh away. Shot of it with flesh in its mouth.
After – Victim slowly sliding down the wall.
Before – Brian shooting at the zombies.
Censored at 76:07 – Brief shot of Brian shooting a zombie in the head.
After – Group of zombies entering the building.
Before – Peter aiming at a zombie as it rises from the floor.
Censored at 76:16 – Peter shooting a zombie in the head.
After – Brian shooting at zombies.
Before – Peter and Brian throwing Molotov cocktails.
Censored at76:58 – Burning zombie getting its head blown off and a second zombie being shot.
After -‘Two more’ is spoken as Ann hands Brian Molotov cocktails.
Before – Falling, burning wood and the zombies march towards the group.
Censored at 77:12 – Zombie rising through the burning wood before being hit by a large piece of the roof.
After – More shots of falling, burning wood and zombies marching towards the group.
Before – Peter, Brian and Ann running into the back room of the church.
Censored at 77:46 – Zombie spinning around to the camera after being hit in the face. Peter hitting a second zombie and a shot of its bloody face.
After – Peter, Brian and Ann running out of the building.
Before – Brian saying to Peter ‘Shoot her West’.
Censored at 78:20 – Shot of Susan’s face and Brian saying ‘Shoot her, what are you waiting for?’.
After – Peter holding the gun up.
Before – Peter aiming and shooting.
Censored at 78:23 – Susan being shot in the head as Peter looks on, followed by another shot of her face.
After – Peter running to Brian and saying, ‘Come on Brian, let’s get to the boat’.
Uncut footage now R-rated
In September 1988, Virgin Video had a 74-minute tape of ZOMBIETHON (1986) passed with an R-rating.
This was a compilation of clips from various zombie films, the first sixteen-minutes of which was made up of scenes from ZOMBIE FLESH EATERS. It contains the majority of the footage that was missing from the Infinity Video Sales VHS. Only the zombie feast scene (57:48) and a brief shot of zombies rising from the earth (67:03) are not included.
In 1988, if the Film Censorship Board were okay with a compilation of out of context violent clips, then presumably they would have passed the full film uncut.
DVD & Blu-ray releases.
In February 2004, a 91:05 (NTSC) DVD of ZOMBIE FLESH EATERS was passed with an R (High level violence) rating.
Umbrella Entertainment submitted it under the American title, ZOMBIE and released the disc in August 2004.
They re-released it in December 2005 as part of their ULTIMATE ZOMBIE COLLECTION DVD box set.
This also included ZOMBI HOLOCAUST (1980) and BURIAL GROUND (1980).
Most recently, in February 2015, Umbrella issued it on Blu-ray.
City of the Living Dead
aka Gates of Hell
Directed by Lucio Fulci / 1980 / Italy / IMDb
In October 1981, a 2459.62-meter (89:39) ‘pre-censor cut version’ of CITY OF THE LIVING DEAD was censored by a further 9.00-meters (00:20) before being awarded an R-rating.
The reason for the deletion was violence, which was described as:
The R-rating was awarded for:
Hoyts Distribution was the applicant.
Following the theatrical release, K&C Video issued the film on tape.
This censored 87:55 (PAL) print was presumably the same as the version for which Hoyts Distribution received an R-rating.
There may be other cuts, but most obviously, the scenes of the girl vomiting her intestines and Bob’s head drilling, have been removed.
Around 1987, Video Excellence released an 86:06 (PAL) pre-censored version on their Infinity Video Sales label. Unlike their rerelease of ZOMBIE FLESH EATERS, this does not appear to have been submitted for classification.
The VHS was released under the American title, GATES OF HELL. The stills on the rear of the cover come from Camp Video’s release of NIGHTMARE HOUSE (1969).
There may be other missing footage; however, these are the most obvious trims.
30:00 – The girl vomiting up her guts has been shortened, as has the scene of her boyfriend having his brain torn out.
55:00 – Bob having his head drilled has been removed.
DVD & Blu-ray releases
In February 2005, CITY OF THE LIVING DEAD was released on DVD by Siren Visual Entertainment.
This version ran 88:52 and was fully uncut.
A 92:43 Blu-ray was issued in November 2013 under Shock Entertainment’s Cinema Cult range.
They re-released it in October 2014 on DVD and Blu-ray as part of THE GATES OF HELL TRILOGY boxset.
It also included Lucio Fulci’s THE BEYOND (1981) and HOUSE BY THE CEMETERY (1981).
Directed by Lucio Fulci / 1981 / Italy / IMDb
In May 1982, a 2276.69-meter (82:59) ‘pre-censor cut version’ of THE BEYOND was passed with an R-rating. It was awarded for ‘horror’.
The applicant, Greater Union Film Distributors, was presumably anticipating problems so chose to modify the print before submission. The same month they had done the same to HOUSE BY THE CEMETERY (1981).
In February 1985, Palace received an R-rating for an 83-minute tape.
The version they issued on their Palace Explosive label ran 81:46. That was approximately two-minutes shorter than the uncut version.
Palace Explosive cuts list
Palace Explosive (au) – VHS – 81:46
Siren Visual Entertainment (au) – DVD – 83:47
The following is not an exact comparison, so there may be some small trims that have been missed. Times quoted refer to the point in the uncut DVD where the footage was censored from the VHS.
Siren’s DVD begins with a shot of the hotel, over which ‘Louisiana 1927’ is shown. It is missing a one to two-second shot of the Hotel sign that should come before. This is present in the VHS.
Death of the warlock
The VHS removes three shots at 4:20, 4:25, and 4:30 of Schweick being whipped with the chain and the resulting bloody wounds. Each time we only see the shots of those striking the blows. The scene resumes with him being picked up.
The VHS shows the first nail being hammered into his wrist. It cuts at 5:06 to remove the sight of blood weeping from a wound and resumes with a shot of his face before the second nail is hammered in.
Death of Joe the plumber
The VHS shows the start of the scene where Joe’s eye is gouged out but cuts at 17:30 to remove the sight of blood coming from his eye socket.
This is the longest cut in the VHS Beginning at 49:50 it removes the entire scene of the spiders tearing at the Librarian’s lip, nose, eye, and tongue.
Death of Martha
Beginning at 57:35, the VHS removes the entire shot of Martha’s eye being pushed out by the nail.
Death of Emily
The VHS shows the dog attacking Emily’s throat, but cuts at 63:52 as blood begins to appear. The cuts continue with the dog attacking the side of her head, biting off her ear and the slow-motion blood flow.
Death of Jill
The VHS removes the entire shot of the top of Jill’s head being shot off at 78:40.
Protecting our borders from Italian splatter
There are two reported customs confiscations of THE BEYOND.
1991 October – VHS.
See NEKROMANTIK (1987) in the Film Censorship Database No. 1 for more information regarding the above case.
2002/2003 – DVD, Limited Edition Tin, Anchor Bay (USA).
DVD & Blu-ray releases.
In November 2004, Siren Visual Entertainment released THE BEYOND on DVD.
Apart from missing a brief shot of the hotel’s sign at the beginning, the 83:47 disc was uncut.
An 87:27 Blu-ray was issued in November 2013 under Shock Entertainment’s Cinema Cult range.
They re-released it in October 2014 on DVD and Blu-ray as part of THE GATES OF HELL TRILOGY box set.
It also included Lucio Fulci’s CITY OF THE LIVING DEAD (1980) and HOUSE BY THE CEMETERY (1981).
House by the Cemetery
Directed by Lucio Fulci / 1981 / Italy / IMDb
In May 1982, a 2331.55-meter (84:59) ‘pre-censor cut version’ of THE HOUSE BY THE CEMETERY was passed with an M-rating. It was awarded for ‘horror’.
Greater Union Film Distributors, presumably anticipated problems and chose to modify the print before submission. However, it is unclear if they were aiming for such a low classification, or just over-censored the violence.
At the same time they did the same thing to Fulci’s THE BEYOND (1981), though in that case, it received an R-rating.
In May 1985, an 81:10 tape of THE HOUSE BY THE CEMETERY was passed with an R-rating.
The applicant, Roadshow Home Video, released it on tape.
It was missing around one-minute of footage from three different murders scenes.
The First Murder
Before – Girl screams and a shot of a knife held above her head.
Censored at 02:06 – 00:11 missing – Knife being thrust into the back of girls head and exiting through her mouth. A shot body falling to the floor with the knife sticking from her mouth.
After – Shot of dead girl’s hand.
Laura Gittleson’s Murder
Before – Shot of her being stabbed in the stomach with a poker.
Censored at 42:58 – 00:20 missing – Poker stabs her in the heart.
After/Before – Two close-up shots of her face.
Censored at 43:01 – 00:20 missing – The poker moves up to her throat, punctures her jugular vein and blood flows out.
After – Shot of Freudstein dragging her away by the legs.
Before – Bob walking towards the camera.
Censored at 58:37 – 00:05 missing – Further shots of Ann having her throat cut.
After/Before – Bob walking down and around the back of the stairs.
Censored at 58:41 – 00:05 missing -Close-up of the knife cutting Ann’s throat and blood flowing out.
After – Brief shot of Ann falling towards the camera before Bob walks into the room and calls her name.
DVD & Blu-ray
In November 2013, a Blu-ray of HOUSE BY THE CEMETERY (1981) was released by Regency Media under Shock Entertainment’s Cinema Cult range.
They reissued it in October 2014 on DVD and Blu-ray as part of THE GATES OF HELL TRILOGY box set.
It also included Lucio Fulci’s CITY OF THE LIVING DEAD (1980) and THE BEYOND (1981).
The New York Ripper
Directed by Lucio Fulci / 1982 / Italy / IMDb
In September 1984, a 2496.00-meter (90:59) print of THE NEW YORK RIPPER was refused due to violence, which was said to be:
It was censored by nearly five-minutes but was banned again in February 1985.
The violence was now said to be:
Following the second refusal, Greater Union Film Distributors abandoned any hope of a release.
Why it was banned
The violence in THE NEW YORK RIPPER is very graphic, so it easy to see why it struggled to get by the Film Censorship Board. The following times refer to the location of the scene in Stomp Visual’s uncut DVD.
Both the killing of the sex performer with a broken bottle (23:00) and the slashing of Kitty with a razor (70:00) have sexual overtones.
Also, the stabbing of Rosie (10:00), Fay’s hallucination of her murder (37:00), the stabbing of Jane (51:00) and Peter’s bloody demise (83:00) all contain outrageous Fulci gore.
There is one report of a customs confiscation of THE NEW YORK RIPPER.
Early 1990s – VHS.
In July 2001, THE NEW YORK RIPPER was one of eight ‘banned’ movies dropped from the second Melbourne Underground Film Festival.
See database entry for SALÒ, OR THE 120 DAYS OF SODOM (1975) for more information about this case.
Free at last
In August 2005, twenty years after the last ban, an uncut version received an R18+ (High Level Violence) rating.
Stomp Visual released the 87:08 DVD in October 2005.
Their cover promoted the fact that it had been ‘Banned in Australia for over 20 years’.