Unconfirmed Censorship

The titles covered on this page are a selection of movies that may have been censored for distribution in Australia.

Please e-mail us if you have any further information about any of these cases.


Because of the Cats

Directed by Fons Rademakers /1973 / Netherlands – Belgium / IMDb

In September 1977, a 2579.00 meter (94:00) print of BECAUSE OF THE CATS received an R-rating.

Because of the Cats (1973) - Australian daybill movie poster 1
Daybill via moviemem

The applicant, Filmways Australasian Distributors, released it theatrically.

Because of the Cats (1973) - Press sheet 1
Press sheet via moviemem

Is the VHS uncut?

In April 1984, Video Classics had a 92-minute tape passed with an R-rating. It was awarded for violence and sex, which were described as being:
Violence
Frequency: Frequent
Explicitness/Intensity: Medium
Purpose: Gratuitous

Sex
Frequency: Infrequent
Explicitness/Intensity: Medium
Purpose: Gratuitous

Because of the Cats (1973) - VHS videotape 1
VHS – Video Classics

The cover title is THE RAPE BECAUSE OF THE CATS. The exact running time needs to be confirmed.

Did Filmways censor it?

Matt reports.
One 7 Movies (us) – 2014 DVD as BRUTALIZATION – 97:48 (NTSC)

This title is infamous for the rape of Mrs Maris (Delia Lindsay) as her husband (Roger Hammond) is forced to look on. Starting at 5:13, the point the gang grabs her, the scene runs over 4-minutes.

Interestingly, the Filmways print is 3:48 shorter than the uncut DVD. If this scene went unmentioned in the Film Censorship Board’s report, it would confirm modifications before submission. The Video Classics tape would not necessarily be the same print.

The same scene was the cause of cuts to the 1974 US R-rated, 1975 BBFC X-rated and 1980 New Zealand R18 releases. The latter had a reported running time of 95:00.


The Howling

Directed by Joe Dante / 1981 / USA / IMDb

In February 1981, a 2454.14 meter (89:27) print of THE HOWLING received an R-rating.

It was awarded for:
Sex
Frequency: Infrequent
Explicitness/Intensity: Medium
Purpose: Gratuitous

Violence
Frequency: Frequent
Explicitness/Intensity: Medium
Purpose: Gratuitous

…and also for ‘horror’.

Later that month, a successful appeal saw the Films Board of Review reduce it to an M.

The Howling (1981) - Australian one sheet poster 1
One sheet via moviemem

Hoyts Distribution, the applicant, released it theatrically in April. Their accompanying press sheet erroneously listed it as 2479.00 meters (90:22).

Video & Laserdisc

In 1982, Embassy Home Entertainment released THE HOWLING on tape. The cover did not mention a rating. When video classification became mandatory in 1984, confused dealers attached either an M or an R-rating sticker.

The Howling (1981) - VHS videotape 1
VHS – Embassy

In May 1984, Valley View Video Library had an 88-minute tape classified with an M-rating for ‘horror’. It may have been the first submission of the Embassy Home Entertainment release.

An 88-minute laserdisc from Pioneer Electronics received an R-rating in October 1985. This time, the reason was violence, that was said to be:

Frequency: Frequent
Explicitness/Intensity: Medium
Purpose: Justified

…and also for ‘horror’.

The disc came from Embassy Home Entertainment.

Later the same month, an 88-minute video from Communications and Entertainment was awarded an R-rating for the same reasons. CEL released it as part of their Starscreen sell-through range.

The Howling (1981) - VHS videotape 2
VHS – CEL

All of the above running times appear to be PAL.

DVD, Blu-ray & 4K

The first Australian DVD appeared in 2004 from Universal and had no extras. Consumer advice was absent as it carried the 1980s R-rating.

Universal Pictures had a ‘Special Edition’ DVD rated R18+ (High level sexual violence) in February 2009.

The Howling (1981) - DVD cover 1
DVD – Universal

A 2010 reissue rebadged it as part of THE FULL MOON COLLECTION.

Both contained an 03:54 extra titled ORIGINAL FAKE PORN MOVIE. In March 2009, its inclusion led to DVDs being ‘Rejected’ by the BBFC in the UK and deemed ‘Objectionable’ by New Zealand’s OFLC.

March 27, 2009
This is a depiction of several men raping a woman. It plays without a soundtrack, commentary or any other meaningful explanation of context (in the feature only brief snippets of this footage are playing on a TV set in one scene). The effect is gratuitous and disturbing. The component presents rape as entertainment, to such an extent and degree, and in such a manner, that the availability of the DVD is likely to be injurious to the public good.

An excision was offered to remove the component. The distributor declined to make this excision, and the DVD is therefore classified as objectionable.

– Classification Office Decision
– New Zealand Office of Film & Literature Classification

A 118-minute Special Edition Blu-ray followed in March 2010 and was again rated R18+ (High level sexual violence). The Region B disc featured New Zealand’s R16 classification alongside Australia’s R18+. It explains the absence of the ORIGINAL FAKE PORN MOVIE extra.

A bare-bones DVD appeared in 2013 from Payless Entertainment. The cover retitles it as THE HOWLING: THE BEASTS with the previous R18+ (High level sexual violence).

In September 2021, it dropped to MA15+ (Strong sexualised nudity, supernatural themes, violence and sexual violence) following a submission of a 183-minute CLASSICS REMASTERED edition from StudioCanal.

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

Again, the ORIGINAL FAKE PORN MOVIE was missing, hence the lower rating.

Did Hoyts censor it?

The 89:27 running time does point to Hoyts making precuts before submission. In the UK, a 90:18 print received an X-rating for theatrical release, and the Hoyts press sheet incorrectly lists 90:22. Uncut DVDs and Blu-ray all run between 90 and 91-minutes.

In addition, later uncut 1980s submissions soon bumped it back from M to R.

Confirmation is still required, but the evidence points to a censored Australian theatrical release.