American Horror Films – Page 2

1970s American horror movies, cut and banned before the November 1971 liberalisation of the Australian censorship system.

Count Yorga, Vampire

Directed by Bob Kelljan / 1970 / USA / IMDb

Date: 11-1970 / Rated: A / Length: 7898 feet / Time: 87:45 / Censored by 01:06 / Reason: violence and indecency

Censored footage

Shane Harrison reports.
Twilight Time (us) – Blu-ray – 92:46 (NTSC) – Includes 00:09 opening and 00:06 closing MGM logos.

COUNT YORGA VAMPIRE was a massive success in Australia and ensured future horror films got regular releases. In America, AIP wanted a drive-in friendly GP rating, so they were forced to send the film to the MPAA six times. A couple of minutes were taken out to reduce the sex and violence. In Australia, a further minute was then removed for an A (Not Suitable for Children) certificate.

My understanding is that the title THE LOVES OF COUNT IORGA VAMPIRE was the uncut print before editing began at the MPAA. However, whatever the title, all the home entertainment prints I have are uncut.

Separate from this, some skin scenes were filmed so it could be rereleased as a nudie, should it bomb as a horror film. This softcore footage was absent from all prints submitted to the MPAA as, at that point, the producers were not going with the nudie angle. An extra on the Blu-ray shows photos of fully nude Erica (Judith Lang) and Paul (Michael Murphy) making love with cameras filming. This appears to be a softcore porn alternate for the very discreet love scene at 22:36, which itself ended up being removed for the GP rating.

The cut American GP version screened on Australian TV in the 1970s, revealing the minute or so our censors removed for the theatrical release.

I understand Twilight Time’s Blu-ray to be the uncut print before it was tampered with by the MPAA. Two-thirds of the missing footage was removed before the film arrived here. My memories of the GP version are that apart from the removal of all views of the cat eating, most cuts made in Australia were to tone down the gore during the last 12-minutes. The majority of the cuts earlier in the film appear to be the handiwork of the MPAA.

This is what was removed for the GP version and the additional footage that was cut for the Australian A (Not Suitable for Children) certificate.

Censored at 22:36 by 00:45 approx. – Montage of lovemaking between Erica and Paul.

Censored at 33:15 by 00:52 – Erica eating her pet cat. This was toned down in the GP version, but all remaining footage was removed for the Australian release. The moment Paul enters the bedroom, it cuts to Erica getting a blood transfusion while she apologises for what she did. In Australia, it was a complete mystery as to what he had caught her doing.

Censored at 44:20 by 00:13 – Erica caressing her breasts at her bedroom window while awaiting the arrival of Count Yorga (Robert Quarry).

Censored at 46:11 by 01:05 – Yorga repeatedly sucks Erica’s blood as she responds sexually.

Censored at 71:35 by 00:20 – View of Donna (Donna Andrews) on the ground as Brudah (Edward Walsh) gets on top of her. In Australia, there was no indication that she was raped, which makes nonsense of Brudah’s apology to Count Yorga afterwards.

Censored at 82:49 by 0010 – View of Yorga watching his three vampire brides feast on Dr Jim’s (Roger Perry) blood. In the Australian print, only a few seconds remained of them feeding as Yorga departs.

Censored at 83:36 by 00:09 – Second view of a bloodied Paul as he dies in front of Michael (Michael Macready). The first view of his face was the only one left in the Australian print. I do not recall if these cuts came from the GP version.

Censored at 84:11 by 00:04 – Third view of Paul’s savaged face and bloodied left eye socket.

Censored at 84:58 – Removal of the second and third stabbing of Brudah in the stomach. In the Australian print, he was stabbed once only and it was bloodless. I do not recall if these cuts came from the GP version.

Censored at 85:04 – Close up of the bloody knife in Brudah’s stomach plus some surrounding footage.

Censored at 86:30 – View of a bloodied Dr Jim dying on the floor, reduced to one establishing shot only.

Censored at 88:44 by 00:01.5- View of Donna’s mother (Marsha Jordan) with a bloody stake in her heart as she falls.

Censored at 88:50 -by 00:02 – View of Donna’s mother lying dead on the floor with a stake sticking out of her bloodied chest.

Censored at 89:29 – Count Yorga staggering around dying with a stake protruding from his chest. This was toned down to minimise views of his bloody wound.

Censored at 90:46 by 00:10 – Panning shot of Donna’s Mother lying dead with a bloodied stake protruding.

Post-November 1971 rating

In August 1984, Roadshow Home Video had a 90-minute tape passed with an M-rating.

The Dunwich Horror

Directed by Daniel Haller / 1970 / USA / IMDb

The original theatrical release was censored for a ‘Not Suitable for Children’ rating.

Presumably, fewer cuts would have been necessary had Roadshow gone with a ‘Suitable only for Adults’ rating instead of the more commercial ‘Not Suitable for Children’.

The Dunwich Horror (1970) - Australian daybill movie poster 1
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Censored footage

Shane Harrison reports.
Scream Factory (us) – Blu-ray – 87:48 (NTSC)

In America, the film had its nudity removed to avoid an R-rating and secure a more profitable M. Three scenes ended up being edited. Australia received this version, before removing more for an A ‘Not Suitable for Children’. Much footage was missing in the print I saw in May 1970 compared to the uncut Australian TV screenings and the 1980s VHS release.

Censored at 23:56 by 01:11 approx. – Second half of Nancy’s (Sandra Dee) sex dream. She wakes up in bed in the middle of the countryside as she is being menaced by demons. She runs and is chased through the countryside by topless female demons. Most of the chase was removed but some non-nude views may have remained. The Australian print showed her running from the bed, then being chased for only a few seconds. She opens a door and runs into the lounge room of the house she is staying, before waking up. My understanding, from a couple of different sources, is that this was the American M-rated cut.

Censored at 48.00 – Sandra Dee’s body double fleetingly exposes her breast when groped during a black mass ritual The exposure is around one to two seconds, but I do not know how much extra footage had to be removed to mask the cut as it was trimmed further in Australia.

Censored at 51:47 by 00:14 approx: – Nurse Cora (Talia Shire) being raped by Wilbur’s semi-human/semi ‘other world’ brother. The sequence is in solar print, probably to disguise the poor special effects as the demon looks like an upended disco dancing dish-mop. In Australia, the scene cut around the point where Cora’s dress was ripped off, jumping to the view of her bare back at the end. Again, my understanding is that this was the American M-rated edit.

When the cut version was submitted to the Australian censor, footage of Nancy’s sexual responses during the numerous black mass rituals was also reduced.

Censored at 48:00 by 00:40 approx. – The black mass sequence of Nancy, writhing orgasmically on the alter, as Wilbur starts to grope her. This footage originally contained a fleeting view of the bare breast of Sandra Dee’s body double. In Australia, the black mass ended around the time Wilbur undid his shirt and we saw the pentagram tattooed on his torso.

Censored at 78:57 by 00:31 approx. – Nancy spread out on the alter writhing in a sexual trance.

Censored at 83:40 – More footage of Nancy grinding on the altar was removed. I cannot identify what exact footage was missing, just that this sequence was shorter and less intense.

Censored at 85:11 – Nancy’s writhing was again shortened. Again, I cannot be certain exactly what was removed.

Post-November 1971 rating

In May 1985, Communication and Entertainment had a 90-minute tape passed with an M-rating. It was released on their Star Video label.

America did not get an uncut print until MGM Home Entertainment released it in 2000.

House of Dark Shadows

Directed by Dan Curtis / 1970 / USA / IMDb

Date: 09-1970 / Rated: Banned / Length: 8701 feet / Time: 96:41 / Reason: violence and indecency

Date: 11-1970 / Appeal: Against rejection / Length: 8701 feet / Time: 96:41 / Result: Appeal dismissed by Review Board

Date: 03-1971 / Rated: Banned / Length: 8322 feet / Time: 92:28 / Reason: violence and indecency / Comment: Reconstructed version

Date: 05-1971 / Appeal: Against rejection / Length: 8322 feet / Time: 92:28 / Result: Registration with eliminations / Comment: Reconstructed version

Date: 07-1971 / Rated: SOA / Length: 8322 feet / Time: 92:28 / Censored by 00:04 / Reason: violence / Comment: Reconstructed version

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Censored footage

Shane Harrison reports.
Warner Bros. (us) – Blu-ray – 96:49 (NTSC) – Includes 00:10 MGM logo at start.

HOUSE OF DARK SHADOWS had over four minutes trimmed before being passed with a ‘Suitable Only for Adults’ rating. As expected, the result was a mess, with all the horror removed. In America, it had only been rated GP. This meant parental guidance was suggested and all ages were admitted.

The Australian cuts are as follows.

Censored at 31:06 by 00:05 – View of Carolyn’s (Nancy Barrett) neck after Barnabas (Jonathan Frid) has drunk her blood.

Censored at 31:15 by 00:02 – Another view of Carolyn’s punctured neck.

Censored at 31:23 by 00:43 – Willie (John Karlen) attempts to wipe the blood off Carolyn’s neck before sending her inside.

Censored at 32:31 by 00:16 approx. – Panning shot, tracking up to Carolyn’s neck wound.

Censored at 45:00 by 00:04 – Close-up of undead Carolyn drinking the blood from Todd’s (Don Briscoe) neck.

Censored at 53:24 by 00:07 – Carolyn feeding on Todd.

Censored at 54:56 by 00:25 – Close-up of Carolyn being staked. In Australia, the scene ended the moment the stake was first hit with the mallet.

Censored at 64:58 by 00:15 – Barnabas beats Willie with his walking cane.

Censored at 73:31 by 00:17 – An aged Barnabas attacks Dr Hoffman’s (Grayson Hall) throat.

Censored at 74:07 by 00:02 – Close-up of Maggie’s (Kathryn Leigh Scott) neck wound.

Censored at 79:28 by 00:45 approx. – Barnabas sucks Maggie’s neck, ending with close-ups of his bloodied mouth before he rejuvenates.

Censored at 84:16 by 00:19 approx. – Fight between Jeff (Roger Davis) and Professor Stokes (Thayer David) who is now a vampire.

Censored at 84:43 by 00:06 – More of the fight, with close-ups of the vampire’s bloodied mouth.

Censored at 87:14 by 00:08 – The staking of Roger (Louis Edmonds).

Censored at 87:42 by 00:08 – View of Roger’s staked corpse.

Censored at 92:29 by 00:18 approx. – Barnabas rips the thick arrow out of Willie’s back in slow motion.

Censored at 94:52 by 00:28 – View of thick arrow forced through Barnabas’s back and exploding out the front of his chest in slow motion.

Blood and Lace

Directed by Philip S. Gilbert / 1971 / USA / IMDb

Date: 05-1971 / Rated: Banned / Length: 7784 feet / Time: 86:29 / Reason: violence

The Incredible 2-Headed Transplant

Directed by Anthony M. Lanza / 1971 / USA / IMDb

Date: 06-1971 / Rated: Banned / Length: 7762 feet / Time: 86:15 / Reason: violence and indecency

Post-November 1971 rating

In December 1974, Roadshow Distributors had a 2365.86-meter (86:14) print passed with an R-rating.

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CBS/Fox was awarded an M (Occasional violence) rating for an 84-minute tape in June 1990.

The Incredible Invasion

aka Alien Terror

Directed by Jack Hill – Juan Ibanez / 1971 / Mexico – USA / IMDb

Date: 12-1970 / Rated: Banned / Length: 7816 feet / Time: 86:51 / Reason: violence

Post-November 1971 rating

In May 1988, Communications and Entertainment received an M-rating for a 78-minute videotape. It was submitted as ALIEN TERROR.

The Return of Count Yorga

Directed by Bob Kelljan / 1971 / USA / IMDb

Date: 09-1971 / Rated: SOA / Length: 8555 feet / Time: 95:03 / Censored by 01:44 / Reason: violence

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Post-November 1971 rating

In February 1985, Roadshow Home Video received an M-rating for a 95-minute tape. The release was on the Palace Films label.