British Horror Films

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


Peeping Tom

Directed by Michael Powell / 1960 / UK / IMDb

The original theatrical release was censored for a ‘Suitable only for Adults’ rating.

Pamela Green topless

Shane Harrison reports.
Criterion (us) – DVD – 101:29 (NTSC)

In the early 1990s, film censorship was discussed in an episode of Sophie Lee’s SEX on Channel 9. Cut footage was shown from several films, including a clip of Milly (Pamela Green), Mark’s final victim in PEEPING TOM. This scene was shot twice, a UK version with very brief nudity and a European version another shot of her breast.

UK version – Criterion DVD
89:33 to 89:43 – Milly lays stretched out with one breast and thigh exposed as Mark’s shadow appears on the bed. Her negligee is closed down the full length of her body.

Peeping Tom (1960) - Pamela Green clothed 1
UK version

89:43 to 89:45 – A side view of Milly with the negligee opened as Mark approaches. The scene starts to fade almost as soon as it begins. This has been touted as the first nude scene in a British movie.

Peeping Tom (1960) - Pamela Green topless 2
UK & European version

European version – SEX episode
The scene plays the same as the UK version, apart from one of her breasts is completely exposed.

Peeping Tom (1960) - Pamela Green topless 1
European version

The aforementioned side view that follows is the same as the UK version.

Australia received the European print; however, our censor then went on to remove the nude shots.

I have yet to find any evidence that the shot that appeared in the SEX episode is available on any home entertainment release. The Australian government’s archive may hold other lost footage from world cinema.

Post-November 1971 rating

Resubmitted by the National Film Theatre of Australia and classified with an M-rating rating in August 1981.

Warner Home Video had a VHS passed with an M (Medium level violence) rating in July 1992.

In February 1995, Potential Films received an M (Low level violence, Adult themes) rating for a theatrical print.

This was followed in October 2007 by a special edition DVD which was passed with an M (Moderate violence, Moderate themes) rating. Universal Pictures (Australasia) was the applicant.


Island of Terror

Directed by Terence Fisher / 1966 / UK / IMDb

Date: 12-1970 / Rated: A / Length: 7796 feet / Time: 86:37 / Censored by 00:55 / Reason: violence

Post-November 1971 rating

KGC Video released a tape in the early 1980s. It was reissued when they renamed themselves K&C Video. Although it was never resubmitted for classification, the two covers have it rated NRC (Not recommended for children).

Both tapes are reportedly cut, so this may indicate they contain the Australian theatrical version.


Cry of the Banshee

Directed by Gordon Hessler / 1970 / UK / IMDb

Date: 10-1970 / Rated: Banned / Length: 7633 feet / Time: 84:49 / Reason: indecency and violence

Post-November 1971 rating

Resubmitted by Roadshow Distributors and passed with an R-rating in December 1972. The print ran 2326.54-meters (84:49), the same length as the version that was previously banned.

In May 1985, it was passed with an R-rating as part of a double-bill VHS with THE OBLONG BOX (1969). The applicant, Communications and Entertainment, released it on their Playaround Video label.


Scream and Scream Again

Directed by Gordon Hessler / 1970 / UK / IMDb

Date: 06-1970 / Rated: Banned / Length: 8379 feet / Time: 93:06 / Reason: violence and indecency

Date: 09-1970 / Rated: Banned / Length: 8215 feet / Time: 91:17 / Reason: indecency / Comment: Reconstructed version

Date: 12-1970 / Appeal: Against rejection / Length: 8215 feet / Time: 91:17 / Result: Appeal dismissed by Review Board / Comment: Reconstructed version

Date: 07-1971 / Rated: SOA / Length: 7908 feet / Time: 87:52 / Censored by 04:26 / Reason: violence and indecency / Comment: Reconstructed version

Scream and Scream Again (1970) - Australian daybill movie poster 1
Daybill via moviemem

Post-November 1971 rating

In April 1991, RCA/Columbia Pictures/Hoyts Video submitted a VHS and received an M (Occasional violence, Horror) rating. The tape ran 91-minutes.


Trog

Directed by Freddie Francis / 1970 / UK / IMDb

Date: 06-1971 / Rated: A / Length: 8000 feet / Time: 88:53 / Censored by 00:36 / Reason: violence

Trog (1970) - Australian daybill movie poster 1
Daybill via moviemem

Censored footage

Shane Harrison reports.
Warner Home Video (us) – DVD – 91:05 (NTSC)

Censored at 73:39 by 00:12 – Trog beating Sam (Michael Gough) before throwing him head first into a tree trunk and then into his car.

Censored at 78:09 by 00:16 – The camera pans up the bleeding body of a butcher (Bartlett Mullins) who is impaled on a hook.

Censored at 79:45 by 00:07 – Close up of Trog impaled on a stalagmite.

Post-November 1971 rating

In January 1989, Corporate Video submitted a VHS and received an M-rating. The 88-minute tape was released by Warner Home Video.


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