British Horror Films

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

Post-November 1971 decisions are here.

Peeping Tom

Directed by Michael Powell / 1960 / UK / IMDb

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

Peeping Tom (1960) - Australian daybill movie poster 1
Daybill via moviemem

The distributor was British Empire Films (BEF).

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

Island of Terror (1966) - Australian daybill movie poster 1
Daybill via moviemem

It is unclear why it took so long for this to get an Australian theatrical release.

By the time it was rated, ISLAND OF TERROR had already screened on Channel 10 in Sydney. In February 1970, it was programmed as the AWFUL MOVIE WITH DEADLY ERNEST. The TV guide lists it as having an A rating.

What violence was censored?

KGC Video released a tape in the early 1980s and reissued it when they renamed themselves K&C Video.

Island of Terror (1966) - VHS videotape 1
VHS – K&C Video

Both covers list it as NRC (Not recommended for children).

Shane Harrison reports.
Odeon Entertainment (UK) – Blu-ray – 86:59 (minus BBFC X-rating card) – International version
K&C Video (au) – VHS – 79:14 (PAL)

The VHS appears to have originated from a very beat-up print of the Australian theatrical version. A conversion of the PAL running time indicates it is missing several minutes more footage.

I identified 00:38 of ‘violence’ cuts that presumably came from the Film Censorship Board.

Censored at 11:09 by 00:02 – View of a corpse on the ground. Hard to see any detail.

Censored at 11:33 by 00:06 – Dr Reginald Lander (Eddie Byrne) pokes the drained corpse. Its sleeve is lifted to reveal a deflated hand hanging out.

Censored at 22:00 by 00:03 – Dr West (Edward Judd) peels back the sheet to reveal the deflated face of a screaming corpse.

Censored at 22:25 by 00:08 – Close-up of the bloody scalpel as two (off-screen) incisions are made.

Censored at 26:55 by 00:02 – A close-up of a screaming face that has been drained of its bones.

Censored at 27:04 by 00:02 – A close-up of a victim’s deflated hand being tested by Dr Brian Stanley (Peter Cushing) pushing his torch into it.

Censored at 27:45 by 00:02 – View of a bone-drained cadaver.

Censored at 58:11 by 00:11 – A silicate falls from a tree, lands on a villager and begins to absorb his bones.

Censored at 69:11 by 00:02 – Close-up of Dr Stanley’s hand being cut off with an axe. Blood spurts from the severed wrist. This shot was also removed by the BBFC for an X certificate. This ‘UK version’ also found its way onto some DVD releases. It has since been replaced by the uncut ‘international version’ on Blu-ray.

Island of Terror (1966) - Advertisement 1
Ad – K&C Video

Post-November 1971 rating

In October 1991, RCA/Columbia Pictures/Hoyts Video received a PG (Low level violence) rating for an 89-minute tape. The box claims it runs 83-minute, which would be PAL.

Presumably, this represents the first uncut Australian release.

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.

Cry of the Banshee (1970) - Press sheet 1
Press sheet via moviemem

The print ran 2326.54-meters (84:49), the same length as the version that was previously banned.

Cry of the Banshee (1970) - Press sheet 2
Press sheet via moviemem

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.


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.