In September 1981, a 58-minute videotape of DOCUMENTARY OF A MADAM was
banned because of sex, which was said to be:
…and also for 'sexual violence'.
L&M Imports was the applicant.
We suspect this to be an import of the UK pre-cert tape released on the KL label.
In April 1981, a 2593.60-meter (94:32) print of DON'T ANSWER THE PHONE
was banned because of violence. It was said to be:
A 2363.30-meter (86:09) 'reconstructed version' was also banned in
September 1981. The violence was now described as being.
It was also refused because of 'sexual violence'.
The Greater Union Organisation (GUO) was the applicant.
In March and December 1983, 94-minute tapes of DON'T ANSWER THE PHONE
were banned because of violence, which was described as being:
In both cases, Video Classics was the applicant.
In New Zealand, it was issued on the Media Home Entertainment label. In Australia, Video Classics was responsible for their catalogue. Therefore, it is likely that it was the Media's tape that was Refused Registration.
In 2004, Payless Entertainment released an Australian DVD of DON'T ANSWER THE PHONE with a fake R-rating. This overly dark print is the same heavily cut version that appeared on the Rhino label in the U.S. Despite a 94m running time being listed on the cover, it actually clocks in at 85:20. This does not include the opening 'Crown International Pictures', and closing 'Crown International Television' cards.
Movie-Censorship documents the nine minutes of missing footage.
Review by Matt
The 2006 U.S. DVD from BCI Eclipse is the complete version. The running time is 94:40 which does not include the U.S. R-rating at the end of the film.
In 2009, this would easily get an uncut R-rating from the Australian censors. However back in the 80s it is easy to see what they objected to. Although there are no actual rape scenes, there are plenty of scenes of topless (there is no full frontal nudity) women being strangled to death.
Some, or all of these would have contributed to the Australian ban.
03:30 to 04:15 - The opening murder where he strangles the topless women
17:30 to 19:30 - Kirk breaks into Carol's bedroom, rips her top off, and drops candle wax on her.
29:00 to 29:30 - The model Sue-Ellen is stripped of her top and strangled. Kirk is shown placing a coin into a stocking before wrapping it around her neck.
43:00 to 43:30 - The hooker is strangled whilst on the phone to Dr Gale. This is the only murder where the victim is not topless. Again Kirk is shown placing a coin into a stocking before wrapping it around her neck.
69:15 to 70:45 - Kirk visits the home of a model claiming that her agent sent him. He tears off her gown so she is topless and then strangles her. Her roommate walks into the room and sees what has happened. Kirk grabs her and strangles her. I forgot to mention, she was also topless!
DON'T GO IN THE HOUSE was part of a package of fifteen tapes that were seized by the Australian Customs Service in October 1991. They were forwarded to the Office of Film and Literature Classification (OFLC) who found them to be:
"…prohibited pursuant to Regulation 4A(1A)(a)(iii) of the Customs (Prohibited Imports) Regulations"
In March 1993, a pre-cut version was passed with an M (Medium level violence) rating and released on tape by 21st Century Pictures. The running time was 75:44 as opposed to the uncut 79:01 of the early 80s UK release from Videospace.
In 1987, the British censors passed an 18-rated tape with 03:07 of cuts. It is possible that the Australian release was taken from this particular version as the running times are very similar.
On May 12th 1993, Chinatown Cinema had a 91m 35mm print of DON'T STOP MY CRAZY LOVE FOR YOU Refused Registration by the Classification Board. The reason given for the ban was 'Sexual Violence'. Chinatown Cinema censored the film back to 83m, resubmitted it, and received an R18+ (Medium Level Violence) rating on June 7th 1993. This version went on to have a Chinese language theatrical release.
Thanks to Matt for this review of the likely cuts.
The reason for the Australian censors banning this title is quite easy to work out once you view the film. The print that I viewed ran 91:30, which would seem to match the uncut version submitted by Chinatown Cinema.
The problem scene would definitely have to have been the rape of Kitty by Fred. This starts around the 78min point. Fred has her handcuffed to the stairs where he pulls down her underwear and begins to rape her as she cries and struggles. The scene then moves to the bedroom where Kitty, in a ploy to trick Fred, pretends to enjoy the sex. The scene eventually ends at around the 88min with the two of them leaving the bedroom. The missing eight minutes must have been removed from here. The shots of Kitty (pretending) to enjoy the sex would have been a definite problem for the censors.
The 'Medium Level Violence' awarded to the cut version would have been for baseball bat beatings, stabbings, a shot to the head, and the climatic scene where Fred gets shot in the groin by Kitty and says the immortal line "You shot my dicky!".
Note: The IMDb lists the film as existing in several alternative versions.
In March 1980, a 2398.37-meter (87:25) print of DRACULA SUCKS was censored 46.00-meters (01:41) for an R-rating.
The cuts were made to remove 'indecency', while the R-rating was awarded
for sex, which was found to be:
Roadshow Distributors were the applicant.
The following month it was again passed with an R-rating. The submission,
cuts and applicant were the same as March 1980. However, the reason for the
censorship was changed from indecency, to sex, which was said to be:
In August 1981, a 91m tape of DRACULA SUCKS was banned because of sex,
which was described as being:
Video Classics was the applicant.
14th Mandolin had a reduced version running 2029.82-meter (73:59) passed
with an R-rating in February 1983. The sex was found to be:
It was released on their King of Video label.
In March 1985, a 75m tape of DRACULA SUCKS was passed with an R-rating.
The sex was described as being:
The Victorian Police was the applicant.
Daybill image courtesy of moviemem.com
In May 1972, an 8550-feet (95:00) print of DRACULA VS. FRANKENSTEIN was banned because of 'excessive violence'.
Roadshow Distributors were awarded an R-rating in June 1973, after it had been censored down to 2558.00-meters (93:14).
Thanks to Simon for this review.
By banning DRACULA VS. FRANKENSTEIN, it shows that despite having an R-rating, in 1972, Australia still had a long way to go to liberalise censorship standards. In 2012, this would be M-rated!
Presumably, the censored 'excessive violence' would have included the woman being decapitated on the beach (05:45), Groton killing Samantha and the bikers on the beach (61:00), Grazbo falling to his death on an axe head (68:30), Dr Duryea being decapitated by guillotine (71:00), and finally Dracula pulling off the monster’s arms and head (84:30). This final scene is so dark that it is hard to make out what is going on.
All time refer to Troma’s US DVD which runs 90:35. There is no reason to doubt that it is uncut, however it is odd that Roadshow’s original submission was nearly five minutes longer than this. Troma’s disc is thankfully free of their usual junk; instead, it includes an informative commentary track with the Producer and Writer, Sam Sherman.
In April 1979, a 2164.00-meter print of DR. CARSTAIR'S 1869 LOVE-ROOT ELIXIR was banned because of 'indecency'.
Blake Films was the applicant.
Virgin Video had an 83m VHS of DREAMANIAC banned in 1988 because of 'excessive violence'.
Thanks to Matt for this review.
DREAMANIAC is a terrible shot on video feature from David DeCoteau. The uncut tape that Wizard Video released in the US ran 82:29 (NTSC).
Here is a run down of all of the violent scenes.
15:00 – Adam dreams that Lilly bites off his penis. He screams, and we see her with a bloody mouth.
29:15 – A girl is stabbed in the head. All we see are a few seconds of blood spraying on her face.
38:00 – Lilly ties up a man with power cable then electrocutes him. This is a tame scene.
44:00 – A man is stabbed to death with a knife to the back of his neck.
44:30 – A girl is hit with a poker. Blood splatters on her face.
50:00 – Lilly bites off a penis. Again, we see her bloody mouth, but this time she spits his penis onto the floor. The scene is very dark, so it is not as graphic as it sounds.
55:30 – A man is stabbed in the face. This is one of the more graphic deaths.
56:00 – A brief shot of a girl having her throat cut with a razor.
61:15 – A man is garrotted in his car. This is a tame scene.
71:15 – Pat puts a drill through Adam’s hand. This is a graphic scene.
73:00 – Pat puts a drill through Adams’s neck, and eventually removes his head. This is the most graphic scene in the film.
Most of the violence sounds more explicit than it actually is. Many are very brief, and relatively bloodless. I believe the censor would have mainly had problems with Adam getting the drill in the hand and neck.
A heavily censored version of DREAMANIAC was released in New Zealand on Squirm Video. The NZOFLC must have removed all of the violence, as they cut is from 82:51 to 78:21.
In November 1978, a 2496.13 meter (90:59) print of DREAMS OF EROTICISM lost 11.3 meters (00:25) before being awarded an R-rating. The reason given for the cuts was 'indecency and excessive violence'.
J.S. and W.C. International Film Co was the applicant.
Review by Matt
The Hong Kong VCD from Intercontinental Video runs 83:49 which doesn't really make sense (even if it is PAL) when compared to your quoted 91:14 time. The film certainly doesn't look cut, and it is easy to spot the scene(s) that would have caused the Australian censors problems.
From approx 4-5min one of the servant girls has her top ripped off and is beaten with a bamboo cane. We see her again around 13:30 where the interrogation continues before she is tied fully naked to a post. This sequence may have been one of the reasons for the censorship.
The scene which would definitely have been the main reason for the cuts takes place between 41:30 and 43:10. Here the father-in-law rapes his daughter-in-law. She is shown topless and it all plays out in slow motion.
The final scene runs from 54:30 to 56:15 and involves the son interrogating two of the servants regarding what happened to his wife. Servant #1 is slapped, stripped naked, punched in the stomach, has boiling soup poured on her, and is finally burnt with a teapot. He then turns to Servant #2 who he strips fully naked, slaps, and kicks in the stomach. As she begins to confess Servant #1 picks up a wooden object and stabs her between the legs. She then takes poison pill, the man chases her, kicks her in the back, and she falls to her death over the balcony.
THE DRILLER KILLER had a very troubled time with our censors in the early 80s. It was submitted in September 1982, by Video Classics in an 86m tape version, and in July 1983 by Syme Home Video running 90m. Both versions were Refused Registration, and were never released by either label.
THE DRILLER KILLER was back for consideration in November 1984, when 14th Mandolin submitted a 35mm print that ran 2589 meters (94:38). Once again, it was banned. It was finally passed in September 1985, three years after the initial submission, with an R-rating. 14th Mandolin was again the applicant, and the print was described as an 89m reduced version. We would assume this running time refers to a video tape and not a 35mm print.
There were two VHS releases of THE DRILLER KILLER in Australia, both are cut and ran 88:59. Cover one is on the King of Video label. Cover two lists King of Video on the actual tape, but Box Office Int Video on the cover. 14th Mandolin were the distributors behind both of these labels.
The murder of the tramps at approximately 36m and 50m both look shortened. Also missing at 55m is the infamous scene of the drill through the head.
Abel Ferrara's FEAR CITY (1984) also had censorship problems in Australia. It is covered in our Film Censorship Database.
THE DRILLER KILLER was part of a package of fifteen tapes that were seized by the Australian Customs Service in October 1991. They were forwarded to the Office of Film and Literature Classification (OFLC) who found them to be:
"…prohibited pursuant to Regulation 4A(1A)(a)(iii) of the Customs (Prohibited Imports) Regulations"
In March 2004, Umbrella Entertainment submitted a 95m version to the OFLC. It was awarded an MA15+ (High Level Violence) rating for DVD release. The cover has a sticker on it informing the public that the film was 'Previously Banned. Now Released Uncut'. Unfortunately, it was a 94:20 censored version. Why Umbrella Entertainment released this version is a mystery. The true uncut film would undoubtedly have been passed, if not MA15+, then definitely R18+.This print seems to have originated from the 1999 UK Visual Entertainment DVD release.
At the time UK censorship site, Melon Farmers described the situation as:
"54s were pre-cut by the distributor after having taken advice from James Ferman last year. The main cuts were to the head drilling scene but two earlier drill killings also suffered. 46 seconds of footage has been added to smooth over some of the gaps."
Movie-Censorship has a detailed comparison between the censored Visual Entertainment DVD (same as the Umbrella DVD) and the uncut U.S. Cult Epics DVD
At midnight on December 9th 2006, THE DRILLER KILLER had its Australian TV Premiere courtesy of the B-Mania season on the World Movies Channel.
Thanks to Sean for sending in this report about the screening
Just thought that you may be interested to know that the recent World Movies screening of DRILLER KILLER was the same as the cut Umbrella DVD version.
I e-mailed the channel to try and get some answers about this strange example of censorship.
To World Movies
Thanks for screening the B Movie season. This is something I'd like to see much more of on World Movies. The main reason that I am writing is concerning the screening of DRILLER KILLER last Saturday. I was hoping that you would screen the uncut version, but instead it was the censored. I am very disappointed that you did this, and hope that it is not a sign of increasing censorship on the channel. The version that was shown had an MA rating. I know that (unlike Showtime), you can screen R-rated films. Why not leave it uncut, and give it an R-rating?
From World Movies
Thanks for your kind words, we're very glad you're enjoying our B Mania season!
You're right, we did screen the MA version of Driller Killer. Unfortunately, this was the only print we were able to source in time, and we preferred to screen this version than not include Abel Ferrara in the season at all.
In all cases, we prefer to screen films uncut, as the director intended, however in this instance we felt the film was worthy at any cost, so we sourced what we could at the time. It's certainly not an indication of censorship.
Feel free to contact us with any more feedback you have, happy holidays.
It's good to see the World Movies willing to answer my question. To be honest I didn't really believe a channel that screens uncut versions of IRREVERSIBLE, ROMANCE, IN THE REALM OF THE SENSES, THE IDIOTS, etc, to deliberately cut something like DRILLER KILLER. I would guess that the version may have been sourced from Umbrella. It's bizarre to think that a censored version that was originally prepared to get past the UK censors (who have since passed it uncut) has now turned up on DVD and TV in Australia! As you say, the uncut version would have for many years easily passed the OFLC. Instead we are still waiting! Anyway, the B-Mania season has been screening some interesting stuff, so fingers crossed that it will become an annual event.
In March 2012, Unearthed Entertainment / Gryphon Entertainment released THE DRILLER KILLER on DVD.
This was followed in July 2013 by a release from Regency Media as part of their Cinema Cult range.
It needs to be confirmed which version these contain.
Chinatown Cinema had an 89m 35mm print of DR LAMB Refused Classification in December 1992.
This is what the OFLC and Film and Literature Board of Review-Report on Activities 1992-93 had to say about the film.
"A Chinese language film, Doctor Lamb, presenting an exploitative portrait of a psychotic killer, was refused registration on the grounds of indecency for the combination of extreme violence, gratuitous sexual violence, child sexual abuse and necrophilia"
The Chinatown Cinema sat on the film for over a year before re-submitting a heavily censored version that was passed R18+ (Medium Level Violence, Adult Themes) in February 1994. The original version ran 89m, while this was only 81m. This print, missing around 8m of footage, went on to play in Chinatown Cinemas around the country.
It is worth noting that DR LAMB was slightly trimmed by the Hong Kong censors before playing there. This would have been the same print originally submitted to our Classification Board in 1992.
In 1996, Siren launched their Chinatown Video label. DR LAMB was announced as a forthcoming release, though nothing eventually appeared.
Thanks to Aidan for this information.
This Hong Kong Category III film was cut by 8 minutes to receive an R18+ Certificate in Australia. Since the writing of your database article an uncut DVD has surfaced in Germany, it apparently reinserts the cut scenes from the previous uncut Spanish VHS into a high quality print. The cuts made by the Hong Kong censors apparently amount to around 15-35 seconds and are extended versions of post mortem cleaver and circular saw dismemberments (which are more implicit in the cut version) as well as slight cuts to a post mortem breast removal (ironically the HK censors required no cuts to the necrophilia, child abuse and corpse groping scenes which were likely the main problems to our censors).
The cut version also contains occasional audio censorship of Cantonese swearing (I'm unsure as to whether this is different in the uncut version), the offending words are translated as shit and fuck in the subtitles but likely have more elaborate meaning in Cantonese as shit and fuck are said in the film in English with no censorship and shit and fuck are commonly found in Hong Kong film subtitle tracks (even in films considered "family friendly" by Hong Kong's often more liberal standards) with no audio censorship. Similar audio censorship can be found in the Cat III film "The Underground Banker" (which is in part a satirical pseudo-sequel to "Dr. Lamb" as well as a parody of "The Untold Story") which as far as I know has never been presented to the OFLC.
In October 1980, a 1478.06-meter (53:52) print of DYNAMITE was censored
by 6.20-meter (00:13) for an R-rating. The cuts were made to remove sex,
which was said to be:
In the censored R-rated version it was:
14th Mandolin released it theatrically, and on their King of Video label.