Film Censorship: E #2





Escape from Hell

Directed by Edoardo Mulargia / 1979 / Spain-Italy / IMDb

In June 1985, an 86m tape of ESCAPE FROM HELL was banned because of 'gratuitous sexual violence'. We can find no record of this being passed with an R-rating. However, Showcase Video released a censored 85:33 (PAL) version on tape.



ESCAPE FROM HELL (1979) review

Review by Matt
Troma Team Video [us] 92:14 (NTSC) converts to 88:33 (PAL)
Showcase Video [au] 85:33 (PAL)

Troma’s DVD begins with the Wizard Home Video logo, so presumably this print was taken from that mid-80s tape.

In the UK, the film was released as HELL PRISON in 1986. The submitted version (before it was censored) ran 88:34, which must be the uncut PAL running time, as it matches the above NTSC to PAL conversion. This means our Showcase tape was censored by approximately 03:00, and the banned 86m tape must have been cut before submission.

There are two scenes of 'gratuitous sexual violence' that I assume were removed from the Showcase tape. Both involve actor Serafino Profumo as Martinez, basically the same evil bastard role he played in the also banned, SS EXPERIMENT LOVE CAMP and SS CAMP 5: WOMEN’S HELL (1977).

Assault #1 - Martinez and his men have hunted down an escaped female prisoner. From 04:20 to 05:10, he holds her down, tears off her top, and roughly kisses her breasts. A shot from this scene appears on the cover of the Showcase tape.

Assault #2 - A girl is shown bathing naked in a stream when Martinez and one of his men arrive. They grab her and take her into the bushes. From 33:45 to 35:25 Martinez holds her down as the other man rubs her breasts and between her open legs. This is quite an explicit shot, and would not be out of place in a Jess Franco WIP film. He then kisses her breasts and between her legs. Eventually he turns her over and has sex as Martinez holds her still. This would have definitely been censored in the Showcase tapes as it is the most graphic scene in the film.

Parts of ESCAPE FROM HELL were edited into a Linda Blair film called SAVAGE ISLAND (1985). The Censorship Board passed that with an R-rating in May 1986. It was released on tape as BANISHED WOMEN by Roadshow Home Video. It would be interesting to see if either of the above scenes appeared in this version, as we know that censors are never consistent.


Escape from Hell - Showcase Video [au] VHS





Escort Girls

aka All Lovers Are Strangers 

Directed by Donovan Winter / 1975 / UK / IMDb

In April 1974, a 3003.00-meter (109:28) print of ESCORT GIRLS was censored by 99:06-meters (03:36) for an R-rating. The cuts were made to remove 'indecency'.

The film was originally submitted under the title ALL LOVERS ARE STRANGERS, but in November 1974 this was notified as being changed to ESCORT GIRLS. It was released by MGM BEF Film Distributors.



Banned on video

In August 1981, a 105m videotape of was banned because of sex, which was found to be:
Frequency: Infrequent
Explicitness/Intensity: High
Purpose: Gratuitous

L&M Imports were the applicant.


Until 1984, there was no law that forced distributors to have video tapes classified. For a period, the Censorship Board simply viewed the tapes and passed them as 'Special Condition', the definition of which was:

That the film/tape will not be exhibited in any State in contravention of that State's law relating to the exhibition of films.

Video Classics had a 98m tape of ESCORT GIRLS passed with such a warning in May 1983.


In June 1985, a 98m tape of ESCORT GIRLS was passed with an R-rating. It was awarded for sex, which was now identified as:
Frequency: Frequent
Explicitness/Intensity: Medium
Purpose: Gratuitous

Video Classics were the applicant. The tape was released as part of their Movie at Midnight range.



ESCORT GIRLS (1975): Censored scenes

Review by Simon
Nucleus Films DVD [uk] 100:16

I believe the 03:36 of cuts to the Australian theatrical version of ESCORT GIRLS would have come from one or both of these scenes.

Scene #1 -  At 56m, the two Scotsmen are shown in a bar watching a black stripper. The scene is quite tame until around the 61m point. From then until 65:15, the stripper is shown masturbating, sometimes quite explicitly.

The Nucleus DVD contains a PDF of Donovan Winter's THE WINTERS OF MY DISCONTENT: A LIFE IN - AND OUT - OF FILMS. In it, he mentions that this masturbation scene was produced for overseas prints.

"With the exception of Spain, Portugal and New Zealand, all other countries demanded more and more explicit sex. While in dour old England our censor, now Stephen Murphy, made small niggling cuts [to ESCORT GIRLS] in some nude scenes I had shot. I did hold back one masturbation scene I had shot for overseas consumption, anticipating his objection."

Scene #2 69:30 to 72:00 - Harvey strips Sheila as she protests and tells him to stop. He pushes her to the bed and rapes her. For some reason, the scene and the music are speeded up. The whole thing is revealed as a set up when Sheila's boyfriend arrives and begins to take pictures with which to blackmail Harvey. In 1995, the British censor still had a problem with this scene and removed it from Jezebel's VHS.

The film contains several other sex scenes, though I doubt they would have caused problems. These include, Hugh and his escort (52:40), Sheila and her boyfriend (74:00), Vicky and Lester, after she orders him to "rape her" (78:30), and the mature businesswoman and her male escort (94:00).

Daybill image courtesy of


Escort Girls (1975) - MGM BEF Film Distributors [au] Daybill     Escort Girls (1975) - Video Classics [au] VHS





Eunuch of the Western Palace

Directed by Wu Ma / 1979 / Hong Kong / IMDb

In February 1980, Mandarin Cinema Pty Ltd submitted a 2593.00-meter (94:31) print of EUNUCH OF THE WESTERN PALACE to the Censorship Board.

It was passed only after 14.5 meters (00:31) of 'excessive violence' was removed. The R-rating was awarded for violence, which was described as:
Frequency: Frequent
Explicitness/Intensity: Medium
Purpose: Gratuitous



Review of the Ocean Shores VHS

Review by Matt
I've seen the old English dubbed VHS released by Ocean Shores in 1980 and it runs 92:17. To be honest I cannot really see what would have bothered the censors back in 1980. People are stabbed and speared, and struck by flying stars, but it is all relatively bloodless, and certainly not grounds for censorship.

The Ocean Shores print of EUNUCH OF THE WESTERN PALACE does run two and a half minutes shorter than the version submitted to the Classification Board. There may be a cut to a sex scene at the 76:38 point when the Eunuch pulls back the bed cover from the girl, the film seems to jump and we are then shown Lo Lieh's character coughing. Apart from that the difference in running time could be down to something as simple as different credits.

The only thing that may have troubled the censors could have been the scene between 3 to 4m where we are told the background to the history of Eunuchs in China. It depicts young boys being castrated before they begin their life as Eunuchs. Again this is not graphically shown. It is depicted only by the screaming faces of the boys which in the English dub sounds like it is done by Adults giving it an unintentional air of comedy. In 2009 this would be M-rated, or MA15+ tops!





Eva, the First Stone

Directed by Torgny Wickman/ 1969 / Sweden / IMDb

In August 1970, a 8332.00-feet (92:35) print of EVA, THE FIRST STONE was banned because of 'indecency'. At the time, the R-rating had yet to be introduced and SOA (broadly equivalent to M) was the highest classification available.

In February 1973, the Censorship Board demanded that cuts be made to a 2539.59-meter (92:34) print. Star Films appealed to the Film Board of Review, who overturned the decision and passed in with an R-rating uncut.





Every Which Way

Produced by R.Ormsley / 197? / USA / IMDb link required

In January 1977, a 2002.00-meter (72:58) print of EVERY WHICH WAY was banned because of 'indecency'.

Lestrig Trading was the applicant.





Evil Dead Trap

Directed by Toshiharu Ikeda / 1988 / Japan / IMDb

In 1997, a package sent from Holland containing EVIL DEAD TRAP 1 and 2 was seized by customs. Both tapes were then sent to the OFLC in Sydney for classification. EVIL DEAD TRAP 2 (1992) was released, whilst this first episode was confiscated.

The refusal was due to scenes of extreme ‘snuff' style violence, specifically where a bound and gagged woman gets her eyeball skewered in close-up.






Directed by Eric Weston / USA / 1981 / IMDb

This film has never had problems with the Australian censors. It is included because the distributor chose to submit a censored version to the Classification Board.


In July 1981, a 2844.58-meter (103:41) print of EVILSPEAK was passed with an R-rating. It was awarded for violence, which was said to be:
Frequency: Frequent
Explicitness/Intensity: Medium
Purpose: Gratuitous

Warner Bros. was the applicant.

In November 1981, EVILSPEAK was resubmitted in a 2509.92-meter (91:29) 'reduced version'. It was again awarded an R-rating for violence, which was described as being the same level as the July 1981 classification.

The running time of this print indicates that it may have been heavily censored US R-rated version. The IMDb has a list of what was removed.

Presumably, Warner Bros. decided to resubmit EVILSPEAK in this version in the hope of receiving an M-rating. Having failed, they still released this shortened print theatrically.



Censored Warner VHS and Optus Screening

In January 1986, Warner Home Video had an 88:27 (PAL) tape of EVILSPEAK passed with an R-rating.

Review by Steve L.
During the scene in which the pig pulls out a piece of Miss Friedemeyer's stomach, there is a trim, deleting footage of it snapping. I suspect the OFLC did it, but I don't know. This is the only (completely pointless) gore cut in the Warner Bros. tape, and that shot is completely cut out of the U.S. "R"-rated version which has numerous other cuts to its discredit.

The remaining 11 minutes are basically dialogue-related, and were ditched from the U.S. theatrical release... and likely not by the director. So, I'm assuming, while Australia was given the complete 103-minute version for the theatrical run (barring whatever they did to it), when it came time to do the video, they were given a master of Moreno Co.'s chopped 92-minute version--before the MPAA cuts were made.

Incidentally, the Warner Bros.' tape has the best-looking print of EVILSPEAK I've seen to date.


Optus Movie Greats screened EVILSPEAK throughout 2002. Due to the restrictions on showing R-rated features, this particular print (still with Warner logo) has been censored for an MA-rating. The running time was 87:49, and was most noticeably missing a couple of decapitations, the pigs pulling on the girl's entrails, and the heart removal scene.

Daybill image courtesy of


Evilspeak (1981) - Warner Bros [au] Daybill     Evilspeak - Warner Home Video [au] VHS






Directed by Lung Hsiao / 1981 / Hong Kong / IMDb

In August 1981, a 2523.56-meter (91:59) print of EXECUTION was censored by 19-meters (00:42) for an R-rating. The cuts were made to remove violence, which was said to be::
Frequency: Infrequent
Explicitness/Intensity: High
Purpose: Gratuitous well as for:

Other Imitable gunmaking

In the R-rated version, the violence was reduced to being:
Frequency: Frequent
Explicitness/Intensity: Medium
Purpose: Gratuitous

…and and the 'imitable gunmaking' was removed.

Comfort Film Enterprises was the applicant.





Executions 2

Produced by Dead Alive Productions / 1997 / USA / IMDb

DLA Movie Distributors and Wholesalers had a 58m videotape of EXECUTIONS 2 Refused Classification in May 1998.

This is a cheap cash in on the original UK produced EXECUTIONS tape which had been passed with an R18+ (Contains scenes of real executions) rating in 1995.






Directed by Jean-Francois Davy / 1975 / France / IMDb

In November 1975, a 3049-meter (111:08) print of EXHIBITION was banned because of 'indecency'. The following month, an unsuccessful appeal was made to the Films Board of Review. The running time of this version was listed as 2880.00-meters (104:59).

The film was censored down to 2605.50-meter (94:58), but in August 1976, this too was banned for 'indecency'. The print was described as a 'soft, subtitled version'.

In September 1976, Blake Films made a successful appeal to the Films Board of Review that saw the 2603.50-meter (94:54) ‘soft, subtitled version’ passed with an R-rating.

Image courtesy of


Exhibition (1975) - Blake Films [au] Daybill





Exit the Dragon, Enter the Tiger

Directed by Tso Man Lee / 1976 / Hong King / IMDb

In October 1978, a 2139.54-meter (77:59) 'pre-censor cut version' of EXIT THE DRAGON, ENTER THE TIGER was passed with an R-rating. The distributor, Fatseas Enterprises was the applicant.



Video Classics: Banned and censored

In March 1983, Video Classics had an 84m tape banned because of violence, which was considered to be:
Frequency: Infrequent
Explicitness/Intensity: High
Purpose: Gratuitous

During the early 80s, there was no law that compelled distributors to have video tapes classified. For a period, the Censorship Board simply viewed the tapes and passed them as 'Special Condition', the definition of which was:

That the film/tape will not be exhibited in any State in contravention of that State's law relating to the exhibition of films.

In August 1983, Video Classics had a 79m 'reconstructed version' passed with such a warning. The film was released on their Trans World Entertainment label. The back cover incorrectly claimed it was rated M, and ran 84m, when it was actually 80:00. The tape appears to be uncut, yet the running time does not support this.




Review by Matt
EXIT THE DRAGON, ENTER THE TIGER is a highly entertaining entry in the Bruce Lee exploitation genre. The Trans World Entertainment tape runs 80:00, and appears to be uncut. Here is my reading of it through the eyes of an Aussie censor. All times are approximate.


23:30 to 27:45 – David fights The Baron’s men in a yard stacked with barrels. I doubt the censors would have been troubled by this standard 70s fight scene.

26:15 to 27:45. The censors may not have approved of this scene where George is burnt on the hand with a cigarette and beaten by The Baron’s henchmen.

32:00 to 39:00 – David fights, and is captured by Long Fei’s men. Again, this is a standard fight scene. However, at 38:45 he is tortured with a blowtorch, which is shown burning his skin. I believe that this would have been a problem for the censors.

46:00 to 47:00 – Long Fei is captured be David and beaten until he confesses to Suzy Yung’s kidnap. This would probably not upset the censor.

54:00 to 54:30 – The Baron’s men torture Suzy Yung by putting needles under her fingernails. This is another problem scene.

59:00 to 62:00 – The Baron’s men beat George to try to find out where the tape is. They repeatedly bash his head down on the floor. They then strip a Kea (David’s girlfriend), and one of them rapes her. George attempts to help, but is beaten to death. This scene definitely contains material that the censors would not have liked.

62:00 to 65:30 – David finds Kea raped, and George dead. He then attacks the Baron’s men in a fight scene that gets quite brutal in places as he beats then with pieces of wood.

68:00 to 71:15 – David fights and kills Jing Gwon in the industrial factory. This would probably not upset the censor.

72:00 to 79:30 – The final showdown with the Baron takes place on rocks at the ocean. He fights the henchman, and eventually kills the Baron by stabbing him with a sword. This would have been unlikely to bother the censors.


I searched the British censor's site and found that in 1990, VPD submitted EXIT THE DRAGON, ENTER THE TIGER in an 80:01 (same as our Trans World Entertainment VHS) print. It was censored by 01:28 before being awarded an 18-rating.

The IMDb claims this was to:
"….remove nunchaku scenes, a kidney punch and a neck break, and to edit a scene where a woman is assaulted. The Prism DVD features the same cut print"


Exit the Dragon, Enter the Tiger - Trans World Entertainment [au] VHS






Directed by Jess Franco / 1974 / Belgium-France / IMDb

Global Film Distributors had a 2633.00-meter (95:58) 35mm print of EXORCISM banned in October 1975 for reasons of indecency and excessive violence.

In February 1976, it was censored down to 2522.00-meters (91:56) and awarded an R-rating. It was this version that was released theatrically in Australia.



Synapse DVD review

Review by Matt
I recently viewed the US Synapse DVD release of Franco's EXORCISM. I guess you are aware that this has been released in multiple versions including one with hardcore inserts. The running time of the DVD is 93:45 and Synapse claim this version was specially prepared by Eurocine. I guess we could call this the Producer's cut. What is interesting is that this still runs around two and a half minutes shorter than the 35mm print banned by the Australian censors back in 1975. From viewing the Synapse DVD it is easy to see how this ran into problems as it is packed full of sex and violence.

The following scenes would have definitely had problems.

30-34min approx: Vogel takes a bar-girl back to his house. He gets her to the bed, claims she is possessed by the devil, and stabs her. He then chains her up naked and stabs her again.

40min approx: As part of a stage show Marina is inverted naked and stabbed in the vagina (off-screen). We only see the aftermath of the blood on her pubic hair and breasts. This is followed by an impossibly long orgy scene that lasts until around the 45min point.

49:30-59:30: Vogel stabbing a naked girl to death on a bed. Includes close-up shots of the stabbing.

82min approx: Vogel stabbing a naked Anne.

Considering that you list the film as loosing four minutes to the censors then some, or all of these scenes would have definitely been removed of toned down.

Overall I would say this is some of Franco's best work, and believe me I've seen a lot!

Image courtesy of


Exorcism (1974) - Global Film Distributors [au] Daybill






Directed by Jeffrey Fairbanks / 1981 / USA / IMDb

In December 1982, a 2112.00 (76:59) print and a 78m videotape were both Refused Registration because of sex, which was described as being:
Frequency: Infrequent
Explicitness/Intensity: High
Purpose: Gratuitous

A 2058-meter (75:01) 'reconstructed version' was passed with an R-rating in March 1983. This time, the title had been changed to SUPERSTUD. It was awarded for sex, which was now found to be:
Frequency: Frequent
Explicitness/Intensity: Medium
Purpose: Gratuitous

It was classified again for the same reasons with an R-rating in February 1984. This time, the 74m tape was submitted as EXPOSED.

In all of the above cases, Blake Films were the applicant.


In June 1985, a double-bill tape of a 74m EXPOSED and an 82m CHAMPAGNE FOR BREAKFAST (1980) was awarded an R-rating for:

Frequency: Frequent
Explicitness/Intensity: Medium
Purpose: Gratuitous

Frequency: Infrequent
Explicitness/Intensity: Medium
Purpose: Gratuitous

Roadshow Home Video released the double-bill tape. Thanks to John C. for the cover scan.


Note: In May 1982, the Censorship Board incorrectly listed EXPOSED (1981) as being the Christina Lindberg film EXPOSED (1971). This was also a Blake Films release, and was originally passed with an R-rating in March 1974.

Daybill image courtesy of


Exposed (1981) aka Superstud - Blake Films [au] Daybill      Exposed (1981) & Champagne for Breakfast (1980) - Roadshow Home Video [au] VHS





The Exterminator

Directed by James Glickenhaus / 1980 / USA / IMDb

In December 1980, a 2787.40-meter (101:36) print of THE EXTERMINATOR was banned because of violence. It was found to be:
Frequency: Infrequent
Explicitness/Intensity: High
Purpose: Gratuitous

An appeal to the Films Board of Review in January 1981 saw the ban overturned, and an R-rating awarded. Warner Brothers went on to release it theatrically.



April 1981: Banned in Western Australia

The speakers are Barry Blaikie and Bill Hassell, both members of the Liberal Party.

Ban or Restriction
Western Australia - Legislative Assembly
Tuesday, 14 April 1981

140. Mr BLAIKIE, to the Chief Secretary:

(1) Is the film THE EXTERMINATOR under consideration for possible ban or restriction in this State?

(2) What is the position in other States?

(3) Why is there concern about this Film?

Mr HASSELL replied:

(1) The Film THE EXTERMINATOR is under consideration for restriction or ban in Western Australia. The situation arises because the Commonwealth Censorship Board, composed of four people, unanimously held it should not be shown in this State. The decision was appealed to the Film Board of Review which, by a majority, allowed the film.

(2) The film has been banned in South Australia already by the Attorney General of that State. I understand it is under consideration in Queensland and Victoria, and I understand also it is to be permitted to be shown in New South Wales.

(3) I viewed the film last Friday morning. I must say this sort of matter causes me great difficulty because of my real concern not to rush into banning things; and I have not yet reached a conclusion about it. I sought the assistance of members of the advisory committee on publications in a purely informal manner, because they have no statutory role in this matter. They attended the viewing and tendered certain advice to me. No matter what my decision, I do not intend to release the advice of members of the committee because they responded to a request from me and it would be unfair to do so.

The reason for the concern about the film relates to the level of violence depicted graphically in it. This includes-

The slow motion cutting of a person's throat.

 The decapitation of a person, which was shown in full detail.


The hefty beating of a person plus a extra close-up shot of a grappling hook being ripped along a man's back.

The off-screen implied killing of a dog with an electric knife.

The implied feeding of a man into a giant mincing machine; he was lowered into it and one does not actually see the details, but it was clear enough.

 The implied burning of the breasts of a prostitute with a soldering iron.

References to male perverts being provided with young boys, and a scene of a naked young man bound and gagged on a bed. That was in a brothel situation.

 A vicious attack on an old lady by three youths.

A bloody shoot-out.

Mr Davies: Why do you hesitate?

There is not the slightest doubt about it.

Mr HASSELL: The film must be considered in its context. I am doing that, and I will reach a conclusion as soon as I can.


Ban or Restriction
Western Australia - Legislative Assembly
Wednesday, 15 April 1981

154. Mr BLAIKIE, to the Chief Secretary:

Following the bizarre information given by the Minister to the House last night regarding the film THE EXTERMINATOR, has a decision been made yet to ban the film?

Mr HASSELL replied:

A decision has been made and the distributors of the film have been advised that the film will not be given a classification to permit it to be shown in Western Australia. There are a number of reasons for this and I have explained them in a statement which I issued today.


Government Gazette of Western Australia
Published by Authority at 3 .30 p.m.
No. 28 Perth: Friday, 24 April 1981

Certification of Ineffectual Classification.

THIS is to certify that the Minister charged with the administration of the Censorship of Films Act 1947- 1979, acting pursuant to section 12B of that Act has directed that the classification "For Restricted Exhibition" (R) assigned to the film THE EXTERMINATOR pursuant to section 12 of that Act shall be ineffective in the State and that the Minister has refrained from assigning to the film any classification in lieu, the film thereby being deemed to be an unapproved film under that Act.

Attention is drawn to the provision of subsection (3) of section 12B of the Censorship of Films Act 1947-1979 in that the direction in relation to the film entitled THE EXTERMINATOR extends to trailer films or reproductions of the film, and any part of the film.

15 April 1981.
W. R. B. HASSELL, Chief Secretary.



1981: Banned in South Australia and Queensland

Violent film outed, April 19, 1981

A new film which began in Sydney last week has been banned in other Australian States because of excessive violence.

The film, THE EXTERMINATOR, was given an R rating by the Commonwealth Film Censorship Board but was banned by the South Australian Attorney-General, Mr Griffen, who said it transgressed acceptable standards.

The film contains scenes of explicit violence including a slow motion sequence of a man's head being sliced off, a mobster being fed into a giant meat mincer and a vicious attack on an old woman by three youth


Cinema Papers
Censorship, 1981

An independent American production, THE EXTERMINATOR was refused registration by the Commonwealth Censor in December 1980 for excessive violence. An appeal was launched by its distributor, Roadshow, and the Film Board of Review registered the film R uncut in January.

A few days before its Adelaide release, however, President Reagan was shot with an exploding bullet. As the film showed the making of a similar type of bullet, various groups in South Australia asked the Attorney General, K.T Griffith, to ban the film; this he did. Then Western Australia joined the fray and banned the film, followed by Queensland which took the unusual step of banning it from drive-ins but not hard tops. The film is now in release in New South Wales and Victoria.



October 1981: Film industry concerned about WA ban

In October 1981, CALIGULA (1979) joined THE EXTERMINATOR in being banned in Western Australia. This was despite the R-rated print having already been cut by the Commonwealth Censorship Board. With two films refused in six months, the industry began to get nervous.


Government of Western Australia 1981
State Cabinet Records
The State Records Office of Western Australia

Censorship of Films: 12/10/1981
Following concerns from the film industry that the Chief Secretary was "effectively re-introducing a continuing system of State censorship of films," the Chief Secretary informed Cabinet of his view that this was not the case, nor his intention.

The Chief Secretary informed Cabinet that the power to prohibit the exhibition of the two films (THE EXTERMINATOR and CALIGULA) was only exercised “after careful consideration of the particular circumstances” and after receiving unanimous advice “that the films in question add nothing to the artistic or cultural life of the State.”



November 1983: Video classification in Western Australia

In 1983, Bill Hassell made reference to banning THE EXTERMINATOR during a censorship debate in the WA Legislative Assembly.

The speakers are David Parker (Labor), Bill Hassell (Liberal), and Dick Old (NCP/Liberal).

Second Reading
Western Australia - Legislative Assembly
Tuesday, 22 November 1983
Debate resumed from 17 November.

MR HASSELL (Cottesloe-Deputy Leader of the Opposition) [9.42 p.m.]: This is an important Bill and it is appropriate that I should say a few words in support of it. Some couple of weeks ago, the Opposition gave notice of a motion to be considered by the House. It is in the following terms-
This House urges the State Government to take immediate action to restrain and control the-

(a) ready availability of pornographic and extremely violent video material; and
(b) sale or hire of such material and the viewing of such material by minors.

On the same day the motion was moved in the House, the Minister dashed into print with a Press release saying that the Government intended to take action. I am not suggesting the Minister was solely motivated by the fact of our having moved a motion, but he was at least galvanised into action by our having so moved.

Mr Parker: Cabinet made a decision some days before that.

Mr HASSELL: But it had not been announced.

The reality is that we have in Australia a system of film censorship which is basically uniform, and that uniformity derives from the acceptance by the States, in large part, of the determinations of classifications by the Commonwealth film censor. The State delegates authority to the Commonwealth censor and then-at least in our own State-under the legislation we have, we accept his exercise of that authority, although as the Minister says, under the Act we retain an overriding power to exercise our own authority if we are not satisfied with his decisions. On rare occasions that power has been used.

So we have films and video materials covered under the Indecent Publications and Articles Act through a system under which publishers are given the right to notify their publications to the Government machinery body and to have those publications classified so that when the classifications are made under the system, the retailers will know where they stand I understand that publishers are not obliged to have the material classified, but the incentive to do so is that if they do, the retailers will not be subject to prosecution should a publication be classified as unsuitable for publication Or if the retailers comply with the rules relating to the respective classifications in dealing with publications.

In relation to books and films, there is the general law of obscenity under which the police can act against obscene material in any form. So we have the following situation: There is the classification system for films, which controls them; there is the classification system for printed material,' which controls that; there is the general law relating to obscenity, which covers the whole field; but we have no classification system in relation to video films, and we have no real control over them. Of course, it is open to the police to act against obscene videos, although not violent ones, as I understand the law

Mr Parker: The most extreme violent ones I have seen are obscene in their violence.

Mr HASSELL: In some cases, obscenity can be separated from violence. The film I acted against was not obscene at all, but it was extremely violent.

Mr Parker: It was THE EXTERMINATOR or something like that.

Mr HASSELL: I do not recall any obscenity in it. The film was about Vietnam, and the violence was of a graphic and extreme kind.

There has emerged in the community a major problem resulting from the availability of extremely violent and pornographic material on video, and the problem simply is that these videos have become freely and generally available from what might be described as corner stores. There is no doubt that children gain access to this material, and in many cases do so without the knowledge or consent of their parents. No general obligation is imposed on shopkeepers to exercise constraint in their making the material available to minors who unfortunately get this material.

The problem was first brought to notice graphically a few months ago by Mrs Grewar, the schoolteacher in Esperance who is the wife of a former member of this place. She was naturally concerned about what she had seen going on. Interestingly, the problem is at least as great in the country if not greater than it is in the city for the simple reason that in country and other remote areas where television reception is not available or poor, a video market explosion has occurred. A great deal of entertainment is obtained by people in remote and poor television reception areas through videos. One can find videos at the most surprising places. At first thought, it is amazing they are available at these places, but big business in the sale and hire of video films is being done at these places.

It is in just those establishments that are now common in the country and metropolitan areas that children of all ages obtain access to pornographic and violent video material upon which there is no effective control. Although I repeat that the pornographic films at least are subject to the general law of obscenity, and the police can act against whoever makes the films available publicly. But the shopkeepers do not know where they stand. No identification system is available and the shopkeepers do not know they are at risk or may be going over the edge.

Mr Parker: The criminal law says they are obscene, but they are still available to the children.

Mr HASSELL: What the Minister says is right. By introducing a classification system, the person hiring out the video will know where he stands legally and can be protected. At the same time, he will be obliged to deal with this material in a way which allows material which would not be banned under the system to be made available to adults, but not to children. As the Minister said when introducing the Bill, it is an interim measure pending the development of an Australia- wide uniform system of classification for videos. That system will be welcomed, provided it does not lower standards and make more freely available material which should not be made available. We will come to deal with that in due course.

I asked the Minister some questions some months ago about this system, and he said the people involved were not far enough down the line to know what would be in legislation covering such a system. He was not able to answer the questions, but said that eventually the system will be presented. In the meantime, it is appropriate the Government has acted to fill the gap, and, in doing so, it has our support.

MR PARKER (Fremantle-Minister for Employment and Administrative Services) [9.52 p.m.]: I thank the Opposition for its support of the measure. I indicate particularly to the Deputy Leader of the Opposition that 'it is true the relevant Press statement was issued on the day he gave notice of his motion; but it is true also that the Government had been indicating its intention in similar terms for some time. Indeed, in the recent weeks before that time, I had indicated that the race to introduce the broadly-based legislation had been lost because or the inability to get the hoped for uniformity throughout the country. I indicated that in the meantime we would introduce interim legislation, and Cabinet approved that course some time before the Deputy Leader of the Opposition gave notice of his motion. Cabinet's approval was then announced.

The Bill is as the Deputy Leader of the Opposition has described it. Certainly it is true that the classifications concerned are subject to the general law, but I think that general law is problematical-- certainly, it is problematical for retailers.

The police have taken strong action, and have been supported in that action by me, by the Minister for Police and Emergency Services, and by the Government as a whole. The activities the police have undertaken have resulted in agreement being reached with the second major distributor of pornographic material in Western Australia, He will submit his material for approval before publication. The major distributor is Gordon & Gotch Ltd. and as the Deputy Leader of the Opposition said, that Firm has for some time submitted its publications on a voluntary basis. The second major distributor is Mr Hennessy of Barbarella's Book Shops who, as a result of police activity with Government backing, has also agreed to submit all his publications, which means the vast bulk of these publications will be submitted.

Mr Old: He keeps them on the mezzanine floor, doesn't he?

Mr PARKER: I have never been to one of his shops. He certainly has changed his position drastically as a result of the police activities against him.
Another problem is that parents are in the habit of sending their children to the local video shop to pick up a video, instead of perhaps sending their children to a library to pick up a book. That is unfortunate, although it is my personal view. Even if parents do not want their children to have access to this material, it is available because it is adjacent to other material. These days when one sees the title SNOW WHITE AND THE SEVEN DWARFS, one has no idea whether it is a video of the fairy tale, or an obscene film.

For all those reasons, I commend the Bill to the House.
Question put and passed.
Bill read a second time.



April 1984: Video classification in Western Australia

In 1984, during a censorship debate in the WA Legislative Council, Labor's Des Dans said that THE EXTERMINATOR would:

" long as I am in the position in which I now find myself that film will never be shown in Western Australia".

The speakers are Mark Nevill  (Labor) and Des Dans (Labor) and Gordon Masters (Liberal).

Video Films: Censorship
Western Australia - Legislative Council
Thursday, 12 April 1984

Hon. MARK NEVILL, to the Minister for Administrative Services:
In view of the meeting that he had in Sydney last Friday with other State Minister and the Federal Attorney General on censorship, would the Minister outline the present situation with regard to the censorship of pornography.

Hon. D. K. DANS replied:
The present situation in Western Australia is that arising from a meeting last year some guidelines were set down and the State Governments were asked to adopt a voluntary scheme of classification of video films and publications. Prior to that meeting no classification was required and for the benefit of members who do not know, the Commonwealth Government handled the classification of films and gave them their rating.

The Government passed through this House an interim Bill that made it possible for its advisory committee to view video films, examine publications, and give them one of two ratings-either "R" or “X". If films were given those classifications they were required to be placed in a certain section of the outlet and no-one under the age of 18 years was allowed to look at or purchase them. The ludicrous situation was that prior to the implementation of that Act, if a film had an “R" rating, by law no-one under the age of 18 could view that film. However, prior to the interim legislation the situation was that anyone could enter a video store and purchase an “R" rated video. Therefore, to some extent the voluntary scheme which had been operating in an ad hoc and illegal manner in many areas became controlled.

In other words, a video Film could receive a “X" or “R" rating. When the advisory committee wrote on its report to the Minister the word "prosecute" it did not mean the person in possession of the film would be prosecuted immediately. It meant that the Minister of the day would view a clipping of that film and confirm what the board members said-in other words, prosecute. If that film was found on the shelf of a video store or was found in any person's possession, the person responsible would be prosecuted. The same thing applied in regard to publications.

Since February, 400 videos and 600 publications have been classified in this State, and this was undertaken under difficult circumstances. The committee was unable to sit through the filming of the 400 videos and, as a result, individual members have been paid to view them and give them a classification. This scheme has had the blessing of the Premier's women's adviser. A meeting of a group of people from the Catholic Church, including Mrs Ryan and Mr Hogan, advised it was happy with the way the classifications were being undertaken. However, I have some misgivings about it.

With regard to the meeting that was held in Sydney last Friday between State Ministers in my capacity and Attorneys General, it was decided that if and when the Commonwealth Government passes legislation through the Senate- I believe it will go through the Senate-it will become responsible for the classification of not only films but also all video films and literature. They will be classified “X", "R", "parental guidance", "M", or whatever. I said that this Government would agree with the proposal along with other States, subject to the proviso that this Government retains its own advisory committee. The Government will adopt similar legislation to that which it uses in respect of the classification of films-I2B. Therefore, irrespective of what the Commonwealth classification is, if the advisory committee feels it is necessary to change the classification it will have the final say as to what category should be placed on it, or indeed if it goes into a video outlet at all-

Hon. G. E. Masters: You can override them.

Hon. D. K. DANS: Yes, because people have different opinions and artistic bents. I might add that in Sydney we viewed a film on violence, not just sexual violence, and I had to shut my eyes. I have not led a sheltered life; but what some people may call "artistic" appears revolting to me. The unfortunate thing, of course, is that the Customs Department cannot cope with the influx or videos into this country. One person may bring in a video from which hundreds can be taped. The whole matter comes down to parental control. Once a video leaves a store or once a periodical leaves a store they can end up anywhere; and there must be some parental control over this.

I saw a clip from the film THE EXTERMINATOR which Mr Hassell banned in Western Australia when he held this portfolio. He has my wholehearted support; and for as long as I am in the position in which I now find myself that film will never be shown in Western Australia.

That is the situation in which we find ourselves. The Commonwealth Government will become responsible for all materials. I cannot say what the guidelines will be until they have been approved by the Senate. However, I will be asking Parliament to give the Government the final say in a similar situation to that which we have with regard to films.



Uncut videos banned

A 97m uncut video of THE EXTERMINATOR was released on the Thorn-EMI label, but this was banned in April 1985 because of excessive violence.

The following month Pioneer Electronics also had a 97m tape banned.



Censored MA15+ DVD

In June 2005, THE EXTERMINATOR was back before the censors. This time it was rated MA15+ (Strong Violence, Coarse Language). The DVD was released by Paramount-Rialto Home Entertainment in October 2005.

The cover of the disc promised:

Finally witness the Director's cut, featuring never before seen footage from one of the most cold blooded tales of revenge ever to hit the screen"

Unfortunately, this proved not to be true. Paramount sourced a censored print, which was missing nearly four minutes of footage that could be found in the old Thorn-EMI tape. This was entirely the fault of the distributor, and their claim of a 'Director's Cut' was blatant false advertising.

The running time of the DVD was 94:00, and the censorship would seem to be the same as the UK Starvision VHS release. Movie-censorship has details of the cut footage. In 2005, an uncut version would have easily passed through with an R18+ rating.


The Exterminator - Thorn EMI Home Video [au] VHSThe Exterminator - Paramount Rialto Home Entertainment [au] DVD





Exterminator 2

Directed by Mark Buntzman / 1984 / USA / IMDb

In November 1984, a 2441.00-meter (89:13) print of EXTERMINATOR 2 was banned because of 'excessive violence', which was described as being:
Frequency: Frequent
Explicitness/Intensity: High
Purpose: Gratuitous

In February 1985, a 2480.00-meter (90:39) version was banned for the same reason. Despite running longer than the original submission, this print was described as an 'overseas modified version'.

In May 1985, an 88m tape was banned for the same reason. RCA/Columbia Pictures/Hoyts Video were the applicant.

In July 1985, a censored 2276.69-meter (83:13) version of EXTERMINATOR 2 was finally passed with an R-rating. It was awarded for violence, which was described as:
Frequency: Infrequent
Explicitness/Intensity: Medium
Purpose: Gratuitous

..and for language, which was described as being:
Frequency: Frequent
Explicitness/Intensity: Medium
Purpose: Gratuitous

Hoyts Distribution went on to release it theatrically.

In November 1985, an 83m video of EXTERMINATOR 2 was passed with an R-rating. It awarded for the same reasons as the censored theatrical version, so presumably it was identical. The RCA/Columbia Home Video tape ran 79:15 (PAL).



EXTERMINATOR 2 (1984): The censored scenes

Thanks to Simon for this information.

The RCA/Columbia tape of EXTERMINATOR 2 is missing around six and a half minutes of footage.

MGM/UA Home Video [us] 89:19 (NTSC) Converts to 85:45 (PAL)
RCA/Columbia Home Video [au] 79:15 (PAL)

Times do not including Cannon title card.



Before – Gang member says to old woman "I don’t remember giving you no appointment"

Censored at 02:22 - There are 00:52 missing of the gang members taunting the storeowners. They hit the old woman, and shoot her husband. The old woman is eventually shot dead as she cries over the body of her husband.

After/Before – The four gang members run from the store, and are confronted by the Exterminator. They shoot, but he returns fire with his flamethrower.

Censored at 03:24 – There are 00:32 missing of two of the gang members burning and running around in agony, followed by a brief shot of the dead storeowners. The smoldering corpses of the two gang members are shown as the police arrive on the scene.

After – A newsreader is shown on the TV saying "Recent events around the city…"



Before – A gang member hits a security guard with a chain.

Censored at 13:08 – There are 00:19 missing of the gang member looking inside the helicopter as the pilot burns.

After – Bee-Gee arrives in his truck.



Before – The security guard has been crucified and is taken into the entrance of the subway station

Censored at 15:05 – There are 03:25 missing of the gang taking the security guard down into the subway, putting him on the line, and waiting for the train to run over him. This is the longest cut in the film, and the most unnecessary. Most of it consists of the gang walking through the subway tunnel. I can only assume that it was removed because the security guard is constantly heard pleading for his life.

After/Before – A gang member is up a tree, keeping a look out over the entrance to the subway. The Exterminator arrives, and the gang member says "Oh no", as he opens fire with his flamethrower.

Censored at 18:52 – There are 00:19 missing of the gang member being burnt alive in the tree.

After – Garbage trucks pulling out of their depot.



Before – Caroline is chased out of the toilet block by the gang.

Censored at 43:55 – There are 00:45 missing of the gang members chasing her through the park, bringing her to the ground, and beating her. John and a cop on horseback give chase. The gang scatters when the cop fires a warning shot.

After – Caroline lies still on the ground.



Before – The gang members shoot up at the Exterminator; he returns fire with his flamethrower.

Censored at 75:05 – There are 00:24 missing of the gang members in agony, as they are burnt alive.

After – The Exterminator walks down the stairs.



Before – The burning body of X falls from the platform. This is followed by a shot of the 'Safety First' sign.

Censored at 82:30 – There are 00:05 missing of the Exterminator removing his mask, and looking down on the charred corpse of X that is impaled on a spike. There are several quick fire cuts between the Exterminator and the body.

After – The Exterminator turns and walks away.



EXTERMINATOR 2 (1984): The true uncut version

Thanks again to Simon for this information.

In the US, the MPAA insisted on cuts if EXTERMINATOR 2 wanted to avoid an X-rating. It appears that all versions of the film are taken from this censored MPAA R-rated version. The cuts were reportedly to tone down the violence, and remove a rape. One scene that does seem to be cut is the death of Caroline, which does not appear in the MPAA R-rated version.

At 51m Caroline is shown in the hospital recovering from the beating she received at the hands of X’s gang. She does not appear again until 66m when John attempts to call her following the death of Bee-Gee. The phone rings in her apartment, and her naked body is shown face down on the bed.

John senses something is wrong, and races over to find a red X painted on the door. Her naked body is once again shown face down on the bed. I have yet to see any proof that a true uncut version still exists. Anyone advertising an uncut EXTERMINATOR 2, almost definitely has the MPAA R-rated version. Both the Australian and UK videos began with this censored print, and then further cut the violence.




In November 2002, EXTERMINATOR 2 premiered on Foxtel's Encore channel. It had a running time of 84:29.

Daybill image courtesy of


Exterminator 2 (1984) - Hoyts Distribution [au] Daybill      Exterminator 2 - RCA/Columbia Home Video [au] VHS





An Eye for an Eye, a Tooth for a Tooth

aka Occhio Per Occhio, Dente Per Dente (as submitted to Censorship Board)

Directed by Miguel Iglesias / 1967 / Italy – Spain / IMDb

In 1970, AN EYE FOR AN EYE, A TOOTH FOR A TOOTH was rejected by the Censorship Board.

In April of that year, Don Chipp organised a Parliamentary screening of banned and censored film clips in the hope of stirring debate about an R-rating. This became known variously as 'Chipp's reel', 'Night of the blue movie' or 'Parliamentary blue movie night'. A clip of AN EYE FOR AN EYE, A TOOTH FOR A TOOTH was one of the 28 films that were included.

Information from Mike Richards's viewing of "Chipp's reel".
See database entry for THE BABYSITTER (1969) for background.

Dirty Pix
Mike Richards
Cinema Papers issue 2, April 1974

Some of the film cuts were, of course, thoroughly forgettable pieces of cinema. One of the most repugnant cuts shown was from AN EYE FOR AN EYE, A TOOTH FOR A TOOTH. Italian, made in 1970 and imported to Australia for showing at Italian-language theatres only, the film had been banned outright for its “excessive brutality, sadism and obscenity”.

In the cut scene a demented sadist feather-painted his captive girl victim with liquid rat bait and then uncaged his rats to terrorise her. As he jabbers moronically the rats start running up the girl’s body biting at her flesh.

The R-rating was eventually introduced in November 1971.


In December 1977, a 2750.00-meter (100:14) 'pre-censor cut version' of OCCHIO PER OCCHIO, DENTE PER DENTE was passed with an R-rating. The Censorship Board noted that this was a longer version than the one that had been rejected in 1970.

Cinema Italia was the applicant.





Eyes of a Stranger

Directed by Ken Wiederhorn / 1981 / USA / IMDb

In February 1981, a 2312.5-meter (84:17) print of EYES OF A STRANGER was Refused Registration because of violence. It was described as being:
Frequency: Infrequent
Explicitness/Intensity: High
Purpose: Gratuitous

An appeal to the Films Review Board saw the ban overturned, and an R-rating awarded in February 1981.

Warner Brothers was the applicant.




Warner Home Video released the film on tape in 1982.

In February 1984, it became law for all video tapes to be classified and the censors began the slow task of reviewing all the titles that had been released up until that time. They finally got to EYES OF A STRANGER in January 1985. The R-rating was confirmed for the 81m tape, though now the violence was described as:
Frequency: Frequent
Explicitness/Intensity: Medium
Purpose: Justified


Until the 2007 release of an uncut U.S. DVD, the Australian tape remained one of the best ways to view EYES OF A STRANGER. It was sought after by overseas collectors because it contained 30-seconds of footage removed from the U.S. R-Rated version.

Daybill image courtesy of


Eyes of a Stranger (1981) - Warner Brothers [au] Daybill      Eyes of a Stranger - Warner Home Video [au] VHS



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