Film Censorship: Fantasm (1976)-Fantasm Comes Again (1977)


 

 

 

 

Fantasm

Directed by Richard Franklin / 1976 / Australia / IMDb

In July 1976, a 2350.00-meter (85:39) print of FANTASM was banned because of 'indecency'.

Later the same month, Filmways Australasia censored it down to 2212.40-meters (80:38) and received an R-rating.

Image courtesy of moviemem.com

 

Fantasm (1976) - Filmways [au] Daybill

 

 

Censored video releases

The early 80s Video Classics / Movies at Midnight release of FANTASM was censored, and presumably matched the theatrical print. Thanks to Stephen F. and Darron B. for the cover scans.

 

Fantasm (1976) - Video Classics [au] VHS 1Fantasm (1976) - Video Classics [au] VHS 2

 

In 1990, FANTASM was re-released on the Movie Greats label with a running time of 77:43.

 

Fantasm (1976) - Movie Greats [au] VHS

 

 

X-rated FANTASM

July 1984 saw FANTASM passed twice with X-ratings. The reason given was sex, which was described as being:
Frequency: Infrequent
Explicitness/Intensity: High
Purpose: Gratuitous

The applicants for this 87m tape were FG Film Productions, and Video Classics. It needs to be confirmed if either of these companies released an X-rated version. On the 2004 FANTASM DVD commentary, the Producer Antony I. Ginnane claims that the uncut version has never been released on tape.

Violence is now forbidden in the X-rated category; however there was a brief period from 1984 to 1985 when it was allowed. The rape scene and violence in FANTASM would now prevent it from being awarded the new X18+ rating.

 

 

Uncut DVD release

A 79m version of FANTASM was passed by the OFLC in March 2004 with an R18+ (Medium Level Sex Scenes, Some Sexual Violence) rating. This was for the Umbrella Entertainment DVD release from March 2004 where it was double-billed with the sequel FANTASM COMES AGAIN.

Umbrella re-released it in November 2008 as part of a six DVD collection titled OZ-PLOITATION BOXSET VOL 2.

 

Fantasm (1976) - Umbrella Entertainment [au] DVD 1Fantasm (1976) - Umbrella Entertainment [au] DVD 2

 

The actual running time of the Umbrella release was 86:53. This is a highly recommended DVD as it contains uncut versions of both films. It also has a featurette titled FANTASM PENETRATED, and a commentary track with Producer Antony I. Ginnane in which the censorship problems are discussed.

Many thanks to Manny for sending in this transcription of the relevant parts.

 

 

Australian censorship and the R-rating

Producer: Antony I. Ginnane
FANTASM PENETRATED Featurette
"in those days the film censorship authorities were extremely draconian. They thought they were god. They didn't like the R-rating, it was imposed on them, so they did everything they could to sabotage it. They simply didn't like sex, and once you got past a certain level of nudity, or a certain level of simulated sex, bingo, bango, you had to cut it. It was a nasty bunch of self-dealing, megalomaniacal monsters"

 

 

FANTASM: Banned in Queensland

Director: Richard Franklin
FANTASM PENETRATED Featurette
"I think the film was banned in Queensland because my parents drove me to Tweed Heads [NSW] to see it. My Mother thought it was wonderful, but she always does"

 

Producer: Antony I. Ginnane
FANTASM PENETRATED Featurette
"The beauty of it [the Queensland ban] was that it was so much publicity for the rest of Australia, that whatever we lost in Queensland, we certainly mad up for South of the border"

 

Producer: Antony I. Ginnane
FANTASM Commentary @ 17min
"....[Queensland] banned FANTASM after five days of it running at the Capri Cinema in Brisbane, and to this day it has never had a theatrical release. It ran four and a half days and was pulled"

 

 

Hardcore in 1970s Australia

Producer: Antony I. Ginnane
FANTASM Commentary @ 5min
"At the time Australia had a very tight censorship regime as well, and none of the adult movies, the triple X movies, that had become sort of porno-chic in the States, the DEEP THROATS, THE DEVIL IN MISS JONES, and the like, had actually played down in Australia. They were not allowed into the country, but the actors, the principal actors that were in those films were known to Australians, and had a certain sort of controversy about them. So we figured if we could cast FANTASM with what we called the 'Superstars of Triple X', and bring them down to Australia, we'd have a piece of material that would be very controversial to Australian audiences which was what we were primarily aiming for in terms of recruitment"

 

 

Censorship of FANTASM

Producer: Antony I. Ginnane
FANTASM Commentary @ 11min
"......the Australian release print [of FANTASM] which was trimmed by the Australian censors, and we'll get to that in a minute, by about three, to three and a half minutes, and as you go ahead, there are a couple of sequences that received quite aggressive cuts. The rest of the sequences were just trimmed by a few seconds here or there"

 

Producer: Antony I. Ginnane
FANTASM Commentary @ 17min
"The idea was to allow the sexual content to be to a level that would allow it to pass the then availing Australian censorship"

".....but there were still some restrictions, and clearly at that point of time there was no ability to bring anything triple X into a conventional theatrical release"

"....we did end up having to cut the film down by two to three minutes"

 

Producer: Antony I. Ginnane
FANTASM Commentary @ 24min
"...it was harder than you think for Vince and Richard to shoot in such a ways that we didn't run into censorship problems"

 

Producer: Antony I. Ginnane
FANTASM Commentary @ 49min
Over "FRUIT SALAD" segment with John Holmes and Maria Welton

"....this sequence is one of the most cut in any version that have been floating around in the U.S. or elsewhere when we get into the underwater sequence"

"....when they [John Holmes and Maria Welton] got into the pool together that was heavily cut in earlier versions that were around. I think it runs about one to three seconds, where as you see it goes much longer"

 

Producer: Antony I. Ginnane
FANTASM Commentary @ 56:30min
Over "FRUIT SALAD" segment with John Holmes and Maria Welton

"....this [Welton pulls Holmes penis to her mouth] was all cut from the version that was previously circulating"

 

Note: There is a brief shot of the erect penis of John Holmes, and what looks like an underwater penetration scene during the FRUIT SALAD segment with John Holmes and Maria Welton. Although Antony I. Ginnane does not mention it, I would have thought that the rape of Rene Bond in the NIGHTMARE ALLEY segment at 34min would have been a target of the censors.

 

 

No hardcore FANTASM

Producer: Antony I. Ginnane
FANTASM COMES AGAIN Commentary @ 16:30 to 22:30
I'll summarise what Antony I. Ginnane has to say about the existence of hardcore version of FANTASM. What you see on the FANTASM DVD is all the footage that they shot. This was because it was primarily aimed at the Australian market where at the time hardcore was banned. However this did not stop some overseas distributors asking for hardcore footage.

 

 

Tony Ginnane on the Australian Censorship Board

In February 2009, Paul Harris interviewed Antony I. Ginnane at the launch of the NOT QUITE HOLLYWOOD (2008) DVD. The discussion touched on his dealings with the Australian censor.

 

Film Buffs Forecast
14 February 2009, rrr.org.au

PAUL HARRIS: Getting back to censorship. Did you do battle with Dick Prowse, the one armed censor, was he in the bottom of an arcade in Sydney his offices?

ANTONY I. GINNANE: I think its Castlereagh Street, I’m a Melbourne boy so I don’t know.

PAUL HARRIS: Did you ever have to go in there and argue the toss?

ANTONY I. GINNANE: Well I don’t know if it was ever the toss, but we did have to go in there and argue quite a bit. Look, they were very, very reluctant. The film censors at that point did not embrace the R-certificate. The R-certificate was forced on them by government. It’s impossible to think back, and think how conservative the actual exhibitors and distributors were at that point. They didn’t realise what a good thing they were being opened up to. Village did, part of Village’s very early rise to growth was based on the little cinemas in Melbourne and Sydney where they were running. But, most exhibitors they were like something out of some Pentecostal throwback group, so we had trouble.

We had trouble in Queensland, we were banned in Queensland with the first FANTASM, but of course, that helped us in the rest of Australia. We were trimmed, as it were, in Australia with the first FANTASM. Our artwork, our advertising…

PAUL HARRIS: Wouldn’t you want to be banned in the first instance [inaudible] Queensland?

ANTONY I. GINNANE: Well it’s only good to be banned if you get unbanned, and we were banned in Queensland so that was fine. But we wouldn’t have wanted to be banned across Australia, otherwise, that wouldn’t have been good. The film was cut, the version that Umbrella have now out on the double pack FANTASM and FANTASM COMES AGAIN is the original version. It was the first time in Australia that that version had actually ever been seen. When we had it on Pay-tv a couple of times it was the cut version. It was probably the first time that Queenslanders had ever seen it. We fought with them [the censor] on that. We fought with them on FANTASM COMES AGAIN. They approved every piece of key art, they approved trailers, even on PATRICK [1978] they had and interest. You remember that line from CARRY ON ROME [CARRY ON CLEO] or whatever it is, “infamy! Infamy!, they’ve all got it in for me”. Well, Prowse certainly had that view, not just with me, but the Filmways people, Robert Ward, Mark Josem, all of us who were pushing the envelope at that time.

PAUL HARRIS: Filmways were bringing in lots of films that were just banned outright.

ANTONY I. GINNANE: Well they were. I mean PATRICK we had trouble with the ads, with the trailers; we had to pull them back. About the only thing we didn’t have a problem with was BLUE FIRE LADY [1977], except they were concerned about the title.

PAUL HARRIS: What about the late Don Chipp, was he an ally at all?

ANTONY I. GINNANE: Oh, totally an ally. I mean he was a great liberal, a libertarian, and somebody who believed that Australian cinema audiences, and not just film of course, but books and music and other things, that adults should be treated as adults. So, when you think back now and you see that now, thirty something years later that a film like SALO gets banned. You know the censorship battle isn’t won, it has been largely won.

PAUL HARRIS: But SALO is a weird situation because eventually that got released, and now it is banned again.

ANTONY I. GINNANE: Reactionaries are like bush fires. You think you have got them out, then they crop up again.

 

In this interview from 1974, Antony I. Ginnane talks more about Australian censorship.

Independent distribution: an interview with Tony Ginnane
Cinema Papers issue 1, January 1974

CINEMA PAPERS: Do your exploitation films have censorship difficulties?

GINNANE: We have had very few problems. WIND FROM THE EAST is our only film that has been cut to date — the words “full of shit up to your eyeballs” and “cocksuckers” were deleted as subtitles. However that was before the ‘R’ certificate.

But we do have problems with advertising material — I think the Board takes an unreasonable attitude to imported advertising matter. Any imported still, slide or poster has to be submitted to the censor with the film and the trailer. The trailer gets a classification, like a normal film, and the advertising material is either passed or rejected. I don’t think advertising material is any of the censor’s concern. If the material is offensive, then there will be necessary Police Offences legislation in the relevant states to deal with it, as there is with other printed material.

Apart from that, the newspapers censor advertising material as well — papers like the Sun and Herald.

CINEMA PAPERS: Do distributors or exhibitors cut “R” certificate films to fit other categories?

GINNANE: It is quite common for distributors to authorise the censor to cut certain material to fit certain categories. We have never cut a film that we knew the producer or director really cared about, although we are thinking about cutting THE CORPSE GRINDERS — which is a straight exploitation film, and I know the producer and director would be in accord with us in reducing the film to censorial level that would maximize its return at box office.

CINEMA PAPERS: Are films rated “R” because of violence, likely to make less money than films rated “R” because of sex.

GINNANE: Definitely yes — violent exploitation films that don’t have anything else going for them would definitely succeed better as an “M” than an “R". In my experience the major audience for violent films are children between the ages of 10 and 17 who can’t see “R” material.


 

 

 

 

Fantasm Comes Again

Directed by Colin Eggleston / 1977 / Australia / IMDb

In August 1977, a 2682.60-meter (97:47) print of FANTASM COMES AGAIN was banned for reasons of 'indecency'.

A 2614.00-meters (95:17) 'reconstructed version' lost a further 79.70-meters (02:54) before being awarded an R-rating in December 1977. These extra cuts were made to remove ‘indecency’.

The Australian International Film Corporation was the applicant.

Daybill and lobby cards courtesy of moviemem.com

 

Fantasm Comes Again (1977) - Filmways [au] Daybill     Fantasm Comes Again (1977) - Filmways [au] Lobby CardFantasm Comes Again (1977) - Filmways [au] Lobby Card

 

 

 

Censored video releases

In the early 80s, Video Classics released FANTASM COMES AGAIN through their Movie at Midnight label. We assume this was the same censored theatrical print. This tape was reviewed in February 1984, and the censors confirmed the R-rating and list is as running 90m. Thanks to Stephen F. for the cover scan.

 

Fantasm Comes Again (1977) - Video Classics [au] VHS Fantasm Comes Again (1977) - Video Classics [au] Catalog

 

It was released again in 1990 on the Movie Greats label with a running time of 89:09.

 

Fantasm Comes Again - Movie Greats [au] VHS

 

 

X-rated FANTASM COMES AGAIN

August 1984, saw FANTASM COMES AGAIN passed with an X-rating. The reason given was sex, which was described as:
Frequency: Infrequent
Explicitness/Intensity: High
Purpose: Gratuitous

The applicant for this 99m VHS was FG Film Productions. It needs to be confirmed if this tape was released. On the 2004 DVD commentary, the Producer Antony I. Ginnane claims that the uncut version has never been released on tape.

 

 

Uncut DVD release

FANTASM COMES AGAIN made its DVD debut in 2004, when Umbrella Entertainment issued it on a double-bill disc with the original film.

Umbrella re-released it in November 2008 as part of a six DVD collection titled OZ-PLOITATION BOXSET VOL 2.

 

Fantasm Comes Again - Umbrella Entertainment [au] DVD 1Fantasm Comes Again - Umbrella Entertainment [au] DVD 2

 

The actual running time of the Umbrella release was 98:31. This is a highly recommended DVD as it contains uncut versions of both films. It also has a featurette titled FANTASM PENETRATED, and a commentary track with Producer Antony I. Ginnane in which the censorship problems are discussed.

Many thanks to Manny for sending in this transcription of the relevant parts.

 

 

The 1971 introduction of the R-rating

Producer: Antony I. Ginnane
FANTASM PENETRATED Featurette
"FANTASM COMES AGAIN was not the success that FANTASM was. There were probably plenty of reasons. Certainly the most overt was that the market had changed substantially in Australia in twelve months."

"You have to remember how censored Australian cinema was prior to the R-certificate. Apart from South Africa, we were the most censored country in the world. A lot of people [at the time of the original film] hadn't seen naked people doing naked things."

 

 

Lost hardcore version of FANTASM COMES AGAIN

Producer: Antony I. Ginnane
FANTASM COMES AGAIN Commentary @ 16:30 to 22:30
I'll summarise what Antony I. Ginnane has to say about the existence of hardcore version of FANTASM COMES AGAIN.

"What you see on the FANTASM DVD is all the footage that they shot. This was because it was primarily aimed at the Australian market where at the time hardcore was banned. However this did not stop some overseas distributors asking for hardcore footage. They decided for FANTASM COMES AGAIN to give themselves an option of offering hardcore footage to those who requested it"

"For the shoot, none of the actors were employed on the basis of providing hardcore as it would cost too much. However a couple of days after filming ended they shot around nine to ten minutes of hardcore footage in an Los Angeles motel room. This could then be edited back into the film should distributors request it. However it was never used because the couple of distributors who requested it refused to pay the extra post production costs. The hardcore material, with the film can labelled FANTASM '99, was lost when the lab where it was stored went out of business. The material has never been seen since."

 

 

FANTASM COMES AGAIN R-rated Censorship

Producer: Antony I. Ginnane
FANTASM COMES AGAIN Commentary @ 67min
During the Bill Marigold sex scene in THE KISS OF LIFE segment
"I don't know what the Australian censors had against underwater ballet, but this was trimmed by about a minute and a half for the Australian release print."

Note: Although Antony I. Ginnane does not mention it, I would have thought that the rape in the DOUBLE FEATURE segment at 30min would have been a target of the censors.

There is a brief rear shot of Serena's vagina in the TRUE CONFESSIONS segment at 92min. This would have probably been trimmed from the Australian print.

 

 

Not Banned in Queensland

Producer: Antony I. Ginnane
FANTASM COMES AGAIN Commentary @ 78min
We did not get banned in Queensland as we did with the first. At the federal level the film was cut largely to the same degree as the first one, but the second one did play in Queensland, although it was cut.


 

 

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