Film Censorship: L #2


 

 

 

 

Lethal Weapon 4

Directed by Richard Donner / 1998 / USA / IMDb

This film has never had problems with the Australian censors. It is included because the distributor chose to censor it to achieve a more commercial rating.

 

On August 17 1998, a 127m print of LETHAL WEAPON 4 was rated MA15+ (Medium level violence) by the OFLC.

Roadshow Film Distributors decided the MA15+ was not commercial enough, and re-submitted a censored 126m version. This was passed with an M (Medium level coarse language; Medium level violence) rating on August 26, 1998.

It was this version that played theatrically in Australia and was released as a rental VHS.

 

 

Censorship in the M-rated version

GnC Films produced an excellent video that shows the footage that was removed from the OFLC M-rated and BBFC 15-rated versions. Discussion of the Australian version begins at 31:35.

They note three cuts scenes.

 

 

Uncut MA15+ releases

Although the initial rental VHS was censored, the sell-through tape was uncut.

In January 1999, Warner Home Video had an uncut DVD of LETHAL WEAPON 4 passed with an MA15+ (Medium Level Violence) rating.

An MA15+ (Medium Level Violence) rated Blu-ray was released in October 2010.

 

 

Lethal Weapon 4 - Warner Home Video [au] VHSLethal Weapon 4 - Warner Home Video [au] DVD 1Lethal Weapon 4 - Warner Home Video [au] DVD 2Lethal Weapon 4 - Warner[au] Blu-ray


 

 

 

 

Let Me Die a Woman

Directed by Doris Wishman / 1977 / USA / IMDb

In May 1981, a 2119.49-meter (77:15) print of LET ME DIE A WOMAN was censored by 26.80-meters (00:59) for an R-rating.

The cuts were made to remove 'gross surgical detail', while the R-rating was awarded for 'transsexualism'.

Video Classics was the applicant.

The now very rare tape that followed ran only 72:55, while the uncut UK pre-cert from Derran Video tape ran 75:11.

Cuts include, the man castrating himself (15min approx), and the sex-change operation (40min approx).

 

Let Me Die a Woman (1977) - Video Classics [au] VHS


 

 

 

 

Let Us Play Sex

Directed by Torgny Wickman / 1975 / Sweden / IMDb

In January 1977, a 2276.69-meter (82:59) print of LET US PLAY SEX was censored by 66.40-meters (02:25) for an R-rating. The cuts were made to remove 'indecency'.

Filmways was the applicant.

 

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 July 1983, Filmways had an 81m tape of LET US PLAY SEX passed with such a warning. However, we do not believe it was ever released.


 

 

 

 

The Life and Death of a Porno Gang

Directed by Mladen Djordjevic  / 2009 / Serbia / IMDb

THE LIFE AND DEATH OF PORNO-GANG had its Australian premiere in September 2010 at the Sydney Underground Film Festival.

 

In June 2011, the Classification Board passed a 107:09 DVD with an R18+ (High impact sexual themes, violence and actual sexual activity) rating.

Bounty Films was the applicant. The film was released by Monster Pictures in November 2011.

 

 

Christian nuts alerted by

In August 2011, Ben Hellwig from Monster Pictures was interviewed by The Sydney Morning Herald regarding the R18+ rating that had been awarded to an uncut THE HUMAN CENTIPEDE 2 (FULL SEQUENCE) (2011). In the article, he also mentioned THE LIFE AND DEATH OF PORNO-GANG.

Censor lets Centipede crawl in
smh.com.au, August 21, 2011

It is not the first time that Australian censors have surprised Monster Pictures, which is also distributing The Life and Death of a Porno Gang, a Serbian film featuring graphic scenes of sexual violence that was given an R18+ rating by the Classification Board in June without any scenes being removed.

''I will admit we were surprised by this one,'' Mr Hellwig said. ''There are a couple of questionable scenes involving controversial or taboo acts that have in the past seen a few films either require cuts or be banned.

''At the time we were so concerned that it might not pass that we made an unusual deal with the films sales agent to submit the film for classification before signing the contract, thus protecting ourselves should the film be rejected.''

Mr Hellwig said he believed in classification but not censorship: ''I think the Classification Board has a sound grasp of the sensibilities of the general Australian population and acts accordingly.''

 

 

The article alerted the Australian Family Association, who then organised a letter writing campaign to lobby to have the film examined by the Classification review Board.

Movies referred to Classification Review Board
Australian Family Association
Family Update Vol.26 No.5 2011

The film The Life and Death of a Porno Gang still has its R18+ rating. Given an R18+ rating in June this year it contains graphic scenes of sexual violence and, according to the acquisitions manager for the film’s distributor Monster Pictures: “I will admit we were surprised by this one. … There are a couple of questionable scenes involving controversial or taboo acts that have in the past seen a few films either require cuts or be banned.” The taboo acts are bestiality and the making of “snuff” movies i.e. where an actor actually dies in the making of the movie. It is also a film that should be referred to the Classification Review Board and call for an RC.

1. Write to your state Attorney-General (names and addresses below) requesting he/she ask for a review of the film The Life and Death of a Porno Gang by the Australian Classification Review Board calling for an RC classification:

-snip-

2. Make a submission to the Classification Review Board that the film Human Centipede 11 (Full Sequence) should be denied classification. Submissions can be made in writing to: The Convenor, Classification Review Board, Locked Bag 3, Haymarket. NSW 1240. Or email: crb@classification.gov.au .

3. Write to NSW Attorney-General to thank him for asking for a review of The Human Centipede 11 (Full Sequence). The Honourable Greg Smith MP, Level 31, Governor Macquarie Tower, 1 Farrer Place, Sydney, NSW, 2000. Email: office@smith.minister.nsw.gov.au . Ph: (02) 92285246.

 

 

Classification Standards
Australian Family Association
Family Update Vol.27 No.1 2012

If you are in NSW, write to Attorney General Greg Smith, to also refer for review, the third film in the porno trifecta, “The Life and Death of a Porno Gang.”

This film, given an R18+ rating in June 2011, contains graphic scenes of sexual violence and according to the acquisitions manager for the film’s distributor, Monster Pictures; “I will admit we were surprised by this one...There are a couple of questionable scenes involving controversial or taboo acts, that have in the past seen a few films either require cuts or be banned.” The tabboo acts are bestiality and the making of “snuff” movies, ie, where an actor actually dies in the making of the movie. This is a film that should also be referred to the Classification Review Board.

 

 

THE LIFE AND DEATH OF PORNO-GANG was never called in by the Classification Review Board.

 

The Life and Death of a Porno-Gang (2009) - Monster Pictures [au] DVD


 

 

 

 

The Life and Times of Xaviera Hollander

Directed by Larry G. Spangler / 1974 / USA / IMDb

In July 1976, a 1947:00-meter (70:58) print of THE LIFE AND TIMES OF XAVIERA HOLLANDER was banned because of 'indecency'.

Blake Films were the applicant.

 

In July 1983, it was 'Refused Registration' again, this time in the form of a 60m videotape. The reason for the ban was sex, which was described as being:
Frequency: Frequent
Explicitness/Intensity: High
Purpose: Gratuitous

A.Davis was the applicant

 

THE LIFE AND TIMES OF XAVIERA HOLLANDER was finally passed with an R-rating in February 1986 following the removal of 00:02-meters (00:03) of footage from a 1947:00-meter (70:58) print. The cuts were made to remove sex, which was found to be:
Frequency: Infrequent
Explicitness/Intensity: High
Purpose: Gratuitous

…while the sex in the censored R-rated version was described as being:
Frequency: Frequent
Explicitness/Intensity: Medium
Purpose: Gratuitous

This was followed in February 1987 by a tape of a 49m 'edited version', which was passed with an R-rating for the same reason as the February 1986 classification.

In both cases, Video Excellence was the applicant. It is unclear why they chose to resubmit the film in a heavily censored version when it already held an R-rating.

 

The Life and Times of Xaviera Hollander (1974) - Video Excellence [au] VHS


 

 

 

 

Linda

Directed by Jess Franco / 1980 / Spain - West Germany / IMDb

In June 1982, Filmways removed 2s of medium level sex from Jess Franco's LINDA in order to gain an R-rating. A censored 85m 35mm theatrical release followed.

Filmways Home Video subsequently issued LINDA on videotape in a print that ran 81:02. This release was confirmed with an R-rating in February 1984. According to the now closed Mondo Erotico website, this was the longest print available anywhere on tape.

 

Linda (1980) - Filmways Home Video [au] VHS


 

 

 

 

Little Superman 

Directed by See-Yuen Ng / 1973 / Hong Kong / IMDb

In December 1973, a 2861.00-meter (104:17) print of LITTLE SUPER MAN was censored by 19.81-meters (00:44) for an R-rating. The cuts were made to remove 'excessive violence'.

Joe Siu International Film Co was the applicant.

 

During the early 1980s, there was no law that compelled distributors to have video tapes classified. In 1983, 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, a 90-minute tape of LITTLE SUPERMAN was passed with such a warning.

The applicant was Grand Film Corporation.

 

Review by Simon
FIST OF VENGEANCE (on screen title)
English dubbed
Running time - 100:51
I suspect that the 44-seconds of cuts to LITTLE SUPERMAN would have come from the scene at 76.30 where the boy called Monkey is bashed to death by Colonel Kino and his two henchmen. The censor may not have liked that such a young character (around 12 years old) received such a savage beating.

At 90:00, the climatic fight between Pang and Colonel Kino is quite violent, though I am less inclined to think it would have needed to be cut. Kino wears metal claws that he uses to slash Pang, which results in his white jacket being soaked in blood.    


 

 

 

 

The Living Dead at Manchester Morgue

aka Let Sleeping Corpses Lie

Directed by Jorge Grau / 1974 / Italy - Spain / IMDb

Roadshow Distributors had a 2488.1-meter (90:41) version of THE LIVING DEAD AT MANCHESTER MORGUE banned in 1978 for reasons of 'excessive violence'. A censored print was never submitted, and the film went unreleased on tape in Australia.

In May 2009, Umbrella Entertainment had an uncut DVD passed with an MA15+ (Strong horror violence and drug use) rating. The disc was released in June 2009 under the alternative title of LET SLEEPING CORPSES LIE.

 

 

LET SLEEPING CORPSES LIE Review

Review by Chris.
The Umbrella Entertainment DVD runs 92:45 (NTSC) and is the same uncut print as the U.S. Blue Underground release.

I do not know why the banned Roadshow version ran only 90:56 when the DVD runs 92:45. If it were pre-cut then all the gore would have been removed, so why was it still banned? I suspect there was some other reason as there is hardly even two minutes of gore in the uncut version.

If we presume the gore was intact in the banned version then I would guess that the ‘excessive violence’ would have been.

55:30 – Guthrie pulling a stake from his neck.

62:00 to 63:00 – Police Officer Craig being killed and eaten by the three zombies.

82:00 – The hospital receptionist being killed and having her breast torn off.

84:00 – The Doctor hitting the Zombie on the chest with the axe. The Zombie then grabs the axe and hits the Doctor on the head.

The MA15+ rating is about right as the gore is graphic, but sparingly used.

 

The Living Dead at  Manchester Morgue - Umbrella Entertainment [au] DVD


 

 

 

 

Lonesome Cowboys  

Directed by Andy Warhol / 1968 / USA / IMDb

In July 1973, a 1120.16-meter (102:05) 16mm print of LONESOME COWBOYS was cut by 8.53-meters (00:46) because of 'indecency'.

House of Dare was the applicant.

 

 

LONESOME COWBOYS: The rape of Viva

Thanks to Matt for this information.

The print that I viewed ran 104:36, had no opening credits, and the title was only shown at the end of the film.

The 46s of cuts to LONESOME COWBOYS would have had to be made to the rape of Ramona, as played by Viva. She arrives, and orders the five gay cowboys to get off her ranch. At 51:30 she gets down off her horse, is tackled to the ground, and her top is torn off. They then proceed to grope and molest her. The scene ends at approximately 56m. The sequence was controversial because it appears that Viva was genuinely distressed during the filming, and called out to Andy Warhol to "…make them stop".

 

More information about this scene can be found here.

Lonesome Cowboys (1968)
Gary Comenas, warholstars.org

The boys attacked Viva as she pleaded, "you're hurting me... please." She screamed out to both her fellow actors and the tourists who had gathered to watch the filming, "oooh, make them stop! Oh, Andy!" as the boys continued to molest her. At the end of the scene she yelled "Disgusting pigs! Look at all those children shocked out of their minds," referring to the onlookers. (JOE57)

Because of the filming, Andy Warhol was put on surveillance by the FBI on 23 February 1968 in response to a complaint by the public. The FBI were investigating the event in order to see if there were grounds to arrest Warhol for interstate transporting of obscene material, ie if he had taken a film of a rape from Arizona to New York. (L&D288) He was never charged. However, in August 1969, Lonesome Cowboys was seized by authorities during its third week playing at a cinema in Atlanta, Georgia, and the manager of the cinema arrested. (JOE62)"


 

 

 

 

Lolita Goes to College

Produced by Cinecal Prod / 197? / USA / IMDb link required

Note: The only credit we have for this title is the production company, Cinecal Productions.

In March 1981, a 643.10-meter (58:36) 16mm print of LOLITA GOES TO COLLEGE was banned because of sex, which was found to be:
Frequency: Frequent
Explicitness/Intensity: High
Purpose: Gratuitous

A 451.10-meter (41:06) 'reconstructed version' was resubmitted, but this too was banned in August 1981. The censored sex, now saw it described as being:
Frequency: Infrequent
Explicitness/Intensity: High
Purpose: Gratuitous

In both cases, 14th Mandolin was the applicant.


 

 

 

 

Lost Souls

Directed by T.F.Mous / 1980 / Hong Kong / IMDb

In June 1981, a 2365.30-meter (86:13) print of LOST SOULS was banned because of violence, which was described as being:
Frequency: Frequent
Explicitness/Intensity: High
Purpose: Gratuitous

Joe Sui International Film Co was the applicant.

 

In 1989, Director T.F.Mous had more Australian censorship problems when his MAN BEHIND THE SUN (1988) was initially Refused Classification. It was eventually awarded an R18+ rating by the Review Board.

 

LOST SOULS (1980) review

Review by Matt
I recently viewed the Celestial Pictures Hong Kong VCD from 2005 and thought you may be interested in my thoughts. The film runs 89:55, which compares with 86:27 that you quote as the original submission time. Maybe this means it was pre-cut before our censors viewed it. Whatever the story is, this would be a very difficult film to censor, and it's very easy to see why a cut version was not re-submitted.

The sex and violence begin at the 25m mark with a naked woman being tortured by having wax dripped on her, followed by a group of men throwing her around. It hardly lets up from then on. Some of the problem scenes would have to have included the rape of Chuen (31m), the torture of the girls (48m), and the rape of one of the male prisoners by the gang boss (63m).


 

 

 

 

Love by Rape

Directed by Roger Fritz / 1970 / West Germany / IMDb

In November 1971, an 8172-feet (90:48) print of LOVE BY RAPE was banned because of 'indecency and excessive violence'.

Consolidated Exhibitors were the applicant.


 

 

 

 

Love Camp

Directed by Jess Franco / 1977 / Switzerland / IMDb

In June 1981, a 2147.38-meter (78:16) print of LOVE CAMP was censored by 74.50-meters (02:43) for an R-rating. The cuts were made to remove violence, which was said to be:
Frequency: Frequent
Explicitness/Intensity: High
Purpose: Gratuitous

While the R-rating was awarded for sex and violence, which were both found to be:
Frequency: Frequent
Explicitness/Intensity: Medium
Purpose: Gratuitous

Filmways Australasia Distributors was the applicant.

Following the theatrical release, a censored 70:17 (PAL) version of LOVE CAMP was released by Filmways Home Video.

 

In October 1986, a 71m tape of LOVE CAMP was banned because of 'gratuitous sexual violence'.

The Queensland Police were the applicant.

 

 

LOVE CAMP (1977): uncut vs. censored Filmways tape

Review by Matt
DVD - V.I.P. Entertainment (Switzerland)
78:47 (NTSC)
It has been many years since I viewed the Filmways VHS of LOVE CAMP so it is hard to remember what exactly was missing when compared to this uncut version. However, I do remember cuts to the scene where the virgin is held by two guards while the Warden pushes a riding crop handle between her legs.

In V.I.P. Entertainment's FRAUEN IM LIEBESLAGER DVD, this scene runs from 13:30 to 16:00.

 

Love Camp (1977) - Filmways Home Video [au] VHS


 

 

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