Film Censorship: L #1


 

 

 

 

Laboratory of the Devil

Directed by Godfrey Ho / 1992 / Hong Kong / IMDb

In August 1992, a 95m 35mm print of LABORATORY OF THE DEVIL was banned because of 'extreme violence and cruelty'. Chinatown Cinema was the applicant.

 

 

1992: Review Board Appeal

An appeal to the Board of Review was unsuccessful and the RC-rating was confirmed.

Laboratory of the Devil purports to be a factual account of atrocities committed by a Japanese military unit as part of germ warfare and weapons experiments during the Second World War. It was refused registration by the Film Censorship Board on the ground that it contained prolonged and relished depictions of extreme violence and cruelty.

In their appeal the distributors argued that the film's purpose was to expose the cruelties and atrocities committed against human beings in war. Ms Cindy Lai and Mr Peter Yu, on behalf of Chinatown Cinema Pty Ltd, contended that the film was based on fact and was similar to an earlier film, Man Behind the Sun, which the Board of Review approved with an 'R' classification in April 1989.

In its decision on Laboratory of the Devil, the Film Censorship Board acknowledged the comparison with Men Behind the Sun, but argued that the present film was essentially a work of exploitation; that it lacked any real claim to historical or documentary seriousness and contained graphic scenes of prolonged and relished violence and cruelty which justified its refusal. In general the Board of Review concurred with this view.

While some of us felt the first film, was, if anything, more graphic and disturbing than the second, we agreed that the second trivialised its subject-matter in an exploitative and objectionable way, negating any claim to serious historical or documentary purpose such as a majority of the Board had been prepared to concede to Man Behind the Sun. In the present instance, while none of us objected in principle to the films subject matter or in the graphic depictions of atrocities, it seemed to us that the depictions in Laboratory of the Devil exceeded the bounds of acceptability under current classification guidelines to the extent that the film should be refused. We accordingly upheld the decision of the Film Censorship Board. 17 September 1992.

 

 

1992: Censored Theatrical Release

With the Review Board appeal unsuccessful, Chinatown Cinema censored LABORATORY OF THE DEVIL down from 95m to 91m. In October 1992, this version was passed with an R18+ (High Level Violence) rating. This print that played theatrically in Australian Chinese language cinemas.

In 1992, the Classification Board also banned Godfrey Ho's LETHAL PANTHER.

 

1994: Banned Video Release

In 1994, Eagle Entertainment applied to release a 91m videotape of LABORATORY OF THE DEVIL. Again the OFLC awarded it an RC-rating. The running time of 91m (PAL) would be equal to a 95m (35mm) print. This indicates that it was uncut.

Eagle Entertainment had been responsible for the 1992 video release of MAN BEHIND THE SUN. In 1989, this too was banned, before being R-rated on appeal. LABORATORY OF THE DEVIL is also known as MAN BEHIND THE SUN 2.

 

 

2004: Uncut DVD Release

It would take another ten years before LABORATORY OF THE DEVIL would again be rated by the Classification Board. In August 2004, Force Entertainment was awarded an R18+ (Graphic violence) rating for a 91:55 version. A DVD followed later that month.

This particular release was fully uncut; however, it only contained the terrible English dubbed version.

 

Laboratory of the Devil - Force Entertainment [au] DVD


 

 

 

 

LA Crackdown 2

Directed by Joseph Merhi /1988 / USA / IMDb

An 87m videotape of LA CRACKDOWN 2 was banned in 1988.

It was not until January 1990 that an 83m censored version was passed with an R18+ (Assaultive coarse language, Occasional graphic violence) rating. CBS/Fox released this version on videotape; it had an exact running time of 82:41.

The attack on Jamie at around the 60m looks to have been censored.

Flashback Home Entertainment issued a cheap DVD of LA CRACKDOWN 2 in 2002. The print ran 82:35 (not including the Troma intro), and would appear to be the same as the censored CBS/Fox videotape.

 

LA Crackdown 2 - CBS-Fox Video [au] VHSLA Crackdown 2 - Flashback Home Entertainment [au] DVD


 

 

 

 

Last Cannibal World

Directed by Ruggero Deodato / 1976 / Italy / IMDb

In April 1977, a 2550.00-meter (92:57) print of LAST CANNIBAL WORLD was banned because of 'indecency and indecent violence'.

In May 1977, a 2276.69-meter (82:59) 'reconstructed version' lost a further 23.30-meter (00:51) before being awarded an R-rating. These extra cuts were made to remove 'indecent violence'.

Unitalia Films of Australia was the applicant.

 

 

Censored Video Classics tape

In the early 80s, Video Classics released a heavily censored 79:26 (PAL) version of LAST CANNIBAL WORLD on tape. The print may have been sourced from the Australian theatrical version, as the running times are similar.

The Classification Board’s database claims that in February 1984, Video Classics had an 88m tape passed with an M-rating. We presume this is a mistake as the rating is too low, and the running time would make it uncut.

 

Here is a detailed look at exactly what was missing from the Video Classics release.

Video Classics (Australia) - 79:26 (cut)
Video City International (Greece) - 87:56 (uncut)

 

OPENING CREDITS

20s missing from the start of the Video Classics tape. Over a black background, the footage shows the name of the production company, followed by "A Ruggero Deodato Film". We are then shown a shot looking down from above the plane as it flies over the jungle.

The next shot of the story behind the film takes place over a black background on the VCI tape. The Video Classics version shows more shots of the plane flying over the jungle.

 

ROBERT IN THE JUNGLE

Before - Robert runs down the riverbank. Ralph follows and calls out, "Oh Robert, only a lunatic would go barging into the jungle like that"

CENSORED AT 08:47 (14s missing) - Robert "Do me a favour, I'm in no mood for one of your lectures on jungle survival. Now get us out of here". He looks away and then says "Sorry Ralph". Ralph replies, "That's okay, we mustn't start fighting now"

After - Ralph continues, "I won't get us far". Robert then climbs back up from the riverbank.

 

DEATH OF CHARLIE THE PILOT

Before - Charlie picks up a piece of the girls dress, which sets off a trap. A spiked ball swings down and pins him to a tree. Blood splatters on Ralph's face.

CENSORED AT 14:15 (3s missing) - Close up shot of the spikes in his chest, followed by a shot of him still alive and pinned to the tree.

After/Before - Robert looking down from the vine.

CENSORED AT 14:19 (10s missing) - Ralph vomiting followed by another shot of the now dead Charlie pinned to the tree. Blood is shown dripping to the ground.

After/Before - Robert coming down from the vine.

CENSORED AT 14:20 (20s missing) - Robert gets to the bottom of the vine. He checks that Charlie is dead, then moves around behind him and over to Ralph.

After - Robert helps Ralph to his feet and tells him to "Snap out of it!"

 

DEATH BY ANTS/CANNIBAL CHILDREN

Before - The prisoner is tied up and his arms are slashed. Shot of ants crawling over the wounds.

CENSORED AT 33:18 (15s missing) - Robert looks up at the prisoner who screams as the ants eat at the wound.

After - Robert putting his hands to his ears to drown out the screams.

Before - Robert looks up from the cage.

CENSORED AT 33:39 (10s missing) - Two shots of the prisoners arms eaten through to the bone. Shot of Robert's face followed by the cannibals.

After/Before - Robert looking down to the ground.

CENSORED AT 33:43 (10s missing) - Robert being awoken by the cannibal children urinating on him from above. He calls out "What the hell, get away!"

After - Followed by "You little monkeys, leave me alone!"

 

PALAN AND ROBERT

Before - Palan touches Robert on the face.

CENSORED AT 36:21 (69s missing) - Palan touches Robert's body and between his legs.

After - Cannibals trying to start a fire.

 

CROCODILE SLAUGHTER

Before - Crocodile is hit on the head for a second time. Brief shot of Robert in the cage.

CENSORED AT 45:12 (80s missing) - A Knife is stuck in the Crocodile's head before it is skinned.

After/Before - Shot of a cannibal looking on.

CENSORED AT 45:26 (4s missing) - A cannibal reaches down and picks up the Crocodile's decapitated head.

After - Shot of Robert. His voice over says "The eagle...."

Before - Crocodile meat being picked up from the floor.

CENSORED AT 46:29 (8s missing) - Cannibal walking away with the meat. Shot of male cannibal eating.

After - Shot of female cannibals eating.

 

THE BIRTH

Before - A native woman gives birth. Holding the baby, she walks to the rivers edge.

CENSORED AT 50:29 (8s missing) - She throws the baby into the water. A Crocodile is shown diving into the river.

After - Shot of Robert's face before him and Palan turn and leave.

 

THE RAPE OF PALAN

Before - Robert hits Palan. Close-up shot of her face and bleeding nose.

CENSORED AT 54:18 (62s missing) - Robert pulls off her loincloth. She tries to run away but he catches and rapes her.

After - Palan walking into the jungle as Robert wakes up.

 

HELICOPTER SEARCH

Before - Helicopter flying away.

CENSORED AT 62:08 (11s missing) - Robert breaking down and crying followed by Palan walking through the jungle.

After - Robert walking through the jungle.

 

RALPH'S DIALOG

Before - "Maybe it is terrible in our world, but not in theirs"

CENSORED AT 63:54 (2s missing) - "Everyone becomes a link in the chain of survival"

After - Shot of a Crocodile entering the water.

 

PALAN BECOMES DINNER

Before - Cannibals lifting Palan's body. Robert helping Ralph walk.

CENSORED AT 71:27 (106s missing) - Palan is decapitated and her head placed in the fire. She is then disembowelled and her body filled with food before it is cooked.

After - Cannibals gathering around followed by shots of them eating.

This scene was edited into Umberto Lenzi's EATEN ALIVE (1980). That film also had censorship problems in Australia.

 

ROBERT THE CANNIBAL

Before - Robert raises the stone axe above the cannibal.

CENSORED AT 73:37 (4s missing) - Shot of the axe wound on the victims body followed by a shot of Robert holding the bloody axe.

After/Before - Shot of the cannibal's faces as they look on. Robert's arms are shown doing something off screen.

CENSORED AT 73:45 (23s missing) - Robert reaches into the wound and removes the intestines. He begins to eat them as the cannibal's look on.

After/Before - Shot of the cannibal's faces.

CENSORED AT 73:46 (15s missing) - Further shots of Robert eating the flesh before he breaks down and sobs.

After - Robert helping Ralph through the jungle.

 

END CREDITS

Before - Ralph's body slumps to the seat of the plane.

77:58 - No cuts, however the credits on the Greek tape play out over a black background, whilst the Australian tape shows the credits over a still shot of the jungle.

 

 

Customs Confiscation in 1991

LAST CANNIBAL WORLD (as ULTIMO MONDO CANNIBALE) 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"

One sheet image courtesy of moviemem.com

 

Last Cannibal World (1976) - Unitalia Films of Australia [au] One sheet poster     Last Cannibal World (1976) - Video Classics [au] VHS


 

 

 

 

The Last House on the Left

aka Krug and Company

Directed by Wes Craven / 1972 / USA / IMDb

During the 1970s, THE LAST HOUSE ON THE LEFT was never picked up for Australian distribution. This was most probably due to the inevitable censorship problems that would have eventuated.

 

 

KRUG AND COMPANY: Banned on Video

In 1987, Video Excellence submitted an 82m videotape to the Censorship Board under the alternative title of KRUG AND COMPANY. Unsurprisingly, it was banned.

 

 

Failed Review Board Appeal

Video Excellence then took the film to Board of Review who confirmed the RC-rating.

The Board of Review's response was as follows.

Krug and Company (aka The Last House on the Left), directed in 1972 by Wes Craven, is a relentless, gross and insensitive exploitation film that, in the unanimous opinion of the Film Board of Review, should not be approved for classification. It depicts in a highly objectionable way the implied rape, slashing, terrorization, butchery and murder of two young women by psychotic thugs.

In his verbal submission to the Board of Review, Mr Allan Tibbits of Video Excellence expressed the view that the Censorship Board had been influenced by the fact that the violence is perpetrated against women. The Board of Review noted that among the acts of mayhem is one strongly implying oral severing of male genitalia by a women.

The Board of Review felt that, regardless of the degree of explicit sexual violence, butchery and cruelty remaining after heavy editing, the film is inherently so dehumanised and insensitive (and totally unrelieved by the inappropriate comic interludes) that release on video could not be justified The Film Board of Review accordingly confirms the decision of the Censorship Board to Refuse to approve the classification of Krug and Company (aka The Last House on the Left) pursuant to Section 25 (3) of the A.C.T Classification of Publications Ordinance 1983

7 May 1987

 

 

LAST HOUSE ON THE LEFT and Customs

THE LAST HOUSE ON THE LEFT 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"

 

The are reports of a second confiscated tape from 1998.

 

 

Uncut DVD and Blu-ray releases

On June 8, 2004, Umbrella Entertainment had a DVD of THE LAST HOUSE ON THE LEFT passed with an R18+ (Strong sexual violence, Medium level violence) rating. It was passed for a second time on September 23, 2004 and was again rated R18+ (Strong sexual violence, Medium level violence). This second submission was presumably due to additional extras being added to the DVD.

THE LAST HOUSE ON THE LEFT had its long delayed Australian premiere on November 4, 2004 at the Australian Centre for the Moving Image in Melbourne.

The Umbrella DVD followed on November 15, 2004. This release was taken from an NTSC source, and not including the MGM logo, ran 84:09.

The first commentary track features Director Wes Craven on which he says.

"In England and Australia this film has never been allowed to be publicly viewed"

This track was recorded for the 2002 US MGM DVD.

 

In October 2007, Umbrella Entertainment re-released the film as part of a Wes Craven box set, that also included the original THE HILLS HAVE EYES (1977) and its sequel. They re-released it again in February 2008 as part of a so-called VIDEO NASTIES box set, which also included BASKET CASE (1982) and MANIAC (1980).

 

In September 2013, Umbrella Entertainment released THE LAST HOUSE ON THE LEFT on Blu-ray.

 

The Last House on the Left (1972) - Umbrella Entertainment [au] DVD 1The Last House on the Left (1972) - Umbrella Entertainment [au] DVD 2The Last House on the Left (1972) - Umbrella Entertainment [au] DVD 3The Last House on the Left (1972) - Umbrella Entertainment [au] Blu-ray


 

 

 

 

The Last Judgement

Directed by Wong Fung / 1979 / Hong Kong / IMDb

In April 1980 JS and WC International Film removed 19s from THE LAST JUDGEMENT in order to gain an R-rating. The cuts were required for 'gratuitous, frequent, medium intensity violence'. The censored 97m 35mm print of the Shaw Brothers production went on to have a Chinese Language cinema release.


 

 

 

 

The Last Savage Part 2

Directed by Alfredo Castiglioni -  Angelo Castiglioni / 1982 / Italy / IMDb

In October 1985, Palace Home Video had a 96m tape of THE LAST SAVAGE PART TWO Refused Registration. It was banned because of violence, which was described as being:
Frequency: Infrequent
Explicitness/Intensity: High
Purpose: Gratuitous

Palace Home Video had success in the mid-80s releasing other mondo titles such as SAVAGE MAN SAVAGE BEAST, and THIS VIOLENT WORLD.

 

 

THE LAST SAVAGE 2: The gratuitous violence

Thanks to Simon for this review.

Onscreen title: The Last Savage Part Two (Shocking Africa)
Viprodis / Video Power (Dutch or Belgium)
Running time: - 92:50

THE LAST SAVAGE PART TWO is one of the more interesting mondo films that I have seen. There appeared to be fewer fake scenes than normal, and some of the tribal rituals were genuinely interesting.

It contains the usual animal cruelty. Chickens, goats, camels, and snakes are killed, and baby pigs are shown being thrown to crocodiles. The censor may have had an issue with these. However, I believe it would have been some of the following scenes that resulted in the RC-rating. This is especially true of those involving children in obvious pain.

16:15 to 21:00 – A seemingly never-ending sequence of around twenty young boys being circumcised by the tribe. This is a very real sequence, and difficult to watch. The boys cry and scream as their foreskins are stretched and chopped off with a knife.

27:00 to 29:00 – Another group of young children have their teeth filed away to sharpen them. For me, this was more painful to watch than the aforementioned circumcision scene.

31:00 to 31:30 – A snake is shown being put inside a woman’s vagina in a fertility ritual.

59:00 to 60:45 – Another tribe is shown performing circumcisions on young boys.

70:00 to 72:30 – Boys are shown having their faces cut with a razor blade in a scarification ceremony.

75:30 to 76:30 – A woman is shown having her chest cut with a razor blade in a scarification ceremony.

77:00 to 78:00 – Women are shown having their back and wrists cut during scarification.

86:00 to 89:45 – Film of young girls being circumcised.

 

 

The Mondo films of the Castiglioni brothers

Other mondo films by Alfredo and Angelo Castiglioni have had censorship problems in Australia.

In January 1971, an SOA rated SECRET AFRICA (1969) was censored by five minutes because of ‘indecency’. This was followed in 1976 by NAKED MAGIC (1975), which was banned, then R-rated by the Review Board.

 

 

The other SHOCKING AFRICA (1989)

THE LAST SAVAGE PART TWO is also known under the alternative title of SHOCKING AFRICA. In July 1991, the OFLC passed a film called SHOCKING AFRICA on VHS. 1st Call Video Rights had the 70m tape classified with an M (High level violence) rating. The 69:44 tape was released by Eagle Entertainment. Despite the OFLC awarding it an M-rating, we seem to recall that the cover stated R18+.

This version was produced in the US by Hurricane Pictures in 1989. It is nothing more than a compilation of scenes from MONDO CANE (1962), MONDO CANE 2 (1963), SLAVE TRADE IN THE WORLD TODAY (1964), and AFRICA ADDIO (1966).


 

 

 

 

Learning to Love

Produced by L.Pickett / USA / 197? / IMDb link required

Note: The only information we have about this title is the Producer credit. We believe that this may refer to Lowell Pickett

 

In September 1975, a 943.42-meter (85:58) 16mm print of LEARNING TO LOVE was banned because of 'indecency'.

A 921.48-meter (83:58) 'reconstructed version' lost a further 16.6-meter (01:28) before being awarded an R-rating in February 1976. The cuts were made to remove 'indecency'.

Garron international were the applicant.


 

 

 

 

Lecherous Lover

Directed by Unknown / 198? / Japan / IMDb link required

In May 1987, a Yu Enterprises had a 60m 35mm print of LECHEROUS LOVER banned.

In 1986 to 1987, Yu Enterprises had similar problems with MADAM X (198?), SADISTIC WHORE (198?), SEXY SPIRIT (198?) and VAMP (198?). All were Japanese films that Raymond Yu planned to screen at his Australia Cinema in Sydney. We require more information about all of these titles.


 

 

 

 

Lethal Panther

Directed by Godfrey Ho / 1990 / Hong Kong / IMDb

In November 1991, a 96m 35mm print of LETHAL PANTHER was Refused Classification by the OFLC. It does not appear that Yu Enterprises resubmitted a censored version.

In 1992, the Classification Board also banned Godfrey Ho's LABORATORY OF THE DEVIL.

 

 

LETHAL PANTHER: The banned scene

Thanks to Matt for this review and screencaps.

The Hong Kong VHS from Ocean Shores that I viewed ran 92:35 (PAL). It is easy to spot the scene that caused the OFLC to ban it.

RC scene: 68:11 to 69:21 – The gang have broken into the room of a sleeping woman. They run a pistol over her breasts and face. She wakes, and one gang member grabs her by the hair and flips her on her stomach. He runs the pistol over her underwear, puts it between her legs, and pulls the trigger on the unloaded gun. She screams.

She is then lifted off the bed by her hair, and punched in the stomach. In the next scene, she is being raped from behind as another gang member watches on.

In 1995, the British censor removed 43s from this rape scene. In the UK, Eastern Heroes went to release this version of LETHAL PANTHER on VHS under the title DEADLY CHINA DOLLS. To add to the confusion, they re-titled Phillip Ko’s LETHAL PANTHER 2 (1993) to LETHAL PANTHER.

 

Lethal Panther (1990) - Censored rape scene #1Lethal Panther (1990) - Censored rape scene #2


 

 

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