Film Censorship: N #3


 

 

 

 

The Nightcomers

Directed by Michael Winner / 1972 / UK / IMDb

In June 1972, an 8697-feet (96:38) print of THE NIGHTCOMERS was censored by 94-feet (01:02) for an R-rating. The cuts were made to remove 'indecency'.

20th Century Fox were the applicant.

The cuts were presumably made to the scene that takes place a third of the way in, where Quint ties up Miss Jessel, before they have sex.

 

 

Censored video release

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.

PBL Video had a 92m video of THE NIGHTCOMERS passed with such a warning in July 1983. The tape was released on their Embassy Home Video label.

 

Review by Matt
The Embassy Home Video release runs 92:15. Despite having a similar running to the uncut version, 92:15 compared to 92:21, the tape version is still heavily cut. It may have been sourced from a TV-print.

The following scenes are missing or modified in the Embassy Home Entertainment tape.

13:30 – Quint pulling down Miss Jessel’s top and grabbing her bare breast.

28:00 – The tying up of Miss Jessel is shown in full, however the sex scene between Quint and her is superimposed over shots of darkened trees making it impossible to see what is going on. A shot from this scene is shown on the cover of the tape.

53:00 – Miss Jessel reveals her naked breast to Mrs Grose, believing it to have been Quint.

90:00 – Miles finishing Quint off with an arrow to the head.

 

In December 1985, Communications and Entertainment had a 92m videotape passed with an M-rating. It was awarded for 'adult concepts'. This fact that it still received a low rating indicates that it was the same version as the earlier PBL Video tape.

Daybill image courtesy of moviemem.com

 

The Nightcomers (1972) - 20th Century Fox [au] Daybill     The Nightcomers (1972) - Embassy Home Video [au] VHS


 

 

 

 

Nightmare

aka Schizo

Directed by Romano Scavolini / 1981 / USA / IMDb

In January 1985, Video Classics had a 100m tape of NIGHTMARE Refused Registration. It was banned because of violence, which was described as being:
Frequency: Frequent
Explicitness/Intensity: High
Purpose: Gratuitous

Video Classics censored the tape down to 96m, but in February 1985, this too was banned. The violence was now described as:
Frequency: Infrequent
Explicitness/Intensity: High
Purpose: Gratuitous

Finally, in August 1985, a 95m tape was passed with an R-rating. It was awarded for:
Violence
Frequency: Frequent
Explicitness/Intensity: Medium
Purpose: Gratuitous

Other: Sexual allusions

Despite the censorship, Video Classics only ever released an uncut 99:24 version of NIGHTMARE. It is unclear why they went to so much trouble to achieve an R-rating, only to then not release it.

The Video Classics Gold release has since become very collectable. It, and the early 80s Dutch Video for Pleasure release, contain the most complete versions of NIGHTMARE available on videotape. Both reportedly include a dialog scene that is not present in any other version. The Australian tape is the more desirable as it looses the Dutch subtitles.

 

 

Review by Simon
Here are the most violent scenes in the Video Classics Gold tape that would have caused the ban.

27:00 – George slashing the girl’s throat, and stabbing her in the stomach.

83:15 – Joey being garroted, followed by the graphic hammer murder of the babysitter.

94:00 – George decapitates the girl who is sitting on top of his father. He then buries the axe in his father’s head. Parts of this scene are replayed throughout the film as George has flashbacks to the murder. They can be found at 08:30, 17:00, 30:40, and 60:00.

 

 

Featured in TERROR ON TAPE (1983)

Two months before the ban, scenes from NIGHTMARE were shown in the TERROR ON TAPE (1983) compilation. This was banned by the Censorship Board in March 1985. The tape featured the following clips from the film.

 

 

1986: SA Police and the uncut NIGHTMARE

In November 1986, the uncut Video Classics Gold tape was seized by the South Australian Police. It was refused again, for the same reasons as the initial January 1985 submission. That was violence, described as:
Frequency: Frequent
Explicitness/Intensity: High
Purpose: Gratuitous

 

 

1987: Censored and re-titled SCHIZO

In May 1987, Palace Home Video re-titled NIGHTMARE to SCHIZO, and received an R-rating from the Censorship Board. This particular release was very heavily cut, and ran only 89:03. In comparison, the Video Classics Gold tape ran 99:24.

 

Review by Simon
I compared my Video Classics Gold tape to the Palace Video release and found the following cuts in the SCHIZO version. This is not a comprehensive list, as there are definitely other small cuts to various scenes. The times refer to the Video Classics tape.

08:30 – The flashback to the woman on top of George’s Dad is missing the decapitation.

17:00 – Another flashback to the above scene has been censored.

27:00 – Some major censorship of the girl getting her throat cut and stabbed in the chest.

60:00 – Missing shot of George swinging axe towards his father.

83:15 – The garroting of Joey looks like it may have lost a few seconds. The death of the baby sitter is heavily censored. Surprisingly the Palace tape shows the hammer in the hand shot, but removes all of the hammer blows to her back.

94:00 – George's decapitation of the woman, and the axing in the head of his Dad has been nearly totally removed from the Palace tape. We are only shown the first swing of the axe. It even removes the bloody George sitting down in the chair after the murder.

97:00 – Another shot of the bloody George has been totally removed.

 

Nightmare - Video Classics Gold [au] VHSNightmare - Palace Explosive Video [au] VHS


 

 

 

 

Nightmare Campus: A Total Nightmare

Directed by Koji Yoshikawa / 1996 / Japan / IMDb

There is a confirmed 2002 customs confiscation of the five-volume Anime 18 DVD box set of NIGHTMARE CAMPUS: A TOTAL NIGHTMARE.

The reasons given were:

"The goods are considered by the Office of Film and Literature Classification to fall within Sub Regulation 4A1(d) of the Customs (Prohibited Imports) Regulations."


 

 

 

 

Night of the Warlock

Produced by Satanic Film / 1971 / USA / IMDb

In November 1981, a 559-meter (50:56) 16mm 'pre-censor cut version' of NIGHT OF THE WARLOCK was further censored by 1-meter (00:05) for an R-rating.

The cuts were made to remove sex, which was found to be:
Frequency: Infrequent
Explicitness/Intensity: High
Purpose: Gratuitous

The censorship reduced the sex in the R-rated version to:
Frequency: Frequent
Explicitness/Intensity: Medium
Purpose: Gratuitous

14th Mandolin released it theatrically, and on tape on their King of Video label.

 

Night of the Warlock (1971) - King of Video [au] VHS


 

 

 

 

Night of the Wilding

Directed by Joseph Merhi / 1990 / USA / IMDb

In 1990, RCA/Columbia Pictures/Hoyts Video had an 85m videotape of NIGHT OF THE WILDING banned. It was then censored down to 81m and passed with an R18+ (Occasional graphic violence) rating in September 1990.

The Australian censors had banned Joseph Merhi’s previous film LA CRACKDOWN 2 in 1988.

 

 

Censored R-rated tape

The true running time of the RCA/Columbia Pictures/Hoyts Video release was 80:45, and it was missing footage from the rape of Doris.

At 16:33 - Here the censored version shows Doris being put on to the table whilst shouting "No, No". Missing was approximately 15s of footage showing her having her top torn off to expose her breasts, and her dress pulled up to expose her underwear. Instead, the cut tape shows Betty in the shower.

At 16:50 - The censored version shows a very brief close-up shot of Doris with a gag in her mouth (further censored in the M-rated tape). Missing is around 27s of Doris having her underwear pulled down, and being raped. Instead, the cut version again shows Betty in the shower, and one of the rapists approaching the bathroom swinging a baseball bat. Following this, a further 22s of Doris being raped has been removed. The cut tape instead shows Betty in the shower, and the rapist entering the bathroom.

 

 

Censored M-rated tape

In September 1992, Eagle Entertainment submitted an even more censored version of NIGHT OF THE WILDING and received an M (Coarse language, Medium level violence) rating. This 79:28 videotape further tones down the rape of Doris, as well as removing (at approximately 10m) a couple of baseball bat blows to the security guard.

 

Night of the Wilding - RCA-Columbia-Hoyts Video [au] VHSNight of the Wilding - Eagle Entertainment [au] VHS


 

 

 

 

 

Night Train Murders

aka Torture Train

Directed by Aldo Lado / 1975 / Italy / IMDb

In December 1975 a 2566.80-meter (93:33) 35mm print of NIGHT TRAIN MURDERS was Refused Registration because of ‘indecency and excessive violence’. In September 1976, the Review Board confirmed the ban. In both cases, Regent Trading Enterprises was the applicant.

In the mid-80s, an uncut Italian language VHS could be found in most Australian-Italian video stores. It was released on the PAC label as L'ULTIMO TRENO DELLA NOTTE. The censors never rated this release.

In August 1986, JEF Films had a 79m tape of NIGHT TRAIN MURDERS banned because of 'gratuitous sexual violence'. The film was submitted under the title TORTURE TRAIN. Despite this being a shorter version, the reason for the ban indicates that the rape scene remained.

There is one confirmed Australian customs confiscation of NIGHT TRAIN MURDERS from the early 2000s.

 

 

Indecency and excessive violence

Review by Joe
The uncut print of NIGHT TRAIN MURDERS that I viewed ran 90:08. The ‘indecency and excessive violence’ that the censor refer to would have definitely been the scene that runs from 47 to 59m. It begins with Margaret being forced to give Curly a blowjob. The group then make Lisa remove her underwear, and an old man enters the train carriage and rapes Margaret. Curly then stabs Lisa with a knife between the legs and she bleeds to death.

At 81m, the Professor stabs Curly to death with a large metal spike to the crotch. This is quite a graphic murder, and may have been some of the ‘excessive violence’ that the censor objected to.


 

 

 

 

Ninja Scroll

Directed by Yoshiaki Kawajiri / 1993 / Japan / IMDb

In March 1995, Siren Entertainment had the 91m uncut videotape of NINJA SCROLL passed with an MA15+ (Medium level violence). This was released on their Manga Video label.

 

 

Controversial uncut SBS Screening

In 1996, the same uncut version of NINJA SCROLL premiered on SBS. Following this screening, an application was lodged by the Federal Attorney General, at the request of the Attorney General of the Classification Act, to have the MA15+ rating reviewed.

 

 

NINJA SCROLL MA15+ to R18+

The Board of Review met in July 1996, and increased the MA15+ (Medium level violence) originally awarded to NINJA SCROLL to R18+ (High level violence; Medium level sex scenes).

Their reasoning is reproduced below.

 

5 Findings on material questions of fact

The content

5.1 Female Ninja , Kagero , and masterless warrior Jubei are caught up in a web of intrigue, monsters and poison in this Japanese 'Manga' movie

5.2 The Review Board considered the scene of 'coercive violence' (at 11minutes) cited by the former Film Censorship Board as causing the videotape to be classified MA15+. Kagero has her top opened by the monster, her breasts licked, her legs spread apart and licked up and down. In response to her cries of terror he says 'I wouldn't mind raping a dead girl'.

5.3 The Review Board also found a scene at 13 and 62 minutes respectively to constitute depictions of sexual violence, viz

13 minutes: Kagero is the observer of a scene of non-consenting sex, with cries from the female.

62 minutes: The monster has captured and suspended Kagero with ropes, with hands tied behind her back and one leg raised sideways.. The monster licks his long talon-like finger (with the aim of infecting her with his poison) and approaches with the strongly implied intention of digital rape and genital mutilation.

5.4 The Review Board also found a high and impactful level of violence, with a strong element of relished cruelty throughout the videotape. The genre us used to display violence acts in a graphic manner. The tone of the violence which pervades the videotape was found to amplify and intensify the incidents of sexual violence.

As such, the videotape was found to have a level of violence, including sexual violence, which could not be accommodated in the MA15+ category.

 

6 Reasons for the Decision.

6.1 The Review Board based its decision to classify the videotape Ninja Scroll 'R18+' in the content, tone and scenes described in 5.2-5.4 above.

6.2 The Review Board concluded that the videotape contained a continuous level of relished violence, which increased the impact of the depictions of sexual violence, and as such was likely to be harmful to those under 18 years.

6.3 The Review Board concluded that the film was unsuitable for a minor to see, within the meaning of Paragraph 3 of the Table under the heading 'Films' in the National Classification Code

6.4 The Review Board's direction that the consumer advice be 'High Level Violence: Medium Level Sex Scenes' is made having regard to its findings in paragraph 5.2-5.4 above.

 

7 Summary

The Review Board's decision is to set aside the decision of the Film Censorship Board to classify the videotape Ninja Scroll MA15+, and to classify the videotape 'R18+' with the consumer advice 'High Level Violence: Medium Level Sex Scenes'.

The decision was taken after full consideration of the applicant's submission and after assessing the film as a whole against the relevant legislative criteria and those contained in the current Guidelines for the Classification of Films and Video Tapes. 11-12 July 1996

 

 

Censored SBS screening

With the NINJA SCROLL rating raised to R18+, SBS were unable to show the uncut version for their second screening. Instead, a censored version was shown that removed the scene where Kagero's legs are licked by the monster.

 

 

Censored R4 Madman DVD

Madman Entertainment originally released a R4 DVD of NINJA SCROLL in 2000. There was no reason why this release should not have been uncut. However, once again Australia was dumped with a censored British master.

Thanks to Khai for this comparison of the R1 and R4 DVDs. This was originally posted at the now unavailable ANIMEMQ site.

 

The cuts were as follows.

In Chapter four entitled 'Tessai Attacks' at 07:48 on the R4 disc, 8s of footage had been removed.

According to Khai:

"During this chapter at 07:48 on the R4 version, and 7:58 on the R1, this is where we miss out on 9 seconds of footage in our release. So on the R4 we're cut off (well the change occurs between the two - so it continues to another scene early) at 7:48, with light reflecting off ninja stars (though you mightn't have noticed they were in fact ninja stars) being the last thing viewed. Then it skips to the top of the tree falling and revealing Tessai (not the webmaster of this site, the rock dude ;>).

What you missed in between there were visible ninja starts being thrown into the tree and left plastered into them quite clearly, and also a few branches being hacked and cut off by the ninja stars. If you look out for it, the edit is quite clear on the R4, otherwise you wouldn't have noticed. On the R1 the scene begins at 7:58 and ends at 8:06 rather than remaining at 7:58 (as it is uncut)."

 

The other cut were to the scene where Tessai molests Kagero, mentioned in the above Review Board report at 5.2.

Khai describes the cut as:

"The second cut scene is in fact the last cut scene, they must have given up on this violent baby ;) So chapter 5 begins at 09:28 on the R1, and 09:10 on the R4. On the R4 09:20 (09:38 on R1) you'll see a shot where Kagero's clothes are being slightly opened by Tessai as he is about to do something, here we have a whole 43 seconds missing in addition! I think you guys knows what is missing, but basically it's Tessai having a bit of a *cough*lick*cough* of the legs and *ahem*sucking*ahem* her.. yeah ;)

It then continues so it looks like Tessai didn't do all that and we see Tessai sucking her lips with Jubei in the corner, the editing is definitely clear here. So the scene that was cut out on the R4, began at 09:38 on the R1 and ended at 10:22, on the R4 it would have been 18 seconds earlier."

 

So Khai calculates the cuts to be 51s, all removed by the BBFC. The cuts to the Ninja stars were a particularly problem for the British Censor during the time of James Ferman. Although this has now been relaxed, the policy at the time was to remove these types of martial arts weapons.

 

 

Madman and the censored NINJA SCROLL

Madman must have received a number of complaints about this unnecessary censorship, as they felt compelled to add the following statement to the FAQ on their website.

Why does your Ninja Scroll DVD have missing footage?

Our Ninja Scroll DVD release was actually authored by Manga in the UK and not by Madman Interactive. Unbeknownst to us, they needed to edit out a few seconds of footage involving throwing stars, nunchaku and some sexual violence. Unfortunately we were not informed of this and the title was released with these small cuts. Anyone who is holding off on buying this otherwise excellent DVD can rest assured that if we do eventually release a fully uncut edition, they will be able to “trade up” at a low cost.

 

 

Uncut 10th Anniversary Edition DVD and Blu-ray

In 2003, Madman Entertainment corrected their mistake and re-released NINJA SCROLL in a fully uncut 10th Anniversary Edition.

This was followed in November 2014 by an uncut Blu-ray. 

 

Ninja Scroll (1993) - Madman Entertainment [au] DVD 1Ninja Scroll (1993) - Madman Entertainment [au] DVD 2Ninja Scroll (1993) - Madman Entertainment [au] DVD 3Ninja Scroll (1993) - Madman Entertainment [au] Blu-ray


 

 

 

 

No Body is Perfect

Directed by Raphaël Sibilla / 2006 / France / IMDb

In November 2007, an 80m DVD of NO BODY IS PERFECT was banned because it contained 'sexual activity accompanied by fetishes or practices which are offensive or abhorrent'. Accent Film Entertainment was the applicant.

Thanks to Accent for this copy of the Classification Board's report.

 

Australian Government
Classification Board

CLASSIFICATION CERTIFICATE FOR A FILM

REFUSED CLASSIFICATION

Classification

I refer to an application dated 5 October 2007 for the classification of the undermentioned film. I certify that the decision of the Classification Board for this film is detailed below:

Title: NO BODY IS PERFECT
Version: ORIGINAL
Format: DVD
Running time: 80 MINUTE(S)
Producer: EMANUEL PREVOST
Director: RAPHAEL SIBILLA
Production company: WILD BUNCH
Country of origin: FRANCE
Classification: RC

(a) You may appeal against this decision. If you require more information concerning the appeal process please contact the Secretary of the Classification Review Board on (02) 9289 7100.

Certified

Board Report T07/S203

 

SYNOPSIS:
The film depicts a range of strong sexual fetishes, including body modification, bondage, the use of candle wax, "golden showers", spanking and scarification. It also includes scenes of explicit and obscured sexual activity.

 

REASONS FOR THE DECISION:
When making decisions the Classification Board (the Board) follows the procedures set out in the Classification (Publications, Films and Computer Games) Act 1995, (the Act). The Board also applies the National Classification Code and the Classification Guidelines, while taking into account the matters set out in section II of the Act,

In the Board's majority view this film warrants an 'RC' classification in accordance with item 1(a) of the films table of the National Classification Code:

"1. Films that:
(a) depict, express or otherwise deal with matters of sex, drug misuse or addiction, crime, cruelty, violence or revolting or abhorrent phenomena in such a way that they offend against the standards of morality, decency and propriety generally accepted by reasonable adults to the extent that they should not be classified;" will be refused classification.

The Guidelines state that films containing "sexual activity accompanied by fetishes or practices which are offensive or abhorrent" will be refused classification

The Guidelines also state that at the X 18+ category "fetishes such as body piercing, application of substances such as candle wax, 'golden showers', bondage, spanking... are not permitted".

In the Board's majority view this film contains actual sexual activity at approximately 5 minutes, 17 minutes and 35 minutes.

It also contains a number of depictions of strong fetishes.
These include the following:

Bondage at approximately 20 minutes and 24 minutes;

Candle waxing at approximately 21 minutes;
Body "modification" in the form of scarring the body and bisection of a penis at approximately 42 minutes;

"Blooding" at approximately 47 minutes: a group of three women is shown on stage and covered in blood. One female kneels on the floor. A female stands above her and cuts her wrist with a knife and the blood flows into the face, mouth and onto the head of the female kneeling below.

Golden showers at approximately 55 minutes;

Body piercing - in the form of inserting hooks into the back and suspending the body in the air . at approximately 50 minutes, 53 minutes, 68 minutes and 73 minutes.

The fetish of "apotemnophilia" (sexual arousal from having a healthy body part amputated) is discussed at approximately 71 minutes. A male shows his toeless foot and fingerless hands and discusses how he "gets a tool and snip and his finger drops off". He states that he would be willing to have this filmed. .

And at approximately 73 minutes a young female and male stand apart back to back and have the hooks which are inserted into their backs chained together. They then have a tug of war and the flesh is stretched to the point of tearing and blood oozes out.

The Board notes that the above scenes are not necessarily inclusive of the content warranting an 'RC' decision. All depictions and references to violence, the after effects of violence or the threat of violence prevent the film from being accommodated within the X 18+ classification.

 

Minority view
In a minority view of the Board this film warrants an R 18+ classification with consumer advice for high-level sexual activity, high-level sexual themes, disturbing images.

This view holds that the film is a bona fide documentary that catalogues a range of unusual sexual practices and fetishes that while offensive are not offensive to the extent that they should be banned This view notes that "some material classified R 18+ may be offensive to sections of the adult community".

Also, the sexual activity in the film is sufficiently obscured, lacking in detail or brief such that the general rule at R18+ of "simulation, yes - the real thing, no" can be set aside.

 

DECISION
This film is Refused Classification.


 

 

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