In September 2009, RAMPAGE was passed with an MA15+ (Strong violence) rating. The DVD was released by 20th Century Fox Home Entertainment.
Four years after being classified, John Rau, the South Australian Attorney-General requested that the DVDs rating be examined by the Classification Review Board. It is unclear who made the initial complaint.
Classification review announced for the film Rampage
Classification Review Board
11 December 2013
At the request of the South Australian Attorney-General, the Classification Review Board (the Review Board) has received an application to review the classification of the film Rampage.
Rampage was classified MA 15+ with the consumer advice ‘Strong violence’ by the Classification Board on 8 September 2009.
The Review Board will meet on 13 December 2013 to consider the application. The decision and reasons will later be published on www.classification.gov.au.
If an individual or organisation wishes to apply for standing as an interested party to this review, please write to the Convenor of the Review Board.
The closing date to lodge your application for standing as an interested party and any submissions is COB on Thursday 12 December 2013. Please note that the Review Board can only consider submissions about the (Rampage) itself and not any other matters relating to film classification policy or issues generally.
Submissions should be emailed to firstname.lastname@example.org or sent
Classification Review Board
Locked Bag 3 HAYMARKET NSW 1240
The Review Board is an independent merits review body. It makes a fresh classification decision upon receipt of an application for review. The Review Board decision takes the place of the original decision made by the Classification Board.
Rampage classified MA 15+
Classification Review Board
13 December 2013
A three-member panel of the Classification Review Board has unanimously determined that the film Rampage is classified MA 15+ (Mature Accompanied) with the consumer advice ‘Strong violence’.
The National Classification Code and Classification Guidelines allows for strong violence. In the Classification Review Board’s opinion Rampage warrants an MA 15+ classification because the film contains strong violence.
The overall impact of the classifiable elements in the film was no higher than strong.
Films classified MA 15+ are considered unsuitable for persons under 15 years of age. It is a legally restricted category. Consumer advice is additional information about the main content of a film which is intended to help consumers decide if they want to view this type of material.
The Classification Review Board convened today in response to an application from the Minister, as requested by the South Australian Attorney-General, to review the decision made by the Classification Board on 8 September 2009 to classify Rampage MA 15+ with the consumer advice ‘Strong violence’.
In reviewing the classification, the Classification Review Board worked within the framework of the National Classification Scheme, applying the provisions of the Classification (Publications, Films and Computer Games) Act 1995, the National Classification Code and the Guidelines for the Classification of Films. This is the same framework used by the Classification Board.
The Classification Review Board is an independent merits review body. It makes a fresh classification decision upon receipt of an application for review. This Classification Review Board decision takes the place of the original decision made by the Classification Board.
The Classification Review Board’s reasons for this decision will appear on the Classification website when finalised.
Statement authorised by Victoria Rubensohn AM, Convenor, Classification Review Board
Classification Review Board
13 December 2013
23-33 MARY STREET
SURRY HILLS, NSW
Victoria Rubensohn (Convenor)
Melissa de Zwart APPLICANT
Minister for Justice (the Minister) as requested by the South Australian Attorney-General
To review the Classification Board’s (the Board) decision to classify the film Rampage MA 15+ (Mature Accompanied) with the consumer advice ‘Strong violence’.
DECISION AND REASONS FOR DECISION
The Classification Review Board (the Review Board) unanimously classified the film MA 15+, with the consumer advice ‘Strong violence’.
2. Legislative provisions
The Classification (Publications, Films and Computer Games) Act 1995 (Cth) (the Classification Act) governs the classification of films and the review of classification decisions.
The Review Board
Part 5 of the Classification Act outlines the provisions relevant to the Review Board and its procedures.
Section 42 of the Classification Act sets out the persons who may apply for review of a decision:
(a) the Minister
(b) the applicant for classification of the film, or the likely classification of the film under section 33
(c) the publisher of the film, or
(d) a person aggrieved by the decision.
Section 42(2) provides that if a participating Minister asks the Minister, in writing, to apply for a review of a decision, the Minister must do so.
Section 43 sets out the conditions regarding the manner and form of applications for review, including time limits. Under section 44, the Review Board must deal with an application for review in the same way that the Board deals with an application for classification of a film.
Classification of Films under the Classification Act
Section 9, subject to section 9A, provides that films are to be classified in accordance with the National Classification Code (the Code) and the classification guidelines. Section 9A states that a film that advocates the doing of a terrorist act must be classified RC.
Section 11 of the Classification Act requires that the matters to be taken into account in making a decision on the classification of a film include:
(a) the standards of morality, decency and propriety generally accepted by reasonable adults; and
(b) the literary, artistic or educational merit (if any) of the film; and
(c) the general character of the film, including whether it is of a medical, legal or scientific character; and
(d) the persons or class of persons to or amongst whom it is published or is intended or likely to be published.
The National Classification Code
Relevantly, the Films Table of the Code in paragraph 4 provides that:
Films (except RC films, X 18+ films and R 18+ films) that depict, express or otherwise deal with sex, violence or coarse language in such a manner as to be unsuitable for viewing by persons under 15 are to be classified MA 15+.
The Code also sets out various principles to which classification decisions should give effect, as far as possible:
(a) adults should be able to read, hear, see and play what they want;
(b) minors should be protected from material likely to harm or disturb them;
(c) everyone should be protected from exposure to unsolicited material that they find offensive;
(d) the need to take account of community concerns about:
(i) depictions that condone or incite violence, particularly sexual violence; and
(ii) the portrayal of persons in a demeaning manner.
Three essential principles underlie the use of the Guidelines for the Classification of Films 2012 (the Guidelines), determined under section 12 of the Classification Act:
• the importance of context
• the assessment of impact, and
• the six classifiable elements – themes, violence, sex, language, drug use and nudity.
Three members of the Review Board met on 13 December 2013 in response to the receipt of an application from the Minister for Justice on 10 December 2013 to conduct the review of the film Rampage, which had previously been classified MA 15+ by the Classification Board. The Review Board determined that the application was a valid application.
The Review Board viewed the film.
The Review Board then considered the matter.
4. Evidence and other material taken into account
In reaching its decision, the Review Board had regard to the following:
(i) the Minister’s application for review
(ii) the film, Rampage
(iii) the relevant provisions in the Classification Act, the Code and the guidelines, and
(iv) the Classification Board’s report.
Bill Williamson, who lives with his parents, plans and executes a killing spree in his home town. The film documents his preparation of a Kevlar suit and ammunition and uses brief flash forwards to depict his growing frustration and rage. He goes on a killing spree, shooting people in the streets and in shops, as well as exploding a car bomb inside the local police station. Bill kills the local sheriff and his friend Evan, setting him up for Bill’s crimes.
6. Findings on material questions of fact
The Review Board found that the film contains aspects or scenes of importance under various classifiable elements:
(a) Themes – The film deals with the frustration, disillusionment and alienation of a young man, with the pressures of modern society. The impact of these themes is strong and can be accommodated at the MA15+ level.
(b) Violence – The main classifiable element of the film is violence. The film contains violence that is strong in impact and justified by context. The film contains numerous violent scenes including:
A remote controlled van is driven by Bill into the police station full of explosives, which is then detonated, causing a massive shock wave. Bodies are thrown into the air and several police officers are impliedly killed.
Bill, dressed in his homemade Kevlar suit, walks along the main street and shoots random pedestrians and people in cars with two automatic weapons.
Bill enters a hairdressing salon and rounds up the women, instructing them to line up against the wall. He talks to them and then leaves and the women believe they have survived. Bill then returns, lines them up against the wall and shoots them with his automatic weapons. The women are shown cowering amidst a spray of bullets, extensive blood spray and impact wounds are shown. A post action visual reveals a pile of bodies covered in a large amount of blood.
Bill executes a number of individuals: one woman in the street is shot up against the wall, generating blood spray; a man is shot up against the window, splattering blood against the window; a waitress is shot through the chest and again blood spray is shown in long shot and the café worker is shot from a distance in the back, producing blood spray. Bill also shoots a number of people in the bank and slashes the throat of a bank employee who attempts to restrain him. Blood seeps down the employee’s neck and he is heard gurgling as he dies.
A number of sheriff deputies are impliedly killed by a car explosion triggered by Bill remotely. One officer is shown with serious burns to the head.
Bill executes the sheriff with a blade, generating copious blood flow and the Sheriff is shown bleeding out.
Bill kills Evan with a head shot, but little detail is visible.
There is no sexual violence in the film.
(c) Sex – There is no sex in the film.
(d) Language –There is repeated use of coarse language in the film that can be accommodated within the MA15+ level.
(e) Drug Use – There is no drug use in the film
(f) Nudity – There is no nudity in the film.
7. Reasons for the decision
The Review Board unanimously decided that the film should be classified MA15+. The main classifiable element is violence. The film deals with a disturbed young man on a deliberate and calculated rampage of killing. The film contains frequent scenes of strong violence which are justified by context.
The Review Board classified the film MA15+ with the consumer advice ‘strong violence’.
In July 1993, Yu Enterprises had a 94m (35mm) print of RAPED BY AN ANGEL banned by the Classification Board.
It was censored down to 91m (35mm) and on July 29 1993, was passed with an R18+ (High level violence, Sex scenes) rating.
In their Annual Report, the OFLC list that the cuts were for:
"some lengthy sequences of sexual violence".
This censored version of RAPED BY AN ANGEL went on to play in Raymond Yu's Australia Cinema in Sydney, followed by Chinese cinemas around the country.
In Hong Kong, the censors demanded cuts before awarding RAPED BY AN ANGEL a Category 3 rating. It is probably fair to speculate that the 94m print originally submitted to the OFLC was the censored Hong Kong version.
In 1993, Star Entertainment released the film in Hong Kong on VHS and laser disc. The VHS runs 95:03, which seems to indicate that it was NTSC.
Here is a rundown of what scenes in RAPED BY AN ANGEL may have caused problems with the OFLC. We have also included details of Hong Kong censorship.
The running time relates to the Hong Kong Star Entertainment VHS.
Chuck Chi-Sing Rapes May Wong
At approximately 01:00 - The film opens with Chuck Chi-Sing raping a woman, who we later learn is his girlfriend, May Wong. Although we eventually find out that the two are just role-playing, the actual rape is quite strong, and may have caused problems for our censors.
Chuck Chi-Sing's girlfriend
At approximately 18:00 - Chuck Chi-Sing allows his friend to have sex with his girlfriend against her will. Again, this may have caused problems with the OFLC.
Tat's mother verbally abuses Pauline
At approximately 32:00 - In the Hong Kong version there are two beeps to remove Cantonese audio of Tat's mother verbally abusing her son's ex-girlfriend.
Brother Tat shouts on boat
At approximately 39:00 - Brother Tat is on a boat with Yau Yuk-Nam. He begins to shout out. There are several bleeps to remove Cantonese bad language.
At approximately 41:00 - This scene has several obvious jumps indicating that the Hong Kong censors removed footage. The OFLC may have also demanded cuts.
Death of Chu Kit-Man
At approximately 70:00 - Chu Kit-Man is killed and her body is cut up with a chainsaw. Again, there are obvious jumps indicating that the Hong Kong censors had been busy.
The film concludes with scenes of Chuck Chi-Sing masturbating, having sex with Pauline, and raping Cindy. They do not look cut by the Hong Kong censors, and it is doubtful that the OFLC would have had problems with them.
In October 1975, a 2469.00-meter (90:00) print of was passed with an R-rating under the title ACT OF VENGEANCE.
The 'Film Censorship Bulletin' noted the following month that:
Title of film notified as ACT OF VENGEANCE in Film Censorship Bulletin No. 10/75 has been altered to RAPE SQUAD.
It was under this title that Roadshow Film Distributors released it theatrically.
Daybill and pressbook image courtesy of moviemem.com
In 1984, Palace Explosive Video released the film on tape as RAPE SQUAD.
In October of the same year, the Censorship Board banned the 86:25 (PAL) tape because of 'explicit and gratuitous depictions of sexual violence'.
The following month, Palace Home Video made an unsuccessful appeal to the Films Board of Review.
Review of decision of the Film Censorship Board pursuant to the
Australian Capital Territory Classification of Publications Ordinance 1983
Decision reviewed: Refuse classification by Film Censorship Board
Decision of the Board: Confirm decision of the Film Censorship Board
In many cases, the banned tape remained on video store shelves. However, the Palace Explosive tape is now one of the rarest of their 39 releases, and commands a high price amongst collectors of Australian videotapes.
The'explicit and gratuitous depictions of sexual violence' would have referred to the attacks/rape of Linda (03:30 to 09:30), Karen (20:30 to 26:00), and the murder of Diane (50:00 to 52:00). In addition, at the climax of the film, Linda is shown naked and chained in a cage. Times refer to the approximate points in the 90:10 (NTSC) Ex Film DVD.
In July 2016, Ex Film released an Australian DVD of RAPE SQUAD under the ACT OF VENGEANCE title. The uncut film ran 90:10 (NTSC), and carried the original R18+ rating from the Censorship Board.
An audio commentary with Australian film critics Alexandra Heller-Nichols and Zak Hepburn, and a 30-minute interview with actress Jennifer Lee-Pryor (who plays Nancy) were extras. Also included was a 48 page booklet packed with Australian and overseas ad mats, posters, and video art. An essay by Leon O'Regan is essential reading for anyone interested in the confusing release and censorship history of the rare Palace Explosive tape.
At the same time, Ex Film released two special VHS editions under the RAPE SQUAD title, with cover art is taken from the Palace Explosive tape. They contained:
…the original pan-and-scan version of Rape Squad taken from an original Palace Explosive release plus a trailer reel of Palace Explosive titles after the main feature, housed in an original 80's dead-stock clamshell case. Also included is a stickered 'Sample' promo sleeve!
The first tape was limited to 100 copies, had a black tape shell, and was available as part of a DVD and VHS bundle from Ex Film.
The second tape was limited to 15 numbered copies, had a white tape shell, and was available exclusively to pre-cert.co.uk forum members.
In February 1995, a 90m 35mm print of THE RAPIST was banned because of 'gratuitous sexual violence'.
In March 1995, Chinatown Cinema cut it down first to 88m, and then to 87m, but both were Refused Registration by the OFLC.
A fourth heavily censored submission was eventually passed with an R18+ rating. This went on to play Chinese language cinemas.
In their 1994 to 1995 Year in Review, the OFLC provided the following reasons for the RC-rating
The Rapist, a Cantonese language, Hong Kong produced feature about a police team's search for a serial rapist was Refused Registration for gratuitous scenes of sexual violence against women. Mindful of community concerns about sexual violence the board refused registration of this film on three occasions until a fourth edited version was deemed suitable for Restricted exhibition
Review by Simon
Ocean Shores DVD (Hong Kong) – 89:15
I remember seeing posters for THE RAPIST in 1995 at Sydney’s Chinatown Cinema where the OFLC cut R18+ version eventually played. A short time later, I rented the uncut Ocean Shores laser disc from a store only a couple of minutes away from that very cinema.
THE RAPIST is supposedly based on the true story of Lam Kwok-wai, known as the Tuen Mun Rapist, who attacked and murdered women between 1992 and 1993. I have no idea how close it is to the truth, but the character must have been popular as the same year his story appeared in PORTRAIT OF A SERIAL RAPIST (1994). He also showed up in Wong Jing’s not so serious RAPED BY AN ANGEL 4: THE RAPIST’S UNION (1999).
It looks like the R18+ version was cut by least three minutes, so I suspect, the following scenes would have lost footage.
VICTIM # 1
05:00 to 07:30 – The Rapist attacks a girl in a lift. She fights back, so he strangles her until she is unconsciousness. At 05:45 he drags her body to a stairwell where he touches her bare breasts and between her legs. At 06:45 he begins to assault her as she regains consciousness.
FLASHBACK TO VICTIM #1
12:30 to 13:00 – Several flashbacks to the first rape are inter-cut with the Inspector walking the crime scene.
20:00 to 21:20 – The Rapist hits the old women’s head against a wall until she is unconsciousness. At 20:20 she wakes up with a gag in her mouth, and being assaulted from behind.
FLASHBACK TO VICTIM #2
23:35 to 23:40 – A brief flashback to the attack on the old woman is shown as the police investigate the crime scene.
FLASHBACKS TO PREVIOUS VICTIMS
28:00 to 31:40 - Four brief clips are shown of the Rapist’s previous attacks. One of these is of Victim #2. The 'offending' footage would total no more than 00:40.
49:05 to 50:15 – A girl is stripped and attacked. Intercut with shots of the police running to her rescue.
VICTIM # 4
72:00 to 76:40 – The Rapist chases a screaming girl. At 74:00 he tears off her top, and kisses her. She fights back when he attempts to remove her underwear, but he eventually prevails.
80:40 to 80:50 – Victim # 4 is again shown being raped.
In August 1979, a 1608.70-meter (58:38) print of RAQUEL'S MOTEL was banned because of 'indecency'. A 1416.96-meter (51:39) 'reconstructed version' was passed with an R-rating in October 1979.
In both cases, 14th Mandolin was the applicant. It was released on their King of Video label.
In March 1974, a 2485.00-meter (90:35) print of THE RATS was censored by 7.92-meters (00:17) for an R-rating. The cuts were made to remove 'indecency'.
Joe Sui International Film Co was the applicant.
In June 1982, Impact Films had a 2163.90-meter (79:05) print of THE RAVAGER Refused Registration. The reason given was 'sexual violence'.
A censored version running 1920.10-meters (70:11) was eventually passed with an R-rating in April 1983. Again, the reason for the decision was 'sexual violence'. Presumably, this heavily cut version (missing 9m) was given a theatrical release, as no videotape was ever issued.
Charles Nizet's SLAVES OF LOVE (1969) was also banned and censored in Australia.
Review by Matt G.
I wonder what THE RAVAGER was doing getting a theatrical Australian release in 1983! Overall it's quite a sleazy little film, and it is not hard to understand why the censors banned it.
The opening scene (supposedly) set in Vietnam where two men rape, beat, and blow-up a girl with dynamite is supposed to act as the trigger for the killer when he returns to the USA. What follows are various scenes of rape and murder as the killer attempts to recreate the scene he witnessed in Vietnam.
The version that I viewed was the old Something Weird VHS which runs 73:29. It's a very old and jumpy print which according to your site compares with to 79:05 for the print originally submitted to the Australian Censorship Board. The only scene that did look a bit censored in the SW VHS was around the 17m mark where the couple are making love in the car. Again, this may not have been deliberate, and could have simply been down to print damage.
In December 1996, Yau's Entertainment was refused a rating for REBEKAH because of 'sexual violence'.
In February 1997, the 35mm print was censored down from 88 to 86m for an R18+ (High level sex scenes) rating. This went on to play in Chinese language cinemas
Review by Matt G.
The fact that REBEKAH was banned demonstrates how pathetic the OFLC had become in 1996. After all this was the year they also banned Jim Jarmusch's DEAD MAN for sexual violence.
This is a typical Hong Kong Category 3 comedy with lots of full frontal nudity. It remains a comedy just about all the way through (complete with stupid music) and does not suddenly go off into nasty territory as some Cat 3 films tend to do.
I am quite sure that the scene that the censors would have objected to involves Brother Meng and two of his gang picking up a very drunk mainland Chinese girl. At around the 48m point they take it in turns having sex with her. All the time she is saying in Mandarin "I have VD". When they have all finished the Cantonese speaking Brother Meng thinks she is saying that he was the best at sex. The sex ends at around the 50min point which adds up just about right to the cuts in the R-rated version. This (and the DEAD MAN case) illustrates that at the time the OFLC were strict on just about any rape scenes. This scene in REBEKAH contains no violence, and is played as comedy to demonstrate how stupid Brother Meng and his gang are.
There is a second scene at 68m where Han B grabs a traffic warden into his van who he thinks is a hooker. He says "I must punish you". The traffic warden radios for help saying "I'm being raped by Han B". The scene lasts a minute and is played for laughs. I doubt this would have been a problem.
Thought you may like to know that there is a scene that runs from 25 to 28m where Rebecca is acting in an UNTOLD STORY rip-off which the subtitles refer to as either LUST BUN or HORNY BUN. Cammy Choi shows she can suffer for her art as in one scene a mixture of fake blood mixed with real worms is poured over her to make her look like a rotting corpse.
The Hong Kong VCD from Universe Laser and Video Co runs 88:08 and would seem to be the uncut version.
In March 1983, Feature Video Distributors had a 100m videotape of RED LIGHT IN THE WHITE HOUSE passed by the censors.
In 1986, Apple Den had the same 100m print Refused Classification because of 'gratuitous sexual violence'.
The tape was released in Australia by VideoTech, and actually ran 89:20. This was a direct dub of the old UK Video Unlimited pre-cert. Nothing would appear to be censored, and scene(s) that the Australian censors referred to as 'gratuitous sexual violence' would have been:
At approximately 15m, Su Shan is raped in the boxing ring. This would definitely have been main scene that caused problems.
At approximately 82m, the President slapping Su Shan, before having sex with her. This may have caused a problem.