Film Censorship: The Texas Chainsaw Massacre (1974) & (1986)


 

 

 

 

The Texas Chainsaw Massacre

Directed by Tobe Hooper / 1974 / USA / IMDb

THE TEXAS CHAINSAW MASSACRE was first banned in Australia in June 1975.

An appeal was made to the Films Review Board, but they too banned the 2286.00-meter (83:19) print in August 1975.

The distributor prepared a 2112.00-meter (76:59) reconstructed version, only to see it banned again in December 1975 for 'excessive violence'.

In April 1976, the distributor went back to the Film Review Board, only to see it banned again.

In 1976, even a censored version of THE TEXAS CHAINSAW MASSACRE, missing 06:20 of footage, could not even secure an Australian rating.

 

 

1981: Banned again

It would take five years before THE TEXAS CHAINSAW MASSACRE was again presented to the Australian censors. However, the result proved to be the same.

Greater Union Film Distributors had a 2283.4 meter (83:14) print Refused Registration in July 1981. The reason given for the ban was violence, which was described as:
Frequency: Frequent
Explicitness/Intensity: High
Purpose: Gratuitous

Greater Union took the film to the Film Review Board, but in July 1981, they again refused to give it a rating.

Seven years after it was made, and THE TEXAS CHAINSAW MASSACRE still could not be released in Australia.

 

 

THE TEXAS CHAINSAW MASSACRE: R-rated at last

It was to be the advent of video that finally saw THE TEXAS CHAINSAW MASSACRE gain an Australian release.

In the early 80s, there was no law that compelled distributors to have videotapes 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 June 1983, Howard Smith Industries had an 80m tape passed in such a way. It was passed again in December 1983, this time the applicant was Mr and Mrs Caggiano.

 

January 1984 was the month that THE TEXAS CHAINSAW MASSACRE finally received its long over-due Australian rating.

The 2276.69 (82:59) print that Filmways Australia submitted was awarded an R-rating for:

Violence
Frequency: Frequent
Explicitness/Intensity: Medium
Purpose: Gratuitous

Other: Horror

Daybill image courtesy of moviemem.com

 

The Texas Chainsaw Massacre (1974) - Filmways [au] Daybill 

 

 

THE TEXAS CHAINSAW MASSACRE: Filmways / VTC / K-Tel Video

This 83m print was confirmed as R-rated for video in May 1984. Filmways were again the applicant, and the rating was awarded for the same reasons as listed above.

THE TEXAS CHAINSAW MASSACRE was released on tape by Filmways / VTC / K-Tel Video in September 1984.

 

The Texas Chainsaw Massacre (1974) - Filmways-Ktel-VTC [au] Video Business August 1984 AdThe Texas Chainsaw Massacre (1974) - Filmways-Ktel-VTC [au] Video Age Vol 3 No.9 September 1984 Ad

The Texas Chainsaw Massacre (1974) - Filmways-Ktel-VTC [au] VHS 1The Texas Chainsaw Massacre (1974) - Filmways-Ktel-VTC [au] VHS 2

 

On his YouTube channel, AussieRoadshow has a rare Australian trailer that appeared on K-Tel Video's release of TORNADO PATROL (1983). It describes it as:

Absolutely brutal beyond description.
Grisly beyond comprehension.
Banned for over seven years.

The Texas Chainsaw Massacre (1974) - Filmways-Ktel-VTC [au] Australian trailer 

 

 

THE TEXAS CHAINSAW MASSACRE: Force Video

In January 1991, an 84m videotape was awarded an R18+ (Frequent graphic violence) rating. It does not appear that Hoyts Distribution released the tape.

In the late 90s, Force Video issued THE TEXAS CHAINSAW MASSACRE several times on video. One release (not pictured) was a two tape release called TEXAS CHAINSAW MASSACRE BOX SET. It double-billed the film with the documentary, TEXAS CHAINSAW MASSACRE: A FAMILY PORTRAIT (1988) that Force had previously released as a stand-alone tape.

 

 

The Texas Chainsaw Massacre (1974) - Force Video [au] VHS 1The Texas Chainsaw Massacre (1974) - Force Video [au] VHS 3The Texas Chainsaw Massacre (1974) - Force Video [au] VHS 2

 

 

THE TEXAS CHAINSAW MASSACRE on DVD and Blu-ray

In 2000, Force Video released a 25th Anniversary Edition on DVD.

 

The Texas Chainsaw Massacre (1974) - Force Video [au] DVD 1

 

Force followed this with a Special Edition in 2001.

 

The Texas Chainsaw Massacre (1974) - Force Video [au] DVD 2

 

In July 2007, Umbrella Entertainment submitted a DVD for classification and was unbelievably awarded an R18+ (High level horror violence) rating.

Consider that the 2003 remake was passed with an MA15+ (High Level Violence) rating, and in 2005 the ultra violent and sadistic uncut version of THE DEVIL'S REJECTS (2005) escaped with an MA15+ (Strong violence, Strong coarse language, Sex scene) rating.

The DVD was released in October 2007. It also came in a limited edition steelbook slipcase.

 

The Texas Chainsaw Massacre (1974) - Umbrella Entertainment [au] DVDThe Texas Chainsaw Massacre (1974) - Umbrella Entertainment [au] DVD 2

 

In October 2010, Umbrella Entertainment released THE TEXAS CHAINSAW MASSACRE on Blu-ray.

 

The Texas Chainsaw Massacre (1974) - Umbrella Entertainment [au] Blu-ray #1

 

Umbrella followed this in September 2014 with a 40th anniversary special version.

 

The Texas Chainsaw Massacre (1974) - Umbrella Entertainment [au] Blu-ray #2

 

 

Uncut on SBS 2

On October 15, 2014, THE TEXAS CHAINSAW MASSACRE was shown for the first time terrestrial TV in Australia.

SBS 2 screened an uncut, and gave it their own MA15+ (Strong horror and violence) rating. The print was sourced from Umbrella Entertainment


 

 

 

 

The Texas Chainsaw Massacre 2

Directed by Tobe Hooper / 1986 / USA / IMDb

Hoyts Distributors had a 2750 meter (100:31) print of THE TEXAS CHAINSAW MASSACRE 2 banned in September 1986.

It was refused due to violence, which was described as:
Frequency: Infrequent
Explicitness/Intensity: High
Purpose: Gratuitous

 

 

1992: Australian customs confiscation

In 1992, the Australian Customs Service forwarded an uncut videotape to the OFLC who later released it to the owner. It was not awarded a rating, so at the time it was unclear what this meant for its banned status.

 

 

Pay TV screening

THE TEXAS CHAINSAW MASSACRE 2 remained unseen in Australia until February 2000, when the Arena Channel on the Foxtel Network premiered it as part of their Graveyard Shift show.

The print ran 95:36, compared to 96:09 for the uncut New Zealand tape.

The only footage missing was the scene in the radio station where Choptop attacks LG with a hammer, one hit was shown; and then it cut to his legs shaking. Ironically, the reason that the film was originally banned was due to scenes of sexual violence, such as Leatherface rubbing his chainsaw against Stretch's body, and not the censored hammer beating.

 

In November 2004, it premiered on Foxtel's Showtime Greats Channel. Once again, the murder of LG had been toned down, though in a slightly different way. This screening had Paramount opening and closing distributor cards, as opposed to Viacomm when it was shown in 2000. The running time, including the distributor cards, was 95:27.

 

 

Unofficial VHS

In 2000, there was an unofficial video release on a cheap no-name label. At the time the Classification Board did not view the film, so the R18+ (High Level Violence, Adult Themes, Frequent Coarse Language) rating should be considered a fake.

The print was letterboxed and fully uncut at 98:15. This indicates that the tape had been dubbed from an NTSC source, as the runtime was longer than the New Zealand PAL tape.

 

The Texas Chainsaw Massacre 2 (1986) - No Name Label [au] VHS

 

 

2006: R-rated at last

THE TEXAS CHAINSAW MASSACRE 2 was finally passed by the censors (after twenty years) in November 2006.

The DVD Special Edition submitted by Twentieth Century Fox Home Entertainment was passed with an R18+ (High Level Horror Violence) rating.

It was released on DVD by MGM/20th Century Fox in January 2007, and was the full version which ran (minus the MGM intro) 96:10.

 

The Texas Chainsaw Massacre 2 (1986) - MGM-20th Century Fox [au] DVD


 

 

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