THE CHOPPING LIST
banned & censored movies in australia
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what the hell is this?

To mark the 10th anniversary of my 1992 Australian Customs prosecution for importing banned horror films, I decided to compile a list of titles submitted for classification in Australia that have been censored in some way. Modifications may have been done here or overseas. TV variations and porn titles are excluded. This page is not meant to be an exhaustive repository, but rather a work in progress containing summary information that may prompt further investigation. Please forward this page to anyone you know. Knowledge is power.


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definition of censored

Put simply, a work of art or media product has been censored if a compromise was made to suit a classification system or governing body. If one frame of a movie, one word in a book, or one part of an image has been edited out, tampered with, toned down, or otherwise changed in a way that the creator did not originally intend on, then censorship has occurred even if the modification was performed or supervised by the artist. Self censorship and other special cases, for example the release of a planned extended version of a film that receives a stronger rating, are not deemed to be censorship. Because questions about such cases tend to crop up, an Exceptions page tries to cover any such borderline titles. The entites that most often trigger censorship in the West are: the Ausrtralian Office of Film and Literature Classification (OFLC), the Motion Picture Association of America (MPAA), and the British Board of Film Censors (BBFC).


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sources

This information has been gathered from various online and offline resources, primarily RC's excellent Refused Classification site, which predates mine and also covers local porn movie censorship; valuable notes from M. C. Thomason; the Internet Movie Database (IMDB); Michael DVD; Melon Farmers; The ATTIC, and Cutlass Video (defunct). Some entries are quoted verbatim from these and other sources. DVD Compare was also valuable for checking international DVD releases. Refer to the Australian Office of Film and Literature Classification (OFLC) database for local ratings info, although it is far from complete. Another excellent website is Movie Censorship, which has screen shots of alternative footage. Special thanks to M. C. Thomason, Michael D., Heath G., Craig, Lee N., and the ATTIC gang for help and contributions. Very special thanks also to RC for providing invaluable help and sharing vital information. Note that many titles listed are also on Refused Classification, even though links are not provided. Additions, corrections or criticisms are welcomed.


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porn and computer games

Because I can hardly keep up with normal movie censorship updates, visit Refused Classification to find details about bans and cuts to pornographic titles in Australia. This website also covers local computer game censorship news. Basically, it's an essential resource that demands your regular attention. Computer games and X-rated films regularly get censored and banned Down Under, a fact that the mainstream media rarely covers. To stay fully informed, visit Refused Classification regularly. At the OFLC, hardcore porn is judged by a separate set of rules that aim to keep all X-rated content in the 'non-violent erotica' zone. Restrictions are now much tighter than they used to be before conservative independent candidate Senator Harradine fought for concessions during one recent election.


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run times

PAL video (25 frames per second) is 4% faster than NTSC video (23.976 fps) and projected film (24 fps). Keep these differences in mind when noting any quoted run times. Remember that NTSC runs a fraction longer than film. To do a conversion either way, I simply convert the entire run time to a frame count at one frame rate, then switch to the other frame rate. Paradiso Design contains a handy calculator with detailed explanations. My run times encompass the first second in a title to the last, given adequate visual or audio cues. OFLC run times are rounded up to the nearest minute. The BBFC quotes minutes and seconds for film and PAL video, making its website a valuable reference tool. High definition discs (HD DVD and Blu-ray) are usually encoded at 24 frames per second in 1080p format, which means one full progressive frame is stored per film frame. Early HD players output this signal at 60Hz, or 30 full frames, with some of the original 24 frames repeated, as with NTSC. This means that HD discs taken from progressive sources (a film print or 24p digital camera) run at the same speed as projected film, which is 24 frames per second. HD has the ability to decode 1080p 24Hz to 50Hz (same as PAL) but none of the early HD players can do this yet. In the future, it's expected that most players will output 1080p at 24Hz (or 48Hz, 72Hz), thus matching projected film without 3:2 pull-down artefacts.


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conventions

[speculation] - The information is second-hand, cannot be confirmed, is yet to be confirmed, or the source cannot be nailed down. This includes rumours and suspicions that a movie is cut based on first-hand viewing conclusions. [assumption] - Given the circumstances and a normal course of events, the information would be true. [confirm] - The assumption will be verified at some stage in the future. All dates are in the standard Australian format DD/MM/YYYY. Running times are in MM:SS format, and qualified with the media (PAL, NTSC, film, 24p for HD).


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disclaimers

(1) This website contains plot spoilers and potentially offensive descriptions of movie scenes. There are no images. (2) This is neither a sales catalogue nor a personal inventory. If you are the police or some kind of federal agent, stop wasting my considerable taxes and go chase real criminals. (3) Many details need to be confirmed first-hand, so mistakes are bound to exist. Before using this information, do your best to verify it yourself. None of the contributors take responsibility for its misuse.


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Maintained by Rod Williams

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updated 5/2/2010

Modified Hard Boiled to mention the UK DVD.

previous updates

Added The Getaway (1994).

Modified Jason Goes to Hell to mention the cut Australian DVD.

Modified Death Warmed Up to mention the uncut New Zealand DVD.

Modified Naked Vengeance to list details of cuts (thanks Goblin).

Added Tropic Thunder.

Added Max Payne.

Added Hitman.

previous alerts

Lord of War should be the US unrated version on local DVD.

The Toxic Avenger II seems to be the uncut version on local DVD, according to the reviewer for Michael's DVD Info Page. I asked him to check that the wheelchair disembowelment was expicit. Yes was the answer.

Reader Gary G. reports that the director's cut of Troy contains "more gore with the same rating". I will be grabbing this release. I also had the pleasure of watching The Burning uncut on DVD the other night. Spider-man II is uncut on Blu-Ray disc. Both Australian versions on standard DVD are missing the headbutt removed for the fucken UK releases. It don't take a brain surgeon to guess that the HD disc transfer was sourced from the original uncensored US HD master.

The up-coming special edition of Mad Max II is rumoured to contain the original uncensored version, but perhaps for HD DVD and Blu Ray only. This longer version would be the R 18+ assembly that was supposedly trimmed down to get an Aussie M rating for its 1980s theatrical run. I'm not getting excited just yet, since viewing an uncut print of this film has been on par with seeing complete versions of The Devils, The Wicker Man, and Blade Runner. Fingers crossed.

I've read that 2007's The Hitcher remake is coming out in a longer unrated version on DVD. For fuck's sake, let's have an end to this deadshit problem before the next ice age, please.

Wolfgang Petersen's epic of ancient Greece Troy is being extended to include more sex and violence, removed due to the usual imposition of going to the theatrical market with a US R classification.

An episode of Inspector Rex on local DVD has been trimmed of sexual content as reported on YouTube.

As mentioned on its DVD cover, The Exorcism of Emily Rose has been released on DVD in its extended edition. I'm not sure yet if it contains censored material or just additional footage.

An extended version of American Pie: Band Camp is being released on DVD in the US.

It seems that Dan O'Bannon's comic zombie shocker Return of the Living Dead had more gore before it was cut to satisfy the US censors. A workprint bootleg containing the missing grue apparently exists.

Kite on Aussie DVD is definitely the cut version that is missing the hardcore sex scenes.

The Dukes of Hazzard, The Exorcism of Emily Rose, Dumb and Dumber, Derailed (in cinemas now) and Children of Dune have been released on DVD in the US in extended unrated versions. They all need checking against the Australian releases.

The Lords of Dogtown is apparently the extended version on local DVD.

Kung Fu Hustle is apparently the uncut version on local DVD.

The upcoming Naked Killer DVD rated R should be the uncut version released by Hong Kong Legends in the UK.

The following titles have been released in the US as longer, unrated versions: Ginger Snaps, Body Shots, Dukes of Hazzard (2005), Havoc (Nov 29), Unleashed aka Danny the Dog, XXX, Dark Water (originally PG-13 in the US), Paranoid, Beyond the Mat (tagged as a director's cut), Halfway House (also a so-called director's cut), Jaqueline Hyde, Dorm Daze, Blind Date (early 1990s film by Nico Mastorakis). Some of these movies have not been released in Australia yet. They all need to be compared to their local variants.

There is also an US unrated DVD of Basic Instinct II doing the rounds. Not sure if the Australian DVD will be the same version; more than likely.

Uwe Boll's BloodRayne looked to be the shorter theatrical version on Australian DVD, however the retail version is reportedly the uncut version. The longer by four minutes director's cut is now available on unrated US DVD. Since this is a Uwe Boll movie, the less footage there is, the better.

Cry Wolf is apparently uncut on local DVD with the another M 15+ classification.

Universal apparently released the censored version of American Pie in its Ultimate American Pie boxed set. Stiffler wouldn't be impressed.

According to MHVF, some nudity was apparently deleted from Logun's Run by MGM to get the MPAA to give the film a US PG rating. Only one screening of the uncut print was ever held.

casualty stats
banned
98
19%
cut for aust
146
26%
cut for US
156
30%
cut for UK
45
9%
cut for other
28
6%
undetermined
52
10%
totals
524
100%