Friends. Brothers. Interested parties. Due to your unquenchable thirst for that which governments have declared ‘forbidden’ and unfit for your visual consumption, we bring to you an article featuring TEN MORE movies banned, pulled and X-rated.
You won’t find many of these on Netflix, but maybe at a local DVD rental spot that specializes in the more obscure. You could always pay an arm and a leg – that which is forbidden comes at a price – and get your movies through Amazon. Regardless, if you see a description that tickles that part of you that you don’t let anyone else see, we wish you luck in tracking it down.
Some will shock and disturb even the most seasoned horror fans. Others will have you laughing hysterically. There’s something here for everyone!
Stay Away From the Kids, Man
As censorship boards go, the Swedes have the most permissive one. But even they had issues with Thriller: A Cruel Picture (1973). Banned in its uncut form, the producers were forced to edit the 107-minute film down to 104, then 86 and finally 82-minutes before it could be released in Sweden and other countries (including the United States). The film depicts a girl forced into heroine addiction and then prostitution, before executing her revenge on her torturers. Child nudity and child drug use are just some of the more disturbing elements of a film where actual cadavers were used as dead bodies.
Before the Berlin wall fell, Polish filmmaker, Andrzej Zulawski made most of his horror movies in exile. His most controversial was a German-French production entitled Possession (1981). An otherwise unremarkable film about the conjuring of a supernatural monster, it was instantly controversial for its unflinching depiction of domestic violence within a crumbling marriage. A heavily edited version saw a limited release in the United States, but the film was banned completely in the United Kingdom.
Antichrist (2009) depicts a husband and wife who retreat to a remote cabin in the woods to cope with the grief wrought by the loss of their only child. During their sojourn, the husband experiences strange visions while his wife becomes ever more violent in her sexual appetites. Given R18 ratings in Australia, France and the United Kingdom, Director Lars von Trier did not even submit Antichristto the MPAA in the United States due to the threat of an NC-17 rating for graphic depictions of sadomasochism. But the film benefited from the increasingly popular (and profitable) route of going straight to video on demand and later DVD, where it has enjoyed success amongst genre fans.
Bloodsucking Freaks a.k.a. Sardu: Master of the Screaming Virgins a.k.a. The Incredible Torture Show (1976) is about a humble entertainer who runs a stage show in which women appear to be tortured and killed. However, this wholesome family enterprise is just a cover for his lucrative human trafficking business. The film could have contained many highly disturbing torture scenes were they not so poorly executed. A particularly humorous one features a madman drilling through a skull and sucking out his victim’s brains with a straw. Derided by many as tasteless and artless,Bloodsucking Freaks was so abysmally bad that many found it funny. Nonetheless, Woman Against Pornography protested and theater owners were happy for the excuse to pull it from US theaters. There was no global release.
Faces of Death (1978) doesn’t have a plot, but features compiled footage of death and torture. Some of the more intimate scenes were faked, but about 60% of the footage was from old newsreels and even educational videos. Most of the actual human deaths were filmed from a distance and spliced out of wartime footage. But the animal deaths are up close and bloody – including the slaughter of cows and the clubbing of seals. Faces of Death toured the grindhouse circuit in the United States, but was banned in Australia, Norway, Finland, New Zealand and the United Kingdom for its utter lack of anything redeeming.
The Devils (1971) was a revolutionary film that depicts a sex-starved nun in love with a priest accused of witchcraft in the 17th century. Due to its depiction of sex and violence in the context of religion, this British movie received X-ratings in both the United Kingdom and the United States. It was banned in dozens more countries and heavily edited in others. The Devils is still largely unavailable in Region 1 (USA and Canada) DVD format.
It’s only art, isn’t it?
Oliver Stone’s Natural Born Killers (1994) meant to mock the media’s glorification of violence, but many didn’t understand the nuance during its initial run in US theaters. Among those who didn’t ‘get it’ were several none-too-bright sociopaths who interpreted the action in the film as a formula for fame. Naturally, a string of copycat murders followed. Although not more gruesome than most action films, the murders made censor boards in other countries take notice. Natural Born Killerswas banned outright in Ireland and saw a delayed – then limited – theatrical run in the United Kingdom. The British government also delayed its home video release for five years after the Dunblane massacre in Scotland appeared to mimic one of the film’s scenes.
When David Cronenberg isn’t glorying in perverse mutations, he’s delving into twisted fetishes (or both in Videodrome). The premise of Crash (1996) almost guaranteed censorship: Lovers who get off at seeing bloody car wreaks. Both a heavily edited R-rated version and an unedited NC-17 version were simultaneously released in the United States, with theaters only showing the latter after 10pm. In the United Kingdom, the Westminster Council banned the edited version of the film – meaning it couldn’t be shown on the west end of London. Denounced by many governments throughout the western world for sexualizing tragedy, the United States was the only country to allow screening of the unedited version and the global release for the edited one was limited.
Baise Moi (2000) is a French film that many credit with beginning the New French Extremity: A string of excessively violent movies that challenge both audiences and censor boards. Translated as ‘Fuck Me’, or ‘Rape Me’, Baise Moi depicts two young women addicted to animal-like sexual encounters, rape and murder. Although many Western countries originally allowed its release unedited, audience backlashes forced ratings boards to reconsider. In France the film originally ran with an R16 rating and in Australia an R18. But after a week, Baise Moi had been pulled in both countries due to widespread outrage among concerned parents. The Council d’Etat in Paris ruled the original classification as illegal and removed the film from cinemas – making Baise Moi the first film banned outright in France in 28 years. (The ban was appealed and the film was re-released under an X-certification several months later.) In the United States, the MPAA refused to rate Baise Moi, thereby starving it of any serious attention from chain theaters and relegating it to a short release in a couple independent cinemas.
Even the Desensitized Have Limits
A Serbian Film (2010) has been decried by many in our own time as one of the most twisted and horrific movies ever. It depicts graphic child rape, abuse and necrophilia. Mostly because of explicit child sex scenes, the film was banned outright in almost every European country, but was alsouniquely pulled from several independent film festivals, which typically don’t fall under the authority of censorship boards. In the United State, A Serbian Film was edited DOWN to NC-17 before being allowed a release. The only country where it was screened uncensored was in Director Srdan Spasojevic’s native Serbia.
That’s all for now… Love to hear your thoughts!