Author Topic: Absurd BBFC Cuts of the 80s and 90s  (Read 1444 times)

Absurd BBFC Cuts of the 80s and 90s
« on: August 10, 2018, 06:58:59 PM »
Having grown up in the era, this has always been a fascination of mine, and still is even though many of these cuts have since been restored in UK releases or are relatively easy to get a hold of now anyway. If you share my fascination, and have some spare time, the Cutting Edge series on YouTube by GNC films is worth a look.

The Ace Ventura 2 and Romy & Michelle videos are particularly illuminating as to what vulgarities/raccoon death tensions were just too much for 11 or 14 year olds to cope with in the 90s. Watch out for those shadow hands! Meanwhile The PG Cut of Batman Forever made sure that kids were spared nightmarish vision of Tommy Lee-Jones's half-purpled face by cutting out a few images of a character who has about 45 minutes of screentime.

What are some of your favourite absurd BBFC cuts of the 80s and 90s?

Phil_A

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Re: Absurd BBFC Cuts of the 80s and 90s
« Reply #1 on: August 10, 2018, 07:44:22 PM »
The one that springs to mind is the "sausages used as nunchaku" cut from one of the Ninja Turtles movies. They were so picky about ninja weapons being displayed on screen that even a man in a latex turtle costume using a string of sausages as a weapon was deemed to be too strong.

St_Eddie

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Re: Absurd BBFC Cuts of the 80s and 90s
« Reply #2 on: August 10, 2018, 07:45:37 PM »
On the DVD commentary, Sam Raimi talks about how in the initial UK version of Evil Dead II, it was censored to remove the shot of Jake kicking Ash, as he's laying on the floor because "in Britain, you can show decapitation but you can't kick a man when he's down".

Re: Absurd BBFC Cuts of the 80s and 90s
« Reply #3 on: August 10, 2018, 07:55:24 PM »
The one that springs to mind is the "sausages used as nunchaku" cut from one of the Ninja Turtles movies. They were so picky about ninja weapons being displayed on screen that even a man in a latex turtle costume using a string of sausages as a weapon was deemed to be too strong.

Does anyone know if SKY showed this uncut in the 90s? My copy was taped off SKY (I had permission, honest officer) and I'm about 95% sure it at least had the nunchaku-off between Michelangelo and the Foot-soldier.

Re: Absurd BBFC Cuts of the 80s and 90s
« Reply #4 on: August 10, 2018, 08:14:38 PM »
The one that springs to mind is the "sausages used as nunchaku" cut from one of the Ninja Turtles movies. They were so picky about ninja weapons being displayed on screen that even a man in a latex turtle costume using a string of sausages as a weapon was deemed to be too strong.

Wasn't there a period were nunchucks being used was an automatic 18 rating? or is that just urban legend?

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Re: Absurd BBFC Cuts of the 80s and 90s
« Reply #5 on: August 10, 2018, 08:17:49 PM »
Wasn't there a period were nunchucks being used was an automatic 18 rating? or is that just urban legend?

They were certainly banned outright for a time, even for marketing - Enter the Dragon's now infamous baguette on the UK poster for example. 

Re: Absurd BBFC Cuts of the 80s and 90s
« Reply #6 on: August 11, 2018, 10:22:30 AM »
The nunchuck ban was ridiculous. My old VHS copy of Bruce Lee's Way Of The Dragon was missing huge chunks of the fight scenes because of the daft ban. I was gutted. Imagine watching an old Busby Berkeley film and finding out after sitting through an hour of the "let's get this show on the road" stuff that most of the psychedelic musical numbers you actually came to see have been removed. Utterly pointless. According to this site, the BBFC cut nearly NINE MINUTES from the fight scenes. Fuck me.

https://www.movie-censorship.com/report.php?ID=987065

Re: Absurd BBFC Cuts of the 80s and 90s
« Reply #7 on: August 11, 2018, 04:37:39 PM »
They were certainly banned outright for a time, even for marketing - Enter the Dragon's now infamous baguette on the UK poster for example.
Well, I fell for this hook, line and sinker.

BeardFaceMan

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Re: Absurd BBFC Cuts of the 80s and 90s
« Reply #8 on: August 11, 2018, 04:55:10 PM »
The ban was why we got Hero Turtles rather than Ninja Turtles isnt it?

Shit Good Nose

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Re: Absurd BBFC Cuts of the 80s and 90s
« Reply #9 on: August 11, 2018, 04:56:42 PM »
Well, I fell for this hook, line and sinker.

I wasn't joking - https://www.ebay.co.uk/itm/ENTER-THE-DRAGON-THE-DRAGON-LIVES-1970s-RARE-UK-QUAD-POSTER-30-x40-/371154399364

It also blighted some of the VHS and early DVD releases - https://store.hmv.com/film-tv/dvd/enter-the-dragon-(uncut)

Neither of those do it proper in-real-life justice - in the posters they added little cracks in the staff which made it look just like a baguette.


The ban was why we got Hero Turtles rather than Ninja Turtles isnt it?

Yes, and some episodes were either never shown or heavily cut.
« Last Edit: August 11, 2018, 05:06:54 PM by Shit Good Nose »

Shaky

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Re: Absurd BBFC Cuts of the 80s and 90s
« Reply #10 on: August 12, 2018, 02:34:13 AM »
You have to wonder if the people behind these cuts and temporary bans now sit back and think to themselves, "What have I done with my life?".

Re: Absurd BBFC Cuts of the 80s and 90s
« Reply #11 on: August 12, 2018, 10:45:55 AM »
why were the bbcfc so touchy about ninja stuff?

Apparently the original UK release of Village of the Damned omitted the iconic glowing eyes on the children. Kind of makes it a bit pointless then.

BeardFaceMan

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Re: Absurd BBFC Cuts of the 80s and 90s
« Reply #12 on: August 12, 2018, 11:48:57 AM »
I think it was one of those 'won't somebody think of the children' things, if they see some nunchucks theyll make their own and start bashing the innocence out of each other. Weren't throwing stars banned along with the nunchucks as well, on the pretence theyd be easy to make and copy? Right when I was started to get into ninja films too. Fuckers.

Although saying that I did know 2 kids in school, one of whom made his own nunchucks (2 blocks of wood connected with a piece of skipping rope, so basically a skipping rope where the rope was about a foot long. Think it was his little sisters skipping rope too, bless) and the other made his own throwing stars which he made out of metal badges he would steal off cars.  The eighties were a great time to be a kid.

Re: Absurd BBFC Cuts of the 80s and 90s
« Reply #13 on: August 12, 2018, 12:01:53 PM »
Throwing stars bad, lawn darts fine.

Re: Absurd BBFC Cuts of the 80s and 90s
« Reply #14 on: August 12, 2018, 10:03:08 PM »
I'm happy to see someone else watches The Cutting Edge channel. Endlessly fascinating stuff, with some incredibly bizarre cuts and reasonings - whether it's removing a couple of line from a Flaming Lips song from "Batman Forever" or cutting so heavily into "Eraser" so James Ferman could say something along the lines of 'it wasn't commercially successful theatrically because the English are repulsed by lead characters not acting appropriately. After our handiwork, we have created a much more acceptable film.' The post-Hungerford hatchet job of "Rambo III" was particularly illuminating.

I personally think that Ian Cutting Edge (or whoever creates these videos) should delve into more problematic late 60s-early 70s films such as "Soldier Blue", especially since the cuts gradually became less absurd and draconian once the minimum age to attend an 'X' certificate film was upped from 16 to 18. After reading books by the likes of Tom Dewe Mathews, John Travelyan and Julian Petley it is astounding how the length of cuts seemed to drop overnight. Bizarre reasoning and personal peccadilloes remained, obviously.

AsparagusTrevor

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Re: Absurd BBFC Cuts of the 80s and 90s
« Reply #15 on: August 13, 2018, 11:08:53 AM »
I've always been fascinated in this, in fact I used to frequent a now-deceased forum dedicated to BBFC censorship whose member-base included the Cutting Edge guy (Gavin Salkeld).

There's certainly been some baffling stuff over the decades, plenty of it under the egotistical rule of James Ferman who, being from a production background, seemed to fancy himself as an film editor, under the delusion his snips and rejigs were making improvements. To be fair to him he did become more lenient as time went on and his tenure included some pretty liberal decisions, not including of course his irrational hatred of martial arts weapons.

Many of the weirder cuts are rightly waived these days, although due to publisher laziness we still don't have an uncut UK edition of Face/Off, a film where multiple characters are bloodily shot but we're forbidden to see John Travolta swirl a butterfly knife around and hand it to someone.


Re: Absurd BBFC Cuts of the 80s and 90s
« Reply #16 on: August 13, 2018, 01:07:46 PM »
Their decisions also have to be taken in the context of Daily Mail campaigns of the time and attempts to try and get the independent BBFC and its predecessor replaced by a much more authoritarian statutory body. Reading the decisions on their own without referencing them to what was going on in the press at the time means you only get half the picture.

Wet Blanket

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Re: Absurd BBFC Cuts of the 80s and 90s
« Reply #17 on: August 13, 2018, 02:29:24 PM »
I'd never seen the supposedly censored version of the rape in Straw Dogs; it's a spectacular own goal. It also made me laugh that the studio submitted that film in the hope of an AA (14 and over) certificate too.

I used to get the right hump over BBFC edits as a teenager. Now I find myself amazed by what they get away with uncut in a 15 certificate film. Hereditary and Shape of Water would never have got away with some of that content under Ferman's rule, and every Nicholas Winding Refn film would be banned.

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Re: Absurd BBFC Cuts of the 80s and 90s
« Reply #18 on: August 13, 2018, 03:05:27 PM »
For me I think it’s always going to be the Robocop one where a line becomes:  “And once, I even called him... airhead.”

It’s funny because it comes so out of the blue, and a substantially weaker boast than having the gall to call somebody “asshole”.  Plus the dubbed-in voice couldn’t sound less like the original if it tried.

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Re: Absurd BBFC Cuts of the 80s and 90s
« Reply #19 on: August 13, 2018, 03:26:03 PM »
For me I think it’s always going to be the Robocop one where a line becomes:  “And once, I even called him... airhead.”

It’s funny because it comes so out of the blue, and a substantially weaker boast than having the gall to call somebody “asshole”.  Plus the dubbed-in voice couldn’t sound less like the original if it tried.

Wasn't that the ITV broadcast version? Which also included the "Why me?!" gem.


Re: Absurd BBFC Cuts of the 80s and 90s
« Reply #20 on: August 13, 2018, 03:42:31 PM »
There's certainly been some baffling stuff over the decades, plenty of it under the egotistical rule of James Ferman who, being from a production background, seemed to fancy himself as an film editor, under the delusion his snips and rejigs were making improvements. To be fair to him he did become more lenient as time went on and his tenure included some pretty liberal decisions, not including of course his irrational hatred of martial arts weapons.

After watching that "Draconian Days" documentary, I got the reverse impression. At the beginning of his tenure, he tended to employ people who were relatively anti-censorship in order to encourage debate and to have less over-zealous hands on the blue pencils. Once Ferman began sacking people in the early 90s, he began hiring people who were on the same wavelength as he. Hence, the massive amounts of cuts to mainstream films such as "Lethal Weapon 4" etc and the creative ways of reducing foul language in the Die Hard sequels. On the other hand, he stood his ground and passed the likes of "Bad Taste" uncut and was keen to get "Ai No Corrida" back in cinemas as legally intact as possible. Then again, there were all those Vipco re-releases that were cut to ribbons (I still bought them all).

Re: Absurd BBFC Cuts of the 80s and 90s
« Reply #21 on: August 13, 2018, 03:47:26 PM »
Their decisions also have to be taken in the context of Daily Mail campaigns of the time and attempts to try and get the independent BBFC and its predecessor replaced by a much more authoritarian statutory body. Reading the decisions on their own without referencing them to what was going on in the press at the time means you only get half the picture.

Tom Dewe Mathews' book "Censored" has a fascinating bit wherein Ferman's superior unexpectedly died in 1985 and the government tried to foist their own ideal replacement into the seat. The board thankfully stood their ground despite being branded as a haven for 'ultra-lefties' merely because one examiner also worked part-time in a rape crisis centre.

Phil_A

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Re: Absurd BBFC Cuts of the 80s and 90s
« Reply #22 on: August 13, 2018, 03:50:39 PM »
Wasn't that the ITV broadcast version? Which also included the "Why me?!" gem.



I'm absolutely certain that "ITV version" was a myth, based on people's jumbled memories of the PG-rated Robocop TV series(which did go out on Saturday afternoons) and the heavily censored network TV edit that aired in the US.

Even with cuts there's no way in hell ITV would've put on an ultraviolent 18 cert film like Robocop on during the day, it wouldn't happen.

Re: Absurd BBFC Cuts of the 80s and 90s
« Reply #23 on: August 13, 2018, 03:54:51 PM »
I happened to tape it. It was broadcast in the evening, possibly after the news.

I do remember the Die Hard evisceration. The first half before the 10 O'Clock News was absolutely gutted. The second half was pretty much intact (or at least Die Hard's little tantrum before he jumped off the roof was intact, which is the only thing I remember). Bizarre.

BeardFaceMan

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Re: Absurd BBFC Cuts of the 80s and 90s
« Reply #24 on: August 13, 2018, 04:05:55 PM »
Yeah Robocop was on ITV in 1994, starting after the news so about half ten at night. And it was cut to ribbons, I remember a lot of the violence remaining but the swearing was dubbed a lot, which was both infuriating and fantastic.

Phil_A

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Re: Absurd BBFC Cuts of the 80s and 90s
« Reply #25 on: August 13, 2018, 04:19:40 PM »
I happened to tape it. It was broadcast in the evening, possibly after the news.


I'm talking about the persistent playground rumour that a kid-friendly super-cutdown version was shown in a daytime slot, which is obviously bullshit for the reasons stated previously.

The way ÌTV used to cut stuff was pretty bizarre, it was a bit like the closer to the watershed it was the more stuff was chopped, but after 10 O'clock pretty much anything was fine. Case in point was Single White Female, which had all the sex scenes cut from the first half of the film, but not the second.

AsparagusTrevor

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Re: Absurd BBFC Cuts of the 80s and 90s
« Reply #26 on: August 13, 2018, 04:27:33 PM »
Yeah Robocop was on ITV in 1994, starting after the news so about half ten at night. And it was cut to ribbons, I remember a lot of the violence remaining but the swearing was dubbed a lot, which was both infuriating and fantastic.
Plenty of the violence was removed also, I remember in particular Emil vanished from the film entirely after his van-crash.

I'm talking about the persistent playground rumour that a kid-friendly super-cutdown version was shown in a daytime slot, which is obviously bullshit for the reasons stated previously.
Yeah, it definitely was just a myth, however in the 90s Channel 4 did screen a family version of 'Last House on the Left' on Sunday morning after 'The Raccoons'.

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Re: Absurd BBFC Cuts of the 80s and 90s
« Reply #27 on: August 13, 2018, 04:40:30 PM »
I saw the “Why me?” version on TV.

Re: Absurd BBFC Cuts of the 80s and 90s
« Reply #28 on: August 13, 2018, 08:15:40 PM »
Plenty of the violence was removed also, I remember in particular Emil vanished from the film entirely after his van-crash.
I mean fair enough, if there's anything you're going to cut out for TV

I'm sure that has been on ITV eventually though, but a lot of the very sadistic torture-killing of Murphy may never have been

Phil_A

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Re: Absurd BBFC Cuts of the 80s and 90s
« Reply #29 on: August 13, 2018, 08:21:52 PM »
I mean fair enough, if there's anything you're going to cut out for TV

I'm sure that has been on ITV eventually though, but a lot of the very sadistic torture-killing of Murphy may never have been

Most of that was hacked out of the home video release as well, wasn't it? Outside of the original theatrical run, it was basically impossible to see completely uncut until the special edition DVD.