You would have thought that the Internet revolution was slowly breaking down the boundaries of censorship. Indeed, the situation seems to have relaxed somewhat in the UK with the re-appointment of Quentin Thomas as President of the BBFC and their admition that with films now available all around the world in multi-regions (and online), that they are now more of an advisory counsel than a censory body.
However, Australia seems to be still taking backward steps with the recent announcement of their Classification Review Board deciding in a two to one vote that H.G. Lewis’ The Gore Gore Girls should be banned outright (or “Refused Classification” as they like to call it).
According to the OFLC media release - “the cumulative impact of the violence, including some sexualised violence, was very high, such that under the guidelines the film must be refused classification”. Under the guidelines, films will be refused classification if they contain “gratuitous, exploitative or offensive depictions of violence with a very high degree of impact or which are excessively frequent, prolonged or detailed”.
In the Review Board’s majority determination, The Gore Gore Girls warrants refused classification status because it exceeds the R18+ rating in a number of depictions. These include the five female exotic dancers who are all murdered while semi-naked. The killings show prolonged and detailed scenes of gore, including removing a face from a skull, removing eyes from their sockets, cutting off the nipples of one victim, and the face of another victim being boiled off with the parts shown floating in a pot of oil.
The minority view was that the film should be classified R18+ as the impact was no more than high, due to the unrealistic, “schlock-horror” nature of the special effects.
Naturally the films distributor Siren Visual Entertainment isn’t too impressed with this decision, and the banning of The Gore Gore Girls has also baffled its director Herschell Gordon Lewis who summed up the whole situation quite nicely.
"To ban a thirty-year-old film that has been exhibited worldwide, and has been available in cassette and DVD form for some years, is on its face ludicrous.
"The Gore-Gore Girls" was intended as a parody, and from its first release audiences have accepted it as such. The film has been exhibited at horror and science fiction film festivals in many countries, without incident.
Singular selection of any target while ignoring many others is a dangerous step some might regard as fascistic, an attempt to draw favorable attention to the censors rather than to draw negative attention to whatever is being censored. Were this "ban" to be applied universally, any film directed by Quentin Tarantino and many by John Carpenter and Wes Craven (every one of which post-dated this movie) would be snared in the same net ... plus the Australian-produced "Mad Max" classics, which in no way shared the sense of humor that saturates this film.
I add my voice to those who see no sense nor benefit from this attack."
The Gore-Gore Girls is available uncut in the UK, although his earlier film, Blood Feast is stil only available in a trimmed version in this country.
19th Oct 04 This was a great horror movie as a kid. It had ‘Certificate X’ printed on the video cover and a ‘Thorn EMI presents’ intro just before the film started. Then straight into Camp Blackfoot at night to...