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Gratuitous gore and sex

Published Aug 17, 2009


In their day the films below caused untold controversy and were banned in several countries. Today, of course, they would have hardly merited a mention in the press and it takes something like full frontal clitoral self-mutilation, as seen in Antichrist (starring Willem Dafoe and Charlotte Gainsbourg), to shock. The film, which premiered at Cannes this year, was also screened as part of Diff in South Africa. That aside, here are 10 films that were banned in many countries.

Clockwork Orange (1971) by Stanley Kubrick. Banned in Ireland (1971-2000), the UK (1973-1999), Singapore, Malaysia, South Korea and Spain.

Adapted from Anthony Burgess's best-selling novel, A Clockwork Orange tells the story of Alex and his gang of violent "droogs" who kill tramps and rape women. The film is infamous for copycat behaviour, which many thought to be the reason that director Stanley Kubrick withdrew the film in the UK, but the actual reason he had the film banned was on the advice of the police after severe threats were made to him and his family.

The Texas Chainsaw Massacre (1974) - Banned in Finland (1984), the UK, Brazil, Australia, West Germany, Chile, Iceland, Ireland, Norway, Singapore and Sweden.

Five friends go to visit their grandfather's grave after hearing it was vandalised, and pick up a hitchhiker on the way. After the hitchhiker takes a knife and slashes himself and one of the boys, they promptly get rid of him. But then they stop for petrol at a small, sinister looking place, which, unbeknown to them, is the home of the chainsaw-wielding Leatherface. Only one survives and the rest die horribly. Was voted in 2005 as the greatest horror movie ever, by Total Film, a popular UK movie magazine.

The Exorcist (1973) - Banned in the UK, Malaysia and Singapore.

One of the most controversial horror films of all time tells the story of a girl possessed by a demonic force and the two priests who try to save her soul.

The film received critical acclaim when it was nominated for 10 Oscars, and won two, for Best Sound and Best Writing.

Life Of Brian (1979) - Banned in Norway (1979-1980), Singapore, and Ireland (1979-1987)

In this Monty Python film, Brian was born in a stable next to Jesus and as a result is deemed a messiah, but he can't seem to convince his followers otherwise. Due to its heavy religious satire, the film was not well received. In 2009, the 30-year-old ban in the Welsh town of Aberystwyth was lifted. Sweden used the controversy to its advantage, marketing the film as "the film so funny that it was banned in Norway".

The Last Tango In Paris (1973) - Banned in Italy (1972-1986), Singapore, New Zealand, Portugal (1973-1974) and South Korea.

A young Parisian woman (Maria Schneider) begins a sordid affair with a middle-aged American businessman (Marlon Brando) who wants their relationship to be based only on sex. The film became notorious for its butter-lubricated sex scene, which still haunts Schneider. In the New York Post, 2007, she said 'I felt humiliated and, to be honest, I felt a little raped… Thankfully, there was just one take… I never use butter to cook anymore - only olive oil.'

All Quiet On The Western Front (1930) - Banned in Austria (1931-1945) as well as Germany (1931-1945). The film follows a group of German soldiers who come to understand the tragedy of war and misconceptions of their enemies when they fight in World War 1. Due to its anti-war and perceived anti-German messages, Adolf Hitler and the Nazi Party banned the film from Germany and the ban stuck until the end of World War 2. During its brief run in German cinemas in 1930, the Nazis disrupted the viewings by releasing rats in the theatres.

Caligula (1979) - Banned in Canada and Iceland.

The story of Roman Emperor Caligula, who used violent means to get to the throne, his shocking actions during his tyrannical reign and his subsequent descent into insanity.

The film was considered controversial not only for its depiction of violence, but also for the gratuitous nudity and Caligula's lust for his sister.

The Last House On The Left (1972) - Banned in the UK (1984-2002), Singapore, Iceland, New Zealand, Norway, West Germany and for over 32 years in Australia.

Two teenage girls go to a rock concert to celebrate one of their birthdays and afterwards try to get some marijuana in the city. They are then kidnapped by a gang of psychopathic prison escapees, who proceed to rape, torture and mutilate them. But the "fun" really starts when the parents of one of the girls get their revenge.

This movie was the first film directed by Wes Craven, who also directed The Hills Have Eyes (1977) which was banned in Finland.

The Evil Dead (1983) - Banned in Malaysia, the UK (1983-1990), West Germany (1984), Sweden, Iceland, Ireland and Singapore.

Five friends take a trip to a cabin in the woods where they find the Book Of The Dead, which awakens a demonic force turning them into zombies.

The Evil Dead was one of the first films deemed a "video nasty" - the term for films criticised for their violent content by various religious organisations, in the press and by commentators.

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