Shameless have heard from the BBFC that the long edition of Cannibal Holocaust (i.e. not the new edit from Deodato)
has been passed with just 15 seconds of BBFC cuts to the killing of a muskrat.
Rather than just cutting the scene, Shameless have kept the audio and simply replaced the visual footage with alternative shots so the running time is as originally submitted. This will make the cut seamless as opposed to jarring jump-cut.
Although expected after the BBFC's earlier advice to Shameless, this is a real milestone for UK film classification and Cannibal Holocaust and is being celebrated up in Shameless Towers!
Update: BBFC explain their waived cuts
Kudos to the BBFC for the frank explanation of the 2001 animal cruelty cuts.
13th May 2011. See extended classification information
, Thanks to Gavin Salkeld
Cannibal Holocaust is a 1980 Italian horror film. It tells the story of a group of documentary film makers who go missing in the rain-forests of South America. An anthropologist who goes in search of the film makers finds
cans containing their undeveloped footage. When the processed footage is viewed, back in New York City, it reveals their fate. The film was classified 18 for strong sex, sexual violence, bloody violence and animal slaughter.
Cannibal Holocaust contains a number of scenes of sexual and sexualised violence that are insufficiently discreet for a 15 classification and which received varying levels of cuts when the film was previously
submitted in 2001. In one scene, we see a native woman receiving a ritual punishment for adultery , which involves her being dragged out of a boat, being tied up, and then being violently assaulted with a spiked wooden dildo and a ball of mud
containing spikes. Although the scene is shocking and some blood is seen, the emphasis is on the disturbing nature of what is happening, rather than on any erotic detail. The moments of nudity, which are generally shown in longer shot, are well broken
up by facial shots of the woman and her attacker, as well as by reaction shots from the disgusted anthropologist and his team who are watching from behind a bush. In another scene, we briefly see a native woman being attacked by a member of another
tribe. However, no detail is visible beyond some undetailed thrusting. Later in the film, we witness the documentary film makers raping a native woman. However, the woman in question is covered in mud and very little detail of nudity is visible in what
is actually quite a chaotic scene. The scene is shot using a hand-held camera, with the woman moving in and out of view behind the thrusting buttocks of the film makers. The emphasis is firmly on the sadism of the film makers, rather than on any erotic
detail, with cutaways to the female film maker protesting about what is being done. Finally, there is a scene in which the female member of the film crew is sexually assaulted and then killed by the cannibals, in retribution for the violence she and
her crew have meted out against the native people. As with the previous scene, the manner of filming is chaotic, with hand-held camera-work and the action often moving in and out of focus behind other characters and the surrounding vegetation. The Guidelines
state Content which might endorse or eroticise sexual violence may require cuts at any classification level . Although cuts were required to all four scenes of sexual violence in 2001, the BBFC's conclusion today is that the limited detail
of nudity, and the frequent intercutting of the scenes with other material, renders the scenes horrific and aversive rather than erotic or likely to eroticise or endorse sexual violence in the real world.
The BBFC's Guidelines state It is illegal to show any scene 'organised or directed for the purposes of the film that involves actual cruelty to animals. This Act applies to the exhibition of films in public cinemas,
but the BBFC also applies the same test to video works. In 2001, the BBFC permitted two scenes of unsimulated animal killing in Cannibal Holocaust , namely the decapitation of a snake and the stamping to death of a tarantula. In the case of
the snake, the killing was permitted because the decapitation of the snake was instant and therefore comprised a quick clean kill, which is not inherently cruel in terms of BBFC policy. In the case of the tarantula, the killing was permitted because
spiders are invertebrates and are therefore not covered by the relevant legislation, nor by BBFC Guidelines or policy. However, cuts were required to four other sequences in which animals were actually killed, namely a small mammal, a turtle, a monkey
and a pig. On this occasion, the BBFC concluded that the killing of the small mammal, previously cut in 2001, was still in breach of BBFC Guidelines and policy. In the scene in question, a small mammal (described as a muskrat in the film) is
killed using a knife. The animal is repeatedly cut with the knife, resulting in blood loss, and squeals in evident pain and terror. This protracted killing is a clear breach of BBFC Guidelines and policy in relation to the cruel infliction of pain and
terror on an animal and in terms of the cruel goading of an animal to fury. However, careful examination of the other three scenes of animal killing revealed that, in each case, the animal in question is killed quickly and cleanly. The turtle's neck
is completely and instantly severed, with a rapid blow from a machete; the monkey is killed by the first of two rapid blows from a machete, resulting in its head being cut in two; the pig is killed by a gun shot to the head at close range, resulting
in instant death. Although, in the case of the turtle and the pig, there is some sight of the animals' bodies (or body parts) twitching, this is evidently a post mortem nervous reaction, akin to a headless chicken running around a farmyard. Although
the BBFC recognises that these scenes of animal slaughter may be upsetting or offensive to some viewers, it is clear that the scenes in question depict animals being killed in a quick and clean fashion that is acceptable under BBFC Guidelines and policy
and the Cinematograph Films (Animals) Act 1937, on which that policy is based.
The 2001 decision to cut these scenes was primarily the result of the disgusting and exploitative nature of the sequences, as well as the history of the film as a DPP-listed video nasty , rather than the result of
a strict application of BBFC policy. In spite of any ethical concerns viewers might have about the killing of real animals for film making purposes, removing these sequences would be inconsistent with the BBFC's decisions to permit quick clean kills
in several other films, such as Apocalypse Now . It is clear that these scenes are not illegal and are not likely to be harmful to adult viewers. Indeed, the most likely reaction is disgust and revulsion.