10 Good Movies Banned in Canada

Thursday, April 8, 2010 at 9:43 am

These 10 good movies banned in Canada feature either explicit sexual situations or extreme violence. While not for the squeamish, there are a number of cinematic gems included in the bunch, and it’s always fun to see what gets a board of censors riled up.

The issue of censorship is still alive and well in the land of Alex Trebek and Michael J. Fox, and the release of 2007’s Young People Fucking inspired the ruling administration to introduce Bill C-10, which would allow government funds to be revoked from Canadian films deemed offensive. Luckily, this didn’t work out, and the bill never got signed into law.

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But enough talk. Let’s take a look at 10 good movies banned in Canada (aka movies that Alan Thicke may have missed).

Day of the Dead (1985) – The third film in George Romero’s zombie trilogy got banned in the Maritimes and Ontario, although a cut version with less flesh eating did make it onto screens in Ontario. What a shame, as audiences in the Maritimes were deprived of seeing Bub, the first Romero zombie to exhibit a real personality.

Pink Flamingos (1972) – Banned in the Maritimes until 1997 and heavily edited in other parts of Canada, this John Waters shockfest features big-boned female impersonator Divine engaging in cannibalism, murder, emasculation, and even eating actual dog poop. It’s a comedy, but you’ll probably figure that out when someone lip syncs a song using only their exposed anus. If you’ve got a sensitive bone in your body, avoid this one like the plague.

I Spit on Your Grave (1978) – After being brutally raped, a writer (Camille Keaton) sets about getting bloody revenge on the men responsible. The film was accused of glorifying violence against women, and the firestorm surrounding its release led to I Spit on Your Grave being shelved in numerous countries around the world. Canada banned it outright, although a number of provinces have relented since 1998.

All Comedies – In 1918, Manitoba strangely instituted a ban on all comedy films. It’s since been lifted, thankfully in time for all the classics from Rob Schneider.

The Tin Drum (1979) – Despite winning an Academy Award for Best Foreign Language Film, The Tin Drum did not sit well with the Ontario Censor Board. They labeled a scene in which the main character (a physically stunted 16-year-old boy played by an 11-year-old actor) has sex with a girl of the same age as child pornography. That didn’t stop the film from enjoying a great deal of success, however, and it shared the Palme d’Or at Cannes with Apocalypse Now.

Bastard Out of Carolina (1996) – Before she started showing up in a string of indie films, actress Jena Malone would play a young girl sexually molested by her step-father. The Maritimes slapped a ban on it, both at the theatre and on video, but an appeal eventually allowed it to come out on glorious VHS. Based on the novel by Dorothy Allison.

Fat Girl (2001) – An overweight girl, Anais (Anais Reboux) and her better-looking older sister discuss their virginity and explore a quiet French vacation town. When the older sister meets an Italian law student and engages in carnal pleasures, Anais looks on as her sister’s innocence melts away. Despite the out-of-nowhere violence that punctuates the last part of the film, the Ontario Film Review Board objected more to the depiction of teenage sex and didn’t allow it to play in theaters for two years.

Bad Taste (1987) – Before he hit the big time, director Peter Jackson made a number of off-the-wall films featuring liberal amounts of gore. This sci-fi comedy is one of them. When aliens head to New Zealand to harvest humans for an intergalactic fast food franchise, it’s up to a group of government agents to beat back the invasion (often in the grossest ways possible). Banned from a theatrical release it Nova Scotia, it’s now available on DVD to those Jackson fans who are 18 and older.

Caligula (1979) – Written by Gore Vidal and partially financed by Penthouse, the film stars Malcolm McDowell as the mad Roman emperor known later in life as Caligula. While calling it one of the 10 good movies banned in Canada might be a bit of a stretch, it’s worth a watch due to the presence of Peter O’Toole, Helen Mirren and John Gielgud amidst all manner of sexual perversities and horrific deaths. Film critic Roger Ebert walked out of the screening, and the critical response was far from positive. Caligula was banned throughout Canada, although Quebec allowed it to show with an +18 rating.

In the Realm of the Senses (1976) – A fascinating look at the Japanese and how their erotic obsessions often take on lethal tones. This is played out between a hotel owner and a former prostitute now working as a maid. As their affair intensifies, the sexual games become increasingly dangerous. The film met with a great deal of censorship upon its release, and it was banned in all Canadian provinces except Quebec.

Blood Sucking Freaks (1976) – Also known as The Incredible Torture Show, this Troma exploitation classic features the unlikely pairing of a football player and corrupt cop who are both trying to locate a missing ballerina. Meanwhile, the sadistic Master Sardu and his diminutive assistant, Ralphus, put on horrific shows where enslaved women are tortured and eventually dismembered (as well as being turned into human dart boards). A bloody romp in the tradition of Herschell Gordon Lewis, the film was banned in both the Maritimes and Ontario.

If you enjoy controversy, Netflix carries plenty of good movies banned in Canada. They also offer a free trial membership and delivery right to your front door. I’m required by law to mention that we get a small commission for sending you there, but that doesn’t affect your price at all.

While you’re at it, be sure to read the following posts from Only Good Movies:

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