Whether because of over-the-top sexual situations, graphic violence, or just a concept that pushes conservative boundaries, some films are so controversial they get national governments to step in and put the kibosh on ever screening them.
Sometimes it makes sense; sometimes it sounds ridiculous.
These are those movies.
New Zealand was not ready to see their beloved Frodo Baggins (Elijah Wood) as a deranged serial killer, so the Office of Film and Literature Classification pulled the plug on 'Maniac' before it ever had a chance to show in Kiwi land, citing the fear that the film was 'injurious to public good.'
Apparently, watching teenagers battle it out in a last kid standing death match was too much for the Vietnamese. The country said no to the first instalment of Jennifer Lawrence's 'Hunger Games' trilogy.
In 'Zoolander,' Ben Stiller's character is brainwashed into killing the Prime Minister of Malaysia so that the country's sweatshops remain active. Needless to say, this didn't sit well with Malaysia, and they never had the chance to witness Blue Steel in theatres.
The 2013 remake of '80s horror comedy classic 'Evil Dead' had one of the goriest trailers of the year, which was probably the reason Singapore was so keen to ban it from its shores. Once they saw that girl slice her own tongue in half, they'd seen enough.
The biopic of Harvey Milk's life was both tragic and uplifting, and earned Sean Penn an Oscar. But the people of Samoa never got a chance to see it in theatres. Sadly, the Samoan Censor Board banned the film 'on the grounds that the movie is inappropriate and contradictory to Christian beliefs and Samoan culture.'
Thailand's Ministry of Culture did not like the how-to nature of 'Zack & Miri Make a Porno.' The film was kept out of theatres for fear that it would inspire teenagers to make adult films as a hobby.
Disaster movie '2012 never' made it to North Korea for a very North Korea type reason: superstition. See, Kim Jong-Il prophesied that 2012 would be a lucky year that cemented North Korea's status as a world power. Anything that suggest 2012 would be anything other than that was to be terminated. So since '2012' was all about the world ending, anyone caught with pirated copies of the film was arrested.
When Sacha Baron Cohen's 'Borat' came out in 2006, many people didn't know Kazakhstan was a real place. Well, it is, and they didn't take kindly to being portrayed as provincial rubes. 'Borat: Cultural Learnings of America for Make Benefit Glorious Nation of Kazakhstan' never actually screened in Kazakhstan.
'Fool us once shame on us. Fool us three times and you're banned.' That seemed to be the take in Thailand and the Ukraine when it comes to the 'Saw' franchise. After three films in the series, the countries put their foot down on allowing a fourth into their theatres.
China doesn't want to be depicted as the bad guys, especially if nuclear war is part of the endgame. 'The Departed' was never imported to China because of one scene, a scene in which Jack Nicholson's character meets agents working for Chinese authorities who hand over a suitcase full of cash in exchange for advanced computer chip technology designed for nuclear weaponry.
The people of the Ukraine weren't ready for the in-your-face agenda of flamboyantly gay fashion reporter. Sacha Baron Cohen's 'Bruno' was banned for 'homosexual promoting themes and sex scenes.'
China found Chow Yun-Fat's character in the third 'Pirates of the Caribbean' movie to be too much of negative stereotype, resulting in the film's ban until the character's screen time was re-edited to reflect something less offensive.
Cooler heads prevailed when 'Persepolis' made its way to Lebanon. It was initially banned in the country after some clerics found it to be 'offensive to Iran and Islam,' but the ban was later lifted after an outcry in Lebanese intellectual and political circles.
It seems unlikely that you could top the gross-out factor of surgically connecting human beings so that they shared an intestinal track, but the sequel to 'The Human Centipede' must have done just that. 'Human Centipede 2: Full Sequence' was banned in parts of the UK, New Zealand, and Australia.
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