One major plus for going to the cinema is that you nearly always get to see the film as the director intended. But that might be true if you catch it on TV, where strange forces are at work protecting you from the dark side of the universe. Here’s the top ten butchered for TV screened movies!
Ghostbusters This is an exceptionally violent and subversive movie which had to be tamed for TV! No seriously, depending when in the day they show this you might get the cinema passed version, or the one butchered for American TV. Some scenes are virtually unrecognisable, a good example is the mayors office, where Stantz calls Water Peck “Dickless” – except now he calls him “Wally Wick” and the retort is also altered. Zeddmore has now has seen “stuff” that will turn you white, eh?. Other offensively funny lines are cut, like the one Stantz makes when seeing Mr Stay-Puff. Disappointingly some of these changes were made possible because Ivan Reitman shot alternate takes expecting a TV backlash. It duly came, and modifications were made at the behest of ABC, may you rot in a PG rated hell…
Predator Okay, I’ll accept that this is a movie with a reasonable amount of gore, but not out of context of the story, which is why it was passed as an 18 certificate in the UK. But he, everyone can watch it if you remove almost every killing and swear word! This version descends into farce towards the end as you don’t see what happens to most of the people, and the scenes no longer cut together correctly. If you see this film being shown with a 9pm or earlier start then you might be getting Predator: De-clawed.
Mad Max 2 (The Road Warrior) There are lots or different versions of this film knocking around, but if it’s the butchered one you’ll know very early on as it jump-cuts Wez removing the arrow from his arm. The people who committed this particular crime need to be hunted down by the last of the V8 interceptors.
Shrek 2 The UK’s British Board of Film Classification (BBFC) have a hard time with ‘reality’ sometimes, like what’s real and what’s ‘made up’. In Shrek 2 they demanded that the final scene where Fiona headbutts Charming be replaced with a karate chop! Please…it’s a synthetic character attacking another pile of pixels! An entirely moronic modification that deserves a ‘Glasgow kiss’.
Scarface Tony Montana is confronting the crooked cop and shoots him, and dying he issued an entirely justafiable f-word. But not in the sanitised for TV version of Scarface, he says to Tony….”Forget you!” Eh? What does that mean? The challenge of overdubbing was obviously too much for those sadly tasked with doing that.
Goodfellas Mafia movies aren’t really fertile ground for family screening, are they? But with TV advertising deals any movie can be shoehorned into any timeslot, given the motivation. There’s a version of this film with no swearing or close-up violence that was put together for American TV. Some of the overdubbing in it is hilarious, and converts this seminal organised crime movie into an instant comedy classic. My personal favourite is the line “Go fuck your mother” which bizarrely becomes “Go feel your mother”. To be renamed Funnyfellas, are you laughing at me????
Fargo The Coen brothers like a real feel to their movies, so people swear in them, but not in the TV edit version they don’t! Amazingly they use an entirely new word to me, ‘froozing’ instead of the ubiquitous ‘fucking’. It isn’t the only change. Steve Buscemi’s angry tirade gets mutated into “I GAVE SIMPLE, FRUITFUL INSTRUCTIONS!!!” Yes, and I’ve a few for those that did this to a classic film.
National Lampoon’s Animal House This is a funny movie, especially if you caught it originally. But on TV you might be subjected to any number of strange edits of this film. These alterations range from scenes being changed, like the girls Bluto sees through the window now have Bras on (doh!), to dialogue changes and scene cuts. Best of all is the infamous ‘NBC version’ which cut out almost every verbal or visual gag in the entire movie, and runs for 13 minutes less than the 109 minutes of the original cut. Dickheads. It makes me so annoyed…I want to have a Toga Party! Toga Party! Toga Party!
The Usual Suspects For a reason I can’t fathom someone set about this movie with scissors to make a grandma friendly cut. I’ve not actually seen it, but whole chunks are missing and some of the dialog has been overdubbed. I’m told that “Give me the keys you fucking cock sucker” is ramped up a tension notch by changing it to “Give me the keys you fairy godmother.” I’m scared!
Die Hard, Die Harder, Die Hard with a Vengence These films have suffered all manner of cuts, overdubs and alterations, but what’s really got the TV men upset is John McClane’s classic, “Yippie-kye-ay, Motherfucker”. In the UK TV edit it becomes “yip-ee-kay-ay Kemosabe”, and in other versions it have been reported as “Yippie-kye-ay, My Friend”, “Yippie-kye-ay, Mister Falcon’ and the never to be bettered ‘Yippie-kye-ay melon farmer!’
But at least they got released to the cinema relatively unscathed, unlike the fourth instalment which as swearing free on release!
Other notable overdubs…
Ferris Bueller’s Day Off … “Pardon my French but you’re an AARDVARK!'”(????)
Field of Dreams – “We were going to ask Ty Cobb to play, but none of us could stand that son of a squid”
Total Recall – “Come Back Here you Steroid.”
The Big Lebowski – “This is what happens, Larry! This is what happens when you find a stranger in the Alps!”
Robocop – “You’re gonna a bad mothercrusher…”
Lethal Weapon – “We bury the funsters!”
The Last Boy Scout – “I POPPED your wife, and later I’m gonna POP her again”